Home > Outdoor and Garden > Removing Varnish Stains

Removing Varnish Stains

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 29 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Varnish Stains Remover Paint Difficult

Varnish is often used to enhance wooden items and flooring around the home, imparting on them an attractive sheen and helping to spruce up their appearance with a lustrous finish. However, carelessness or accidents can mean spilled varnish which can leave a nasty, ugly stain on clothing and other surfaces. If not tackled promptly and the varnish is allowed to dry, the stain may become very difficult if not impossible to remove.

So here are some steps to follow to prevent your varnish stain becoming a permanent feature of your home:

Step 1

Remover as much of the spilled varnish as possible. If you are lucky and the stain is still very fresh, you will be able to mop up most of it using paper towels or a damp cloth. If the varnish has dried a little bit, you may still be able to scrape most of it off using a blunt knife or some other flat-edged tool.

Step 2

Once most of the excess varnish has been removed, you now need to consider the material or surface that the stain is on to decide how to tackle it.

Step 3

Washable fabrics, if tackled immediately, can often be treated simply by working some liquid detergent into the stain and then rinsing with water and allowing to dry.

Step 4

If plain detergent or soap and water are not doing the trick, then you may need to consider how to dilute the stain. Since many modern varnishes are mixed with a wide range of solvents, examining the manufacturer’s directions for thinning the varnish may give you a clue as to the best solvent for your particular stain. For example, turpentine or alcohol are two common solvents frequently used to dilute paints and varnishes and may work very well in diluting the stain.

Be careful, however, as depending on the fabric or material or surface you are working on, the turpentine or alcohol can also act as solvents for any embedded colours or dyes, thus causing further discolouration. They may also react with any other chemicals embedded in the surface and damage the surface. So always test them on an inconspicuous corner or underside first.

Remember, also, that these solvents are flammable and can also produce hazardous fumes, so take great care when using them. Consider wearing protective clothing, gloves, goggles and a filter mask to cover your nose and mouth – especially if the treatment will take some time. Make sure that children and pets leave the area. Apply the solvent using a natural bristle paint brush. Always follow the solvent treatment with some liquid detergent worked into the stain while it is still wet with the solvent and then rinse it thoroughly with water. You may need to repeat this several times with a stubborn stain.

Step 5

As a very last resort, if everything else has failed, you may consider using a heat gun to tackle the varnish stain. This is only applicable to varnish stains on certain types of surfaces, however, such as wooden furniture. Heat guns should never be used on varnish stains on fabric and clothing. If you do decide to use a heat gun, make sure that you wear protective clothing and eye gear and that you protect the work area as well. In particular, use a damp cloth spread around underneath the area where you will be working to reduce the likelihood of a fire. You can then use the heat gun to soften the varnish so that you have a chance to scrape it away with a putty knife or similarly blunt, flat-edged tool.

Unfortunately with certain types of surfaces, the varnish stain will be permanent, despite your best efforts. However, with a bit of diligence and effort, you should be able to remove varnish stains from most surfaces and hopefully, with greater care and attention in the future, you should be able to avoid them.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I have put wood stain directly on to hardwood floors and it has not dried. Still very tacky to the touch. What should I do?
Jackie - 29-Apr-17 @ 4:13 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Ell
    Re: Dealing with Stains on Walls
    Any tips on fake tan mark?
    7 October 2018
  • SheiV
    Re: Cleaning Up Vomit, Urine and Faeces
    @Forest girl - have you tried the pet shop or rang your vets? There are a few recipes that involve bicarb of soda and…
    6 September 2018
  • Forest girl
    Re: Cleaning Up Vomit, Urine and Faeces
    Need to remove dried in cat urine from a car seat. Forgot the plastic liner for the cat basket. Can't get rid of the smell.
    4 September 2018
  • SHarB
    Re: Removing Sun Cream Stains From Clothing
    @Jay - maybe a touch of bleach would work - nit too much though as you might not have any clothes left.
    18 June 2018
  • Jay
    Re: Removing Sun Cream Stains From Clothing
    Hi I've just got back from my holidays and all my whites tops I've trying vansh with no chance of going .please if…
    15 June 2018
  • Mani
    Re: Dealing with Stains on Walls
    Thanks for sharing such an informative post with us. I want to remove dirt hand prints from walls.
    21 May 2018
  • Lool
    Re: Dealing with Stains on Walls
    When l try to remove the food stain from my white wall by using piece of tissue l saw like a shadow Mark on the wall after l…
    19 May 2018
  • Vicky
    Re: Removing Pollen Stains
    Urgent! My new bag made of leather (gamuza, in spanish) got in contact with a Lily stamen... I try to take it with water and didn’t go…
    20 April 2018
  • Clownie ??
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    You see I am 12 and I got tipex ALL OVER MY CLOTHES while my mum was at work so the first thing that every child would do is PANIC! The…
    26 March 2018
  • skeeter
    Re: What is a Stain?
    I have this of old applique quilt kit, When I took it out of the package it had yellow stains on the folded creases. This is a stamp quilt too and…
    13 March 2018