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r/HomeImprovement
15
Posted by2 years ago
Archived

Poured alcohol on my hardwood floors and left white stains

picture for reference

So, I've been spraying packages down with 70% isopropanol and my dumbass left some of them on top of our wooden floors. When I noticed the discoloration, I tried scrubbing with a wet rag and that scraped some of it away, but it also started to take off the varnish (?) and expose the wood underneath. You may be able to see the small, light spots. My current plan is to sand all the White spots down with sandpaper, varnish the exposed wood with the best match I can find, and then throw a finish on top of everything I sanded. Does this make sense? Does the type of finish I use matter? My roommate, who owns the house, has no idea what type of finish they used originally. Thanks for any help. I've done a bit of googling, but can't seem to find my exact situation of alcohol damage/combined with stripped varnish.

19 comments
79% Upvoted
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level 1
· 2 yr. ago
Advisor of the Year 2016

Isopropyl alcohol doesn't leave a stain like a red wine would. It's colorless. The harm comes from its ability to liquefy common wood finishes, such as varnish and furniture stain. Instead of discoloring finished wood, the alcohol dissolves the finish.

So you know what you have to do. Your plan is sound, but I can't help you on matching the floor exactly. You will have to experiment. Luckily it can not look any worse than it does right this minute, So you have that going for you.

18
level 2

This is correct. Sand and re-varnish the floor. It’s likely a clear poly but it’s hard to say for sure without a post sanding photo.

5
level 2

Would the finish de-liquify once the alcohol evaporates? Asking because I hav a hand sanitizer pump in the front foyer, and doing my best to keep it from spilling or squirting on the hardwood floors.

2
level 1

Generally if it can be dissolved by alcohol, it’s shellac. Your best bet is to sand it down, stain it if you need to, and then put on new shellac.

5
level 2

And the good news is that shellac is one of the few finishes that can be spot-fixed without leaving a terrible looking spot

3
level 1

I made similar marks on my kitchen table. Murphy's oil soap and a dish cloth made most of them disappear!

2
level 1

Try putting a new coat of finish on it firsg. It may clear up the cloudy part up. It wont be smooth but at least it wont be noticable like it is now. If that doesnt work try your hardest not to sand the hardwood in case its stained and you end up having to match stains cause that's a huge pita.

1
level 1

I haven't seen alcohol take off polyurethane like that but it will sure dissolve real varnish. I think you have real varnish on the floors though I'm not a flooring expert.

1
level 1

Try rubbing coconut oil into the spots. Works on my oak floors.

1
level 1

Were your packages made of a plastic type? I would recommend graffiti remover or a paint thinner for acrylic paints.

1
level 1

Varnish on floors usually has enough thickness to fix that. What I would do: sand it out with 400-600 grit sandpaper or 0000 steel wool. You could use more agressive sandpaper, just depends how confident you are in your handyman skills. Then work your way through the sandpaper grits until about 1500-2000 grit wet.

After that, use a polishing compound for car paint, work it by hand. Try not to get it in the cracks, because it’ll dry white and look ugly. You can pick it out of the cracks if you do get some in there but it’ll be annoying. This will take some elbow juice.

After that it should be ok. Try at your own risk, and definitely do a test patch somewhere less obvious.

Another option, if you do sand it all out with 400-grit, then you can reapply another varnish on top. Check for something called “Rejuvenate”, I’ve used it, works well, and easy to apply. Most poly finishes should have solid alcohol resistance.

1
level 1

Magic eraser dude. It will fix it.

1
level 1

Went from "my" floors to "our" floors to "MY ROOMMATE WHO OWNS THE HOUSE". This should be posted in AITA.

0
level 2
Op · 2 yr. ago

I messed up the floors and I'm trying to fix them. I don't really understand your point.

1

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