How To Remove Sticky Stuff From Finished Wood

Finished wood products need to be cleaned just like anything else, but some finishes are delicate and require special maintenance. It’s uncomfortable to set your arm on a lovely table only to have it stick to the surface. If you have the problem of sticky things on finished wood products there are quite a few different ways to remove the residue without harming the appearance, but there are a few considerations to make before you begin. If this is a problem that you need to solve, you’re in the right place. Here is everything you need to know about getting sticky stuff off of finished wood.

How to get the sticky stuff off finished wood

There is a benefit to cleaning finished wood over unfinished. The finish helps to protect with wood with a coating that prevents it from becoming stained by spills and from absorbing things that come into contact with it. The best methods for cleaning sticky substance from finished wood depends on what is on the wood and the type of finish that is on the wood. We’re going to look at a few different scenarios to try to cover the spectrum of things you might need to clean, along with the safest and best ways to do it without damaging the finish.

Removing sticker residue from finished wood

If there is a sticker on a finished wood surface and you want to remove the sticker and its adhesive residue, there are a few good cleaners on the market that will do a nice job. When you’re shopping for a solvent, read the label to ensure that it is safe to use with the type of finish that is on the wood because some are corrosive and may leave scuffs and blemishes in the finish according to Hunker. If you’re unsure about the best commercial wood cleaners you can make your safe cleaning solution at home. Here are the recommended steps for the process.

  • Wipe the sticky spot with a clean rag that is just damp with water. Remove as much of the residue that you can without rubbing too hard. Only use a soft cleaning rag. Scrubbers made of metal or hard plastic can damage the finish of the wood.
  • Make a cleaning solution of 2 teaspoons white vinegar and 1/2 cup water and mix well. You may also add a few drops of dish soap if you’re cleaning a food-based residue.
  • Dip the cleaning cloth in the solution and wring it out. Dab the solution on the sticky area to loosen the residue. After a few seconds, wipe away. Continue to repeat this process until all of the residues are removed.
  • When the spot is no longer sticky, wipe the area with a clean soft cleaning rag to remove any of the leftover cleaning solutions.

Other methods for removing sticky adhesive residue from wood

According to Yard and Garden Guru, there are a few safe alternatives for removing sticky residue from finished wood. The first is to use heat to loosen the adhesive first. A hairdryer works wonders for loosening the adhesive/glue and making it more pliable for removal. Hold the hairdryer directly above the sticky part until the glue has been heated and begins to show signs of loosening. You may be able to wipe it away with a paper towel or a clean soft cleaning rag. If you’re very careful you can also use the edge of a plastic credit card to scrape off the residue, but be careful not to press too hard and damage the finish. If this doesn’t work to completely remove the residue here are a few other solutions.

Use rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works wonders on some types of adhesives and glues. It’s especially effective for most price tag stickers. Use a clean cloth and dip the end in full-strength rubbing alcohol. You can also use a paper towel. Lay the wet part of the cloth with the alcohol on top of the sticky spot so the alcohol comes into contact with the residue. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. It will soften the adhesive, and in some cases, help to melt it away. Wipe the alcohol and the residue off with the clean end of the cloth. It might require a little patience and take a few treatments to completely loosen and remove all traces of the sticky residue. Just continue to repeat the process until you have a smooth finish without a sticky or gummy feel. When all the residue is gone, wipe the surface with a clean cloth or paper towel to make sure that you’ve removed all the alcohol.

Some things to avoid

Avoid using any cleaning products that contain corrosive chemicals. These can destroy the finish of the wood and leave a marred spot where they are applied. Also avoid using sharp objects such as metal scrapers, knives, or steel wool pads. Even the scrubbers on some plastic sponges can wear away the finish on some of the more delicate wood products.

Final thoughts

Nobody enjoys having a sticky table or armchair. This is something that happens frequently in homes with small children. It’s not difficult to safely clean gummy messes from finished wood if you know how to do so. Some substances are a little harder than others to remove. Bear in mind that it might require a little patience and a lot of repeating the processes for each of the methods we offer here if the sticky residue is stubborn. In most cases, food spills come off easily with a little vinegar or dish soap and a cloth dipped in a warm water solution with these ingredients included. Most of us have all the cleaning solutions we need available in our own homes. Still, some good wood cleaning products are available on the market to safely and quickly take sticky messes off of finished wood products safely.

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