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Triumph Don
11-12-2009, 05:00 PM
Any ideas on how to remove/repair water stains on a cabinet?

rdgrimes
11-12-2009, 08:53 PM
*Most* are just surface deposits of minerals and should sand right off. Mildew/mold stains are a different matter.

Wagner
11-12-2009, 09:35 PM
Any ideas on how to remove/repair water stains on a cabinet?

If you are going to refinish the cab, wash it in it's entirety with a vegetable oil based soap like Murphy's. This will remove years of grim and organic dirt that you don't even know is there (but you'll know it's gone when you see that clean grain POP! and the once white rag now nasty greenish brown) I use a cotton terry cloth for scrubbing and a heavy, high quality roll of paper towels for drying; work with the grain, paper towels won't get caught in the gran and leave the little hairs like a cloth towel will. It will also raise the grain slightly and give you a nice clean sanding job. More importantly, you will be amazed at how much, if not all, of a typical water/potted plant stain this will remove.

If you are going to just do a spot repair, mask off everything else, wash the affected area, repeat as needed until you feel it's as good as it's going to get and then, sand LIGHTLY but thoroughly with a good grade of 180.

Avoid saturating the wood. You don't want to soak it. It may take several cleanings. And remember, a ring may still appear to be there when the veneer is still damp. You can speed the process with a hair dryer or hot air gun, but go easy. You can "set" a stain in wood with heat just as with clothing.

I've tried many methods over the years, and cleaned many FILTHY cabinets. Water based stains are often the most difficult to deal with due to osmosis and capillary action; I'd rather deal with paint stains any day.
Nothing ever made me 100% satisfied until one day I was dealing with a pair of particularly rough cabs. Pot (no pun intended) rings, wine stains and what looked like grape jelly EVERYWHERE. Knowing all these stains/contaminants were water borne led me to say "the Hell with it, I'm going to wash these boys with soap and water". (Judiciously of course; HOT water, quick scrub and don't leave water standing on veneer obviously).
All I can tell you is that after their light sanding (with less clogging now that the wood is "clean) they came out amazingly gorgeous.

It is now my standard procedure on all my restorations that will require sanding. If I can persuade my daughter to take some pictures, I will show you the pair of L55s I just finished up using this method.

Thomas

ROSSO
11-15-2009, 06:31 PM
Any ideas on how to remove/repair water stains on a cabinet?Is the stain black or white? What type of finish is there?

White stains (typically a ring from a beverage) are generally blemishes in a shellac or varnish finish and are easy to fix. Try light rubbing with a little 0000 steel wool.

Black stains are usually iron deposits leached out of planters and are more difficult. The fix is an acid mix that breaks down the mineral deposit but does not affect the wood veneer.

Personally, I avoid water based cleaners on veneered MDF.

Wagner
11-15-2009, 07:53 PM
Is the stain black or white? What type of finish is there?

White stains (typically a ring from a beverage) are generally blemishes in a shellac or varnish finish and are easy to fix. Try light rubbing with a little 0000 steel wool.

Black stains are usually iron deposits leached out of planters and are more difficult. The fix is an acid mix that breaks down the mineral deposit but does not affect the wood veneer.

Personally, I avoid water based cleaners on veneered MDF.

Acids and bleaches should considered only as a LAST resort (my opinion). To suggest that either "does not affect the wood veneer" is preposterous; just takes the stained area to the other extreme. Less control as well. Only God knows with certainty what the results will be when one puts anything on wood. Anything.

And make note, I spoke at length to the JUDICIOUS use of water and to avoid SOAKING.

Wood bleaches also require the step of a neutralizer if used properly (or the process goes on indefinitely) and are not intended for use on furniture grade woods.

This writer's opinion based on excellent results with my method. And yes, I have tried the more aggressive (chemically speaking) approaches. They are what led me to my suggested technique which has yielded much more desirable results.

Whatever works for you, I know mine does. :bouncy:

Thomas