Q The previous owner of our house applied contact covering to the kitchen cabinets. That was at least 18 years ago.
We would like to remove all of it, sand and paint the cabinets. They are metal and very well built. Our problem is how to remove the sticky residue left by the contact paper glue. We are talking about the total surface. We have tried heating the paper with a hair dryer before and during removal. And we have tried to remove the residue with a solvent. -- L.J.G.
A Unfortunately, the adhesives used on various types of contact paper vary from one brand to another. The same is true with adhesives on floor covering.
The type of solvent that will remove the residue of the glue depends on the basic ingredients in that specific type of glue. You can try different solvents to see which one proves effective.
Lacquer thinner, MEK (Methyl Ethyl Keytone), rubber cement solvent, 34X and naphtha are different types of solvent that prove effective with different types of adhesives.
Your best bet is to consult with a reputable paint dealer in your market who can test a sample of the material you are trying to remove to see which solvent will work.
Q In regard to a previous query, you recommended removal of the adhesive residue of labels with amyl acetate (banana oil), which is also the same as fingernail polish remover. May I offer three other foolproof methods?A few drops of any kind of cooking oil or baby oil left to soak, perhaps an hour. Spray & Wash left to soak briefly. Any lanolin-based hand soap, such as those used by construction workers and mechanics. -- A.C.B.
A We welcome suggestions by our readers and are happy to pass along these tips. Only one caution: If removing sticky residue spots (created by labeling) from plastic products, test in an inconspicuous area first. Some of these products will permanently mar plastic surfaces.
Q We recently bought a fairly new home that has Italian marble tile on the kitchen floor and countertops. The marble has been stained and etched from foods.
Is there any home product that can be used to remove the stains and restore the shine to damaged areas? Also, is there a product available to seal the marble to prevent further damage? -- F.A.B.
A Etch marks are caused by the action of certain acids on the finish of polished marble. Among these are wine, beer, fruit juices, vinegar, tomato products, mustard, carbonated beverages, ink and salad dressing. Some materials etch and stain the marble.
First, wash the surface with clear water. For stain removal, you will need to use a poultice. A poultice can be made of white blotting paper, white paper napkins, white cleansing tissue, commercial whiting or powdered household cleaner. The poultice should be soaked in the proper solution (depending on the type of stain) and kept from drying while it is on the marble. It can be covered with a piece of glass or a sheet of plastic, which will keep the moisture from evaporating. This process may take from one to 48 hours.
Organic stains are caused by such substances as tea, coffee, wet bark, flowers and leached colors from paper or textiles. These usually take the shape of the staining object and will often disappear without treatment after the staining substance has been removed. To facilitate removal of the stains, wash the surface with clean water and apply a poultice soaked with hydrogen peroxide (20 volume) or household ammonia (full commercial strength). For oil stains, those caused by butter, milk, cream, salad oils, peanut butter, mustard, hand cream, and so forth, use a poultice soaked in amyl acetate or acetone.
Rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object. These are caused by steel wool, flowerpots, some soils, nails, bolts, screws, cans and the like. Use a poultice soaked in commercial iron rust remover.
Once the stains have been removed, wet the surface with clean water and sprinkle on polishing powder (tin oxide, available from hardware stores or local marble shops). Rub the powder onto the marble with a damp cloth or using a buffing pad with a power drill. Continue buffing until etch marks disappear and the marble surface shines. If the etch marks persist, consult your local marble dealer.
Once the marble as been cleaned and buffed, for further protection use a nonyellowing wax. These instructions are suitable for genuine marble, but they may damage other materials.
Send inquiries to Here's How, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, CA 92112-0190. Only questions of general interest can be answered in the column.