Problem: Furniture has been
blemished with water spots or rings, burn marks from
cigarettes, or minor scratches.
Background: Almost any furniture that is used
regularly suffers an occasional nick, scratch, burn, or
water spot. Though a number of commercial products are
available to correct minor defects, furniture-finish ex
pert Homer Formby suggests many alternative home remedies,
many which use products you probably al ready have in the
What to do: To treat water spots and rings caused
by moisture trapped underneath wax, try applying tooth
paste. Squeeze it onto a wet cotton rag and buff the
spotted area. For stubborn areas, combine toothpaste in
equal parts with baking soda, an other gentle abrasive.
Buff until the spot disappears. Then with a clean cloth
continue buffing until you can see yourself. For burn
marks, such as those caused by cigarettes, try using nail
polish remover. Dip a cotton swab into the remover and rub
it lightly across the burn mark. This dissolves the black
residue. If any burn mark remains, scrape it gently with a
small knife. If a slight hollow remains, mix equal parts
remover with clear nail polish and apply 1 coat at a time
with the nail polish brush. Let each coat dry between
applications (it might take up to 8 coats or so).
Special advice: For minor scratches or other mars
on furniture, try using a color crayon which matches the
finish. Melt the crayon over the scratch until it flows
over the mar, let it cure for half an hour, then gently
shave off the residue with a credit card. You can melt the
crayon with a soldering iron. Or if you don’t have a
soldering iron, tie a nail to a pencil, heat it over a
flame, then put the nail to the crayon.
Helpful hint: To mask
the musty odor in antique furniture, you can use red cedar
shavings (not western cedar). Put the shavings in the toe
of an old pair of nylons, tie the end, and cut off the
excess. Then tack the sack along the back of the drawer
or, if there are no drawers, on the back of the furniture
or underneath it.