How to Remove Methylated Spirits from Wood


Lesley asked: How do I remove a white mark left by methylated spirits? My partner put a cloth, which had been used with methylated spirits as well as the bottle, onto my bedside chest. It has left white marks. I am devastated. How can I remove the white marks?

Methylated spirits, also known as denatured alcohol, is a commonly used cleaning product. While its strength makes it great for removing permanent marker and tough stains from metal surfaces, it is not a good mix for wood surfaces. This product can also remove wood finishes such as varnish and wax. If a white mark is left, it is a sign that either the varnish or wax was removed or damaged on the surface. Follow these steps to repair the damage.

You Will Need:

  • Fine sand paper
  • Wood stain to match the original color
  • Varnish or wood polish
  • Soft cloths
  • Old cloths

Steps to Remove the White Marks:

  1. Begin by sanding the white area off of the surface.
  2. Wipe with a clean cloth that is slightly dampened with water.
  3. Use an old cloth to apply stain to the sanded area. Check carefully to ensure that the stain only covers the sanded area.
  4. Wipe the stain away with a clean, old cloth.
  5. Repeat the stain application until the spot matches the rest of the table.
  6. Allow the stained area to dry.
  7. Apply a layer of varnish, or other protectant, to the surface that is consistent with the rest of the piece.
  8. When the top coat is dried, apply a furniture wax to add additional shine and protection.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the furniture piece is valuable, it may be worth having it professionally repaired.
  • If just the wax layer is damaged, it can be stripped off and replaced.


  1. Jenny says:

    I used methylated spirit to remove a Biro stain from a white tee shirt. The Biro has gone, but I’m now left with a mauve watermark from the methylated spirit. How do I now remove that?

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