Removing Shellac Stains from Windows

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated July 4, 2014)

Have you ever notice how shellac can be seen just about everywhere in the home? The reason for this is that shellac is commonly used as a wood stain and protector for all kinds of furniture and wood trimming. Since it is so commonly used, the possibility that the shellac will end up on something that it shouldn't (such as on windows) is pretty high—particularly if you really get into your work. Never fear, cleaning shellac from windows is a pretty easy thing to do, even if you really get into your work. The main reason for this is that shellac is an extremely hard substance once it dries, particularly if it dries on glass, and there are only a few ways that that you can remove it.

  • Alcohol. Shellac based stains are usually cut (mixed) with alcohol to dissolve the flakes or larger pieces, which means that alcohol is a good choice for removing it from your glass. There is a downside of this trait, which is that strong alcoholic cleaners can strip the wood that shellac is on. Be sure that you keep this in mind when you are trying to find something to remove shellac from areas where wood may be nearby. To use the alcohol as a shellac remover apply it with a cloth, until the shellac begins to soften and dissolve. If at all possible you can pour enough alcohol to cover the area directly onto the shellacked glass and let it sit while the alcohol does its work. However, this really isn't the best way to remove shellac from framed glass, as you may damage the surrounding wood.
  • Scrape. Use caution when choosing which scraper you will be using. Do not use anything that will scratch the glass itself. Your best bet would be to use a razorblade or safety razor. Simply hold the razor at an angle, and periodically wet the glass as you scrape away the shellac. This will allow the edge of the razor to slide under the softened shellac better. As you guide the razorblade under the shellac use short strokes and lift the blade up between each stroke, to ensure that you are not digging into the glass. While this process may take a little time, it is the easiest and safest of ways to get the job done.
  • Turpentine. Similar in nature to the alcohol method, turpentine will definitely remove any shellac that you have on your windows. However, since this is an even stronger version of the alcohol method, extreme care needs to be taken that you don't apply any of the turpentine to the wood trim around your windows. Put some turpentine onto a soft cloth or sponge, and gently scrub away the shellac. You want to use a gentle pressure to avoid possibly damaging the glass of your windows.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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