Archive for the ‘stain removal’ category

Stains on the Roof From an Old TV Antenna

March 26th, 2010

We have two “stains” on our roof from where we had our TV antenna. The antenna was removed about a year ago. Is there any way to remove these stains?


A TV antenna can cause two types of “stains.” Both types of stains will not damage a typical asphalt shingle roof, and don’t need to be removed. They may be ugly, but it’s not a serious maintenance issue.

RISR_WebsiteA rusty colored, black stain is from rusting metal on the antenna or the fasteners. This type of stain will lighten with time as the weather and sun bleaches out the color. You could try a rust removal chemical like Whink Rust and Iron Stain Remover, but I suggest waiting for the stain to disappear.

The other type of “stain” may be a lack of fungus growing below the metal of the antenna. The zinc coating on the metal becomes an oxide with rainwater, and as it runs down the roof, it stops algae growth. If the stain is a light color, the rest of the roof has algae. The algae can be removed with Jomax or a similar product.

I don’t suggest a homeowner should attempt to clean a roof – it’s just too dangerous. A dry roof is dangerous enough. Adding cleaning solutions, water, and chemicals can make a roof slippery and even more dangerous. Leave the cleaning to professionals.

Shiny Spots on Formica Cabinets

March 8th, 2010

My Formica cabinet doors have some shiny spots that I cannot remove. Someone told me they put a varnish on their doors. Is there a wipe-on type of finish that would just give it a bit of shine to cover the spots? What should I do to prepare the doors? Or, do I just have to live with them?


I would never try to apply a varnish to a plastic laminate. It will not stick well and could discolor over time. Your doors may have shiny spots from wear or from an oily deposit.

I suggest you clean the plastic laminate with a strong detergent grease cleaner. Any strong kitchen or household cleaner will work. Then rub the cabinets down with Gel Gloss. Gel Gloss is a cleaner and polish. Scrubbing with Gel Gloss will remove some stains, and the mild abrasive will also help clean tough stains.

After you scrub, put a thin coat of Gel Gloss on all the surfaces. The Gel Gloss will dry to a white powder, like an automotive wax. Buff off the powder and you should have a reasonable shine. A second coat will add more shine.

Touch-Up Marker Stains on an Unfinished Door

March 3rd, 2010

My 2-year-old grandson became an artist with a furniture touch-up marker on a hollow, unfinished wood bathroom door. I really do not want this door painted. Is there any way to get this off? Some of the marks are from a permanent marker.


You will need to prime with a stain killer such as BIN, then paint the door. You will not get the stain out of the bare wood.

Hollow core doors are inexpensive and not worth the effort to try and remove the stains. Since the stain is in bare wood, it will not come out. Replace the door or stain it a very dark color.

Cleaning an Old Cast-Iron Tub? Use a Tub-Liner.

March 2nd, 2010

We have a cast-iron bathtub from about 1948. I cannot keep it looking clean anymore. We heard about tub lining. Is that good? We installed ceramic tile around the tub.


A modern tub liner is a great way to repair a worn cast-iron tub. The liners are a thick acrylic or vinyl that is very durable. They are made in many shapes and sizes to fit all the popular tub sizes. You do need a contractor to measure the tub for the proper fit.

Part of the installation is disconnecting and reconnecting the drain line – this takes some experience. Most folks also update the water control valves and shower assembly. Part of the installation often includes replacing the walls with match panels.

Since you have already done ceramic tile around the tub, you will want to review the options for matching the tub to the tile. You don’t want any water behind the walls or under the liner. Once they are installed, they are very durable and look great. Liners can often be installed in one day, so you only lose use of your tub for 24 hours.

White Stain on Brick Chimney

February 23rd, 2010

We had a new brick chimney installed last June by a reputable local company. In the fall a small area at the base began to show a frosty look. Now in the winter, the entire brick unit (top to bottom) is white. It’s even difficult to tell the color of the bricks. Is it a flue pipe installation error, or something in the brick ? I enjoy your program. Keep us homeowners informed.


The white stain is from a moisture problem. The moisture moves through the brick and mortar, and deposits the white, lime, salty deposit. It could be from many possible problems – cap, flashing, flue, original work, etc.

Shadowing, Ghost Stains

February 17th, 2010

What causes “shadowing” on house walls? I always chalked it up to soot from candles, but I recently had a realtor call me about a house that had shadowing on studs, ceiling truss members, and nails/screws in the drywall. The house was built in 1995 and is a typical ranch-style in West Michigan. There appears to have been a “zero clearance” fireplace that may have been wood or gas. Any ideas?


You have it right, most gray stains that outline framing and fasteners on drywall are caused by soot from combustion. The soot is often from burning candles. The worst candles are the good-smelling ones in a glass jug because the flame lacks Oxygen for combustion. A gas fireplace can also cause soot inside a home.

The soot collects near framing and fasteners on outside walls because these areas are slightly cooler and the air slows as it passes by, depositing soot. You will also find soot on horizontal surfaces and around pictures where air flow changes direction.

Check out my free article:

Soot, Ghosts and Ugly Stains

White Rings in Wood Finish

February 13th, 2010

At Christmas dinner, my son placed a basket with hot rolls on the dark wood china cabinet. That evening, we found a white cloudy area under the basket. I assume the steam from the rolls caused this. What are my options?


A white ring on a wooden coffee table is caused by moisture absorbed into the table’s clear finish. Professional re-finishers call this effect blooming. Most blooming can be removed by rubbing with mild abrasive to remove a thin coat of finish in the white area. Use automobile polishing compound, rottenstone and mineral spirits, 0000 steel wool, or even cigar ashes and mineral spirits.

Carefully rub the area with the abrasive until the white bloom disappears. Be careful, and go slowly; It may take quite a bit of rubbing. Since this removes a fraction of the surface finish, you must re-wax the surface to touch up the gloss. You may even need to touch up the finish if the bloom is deep. Consider using an oil finish for a touch-up.

The good news is that a white bloom is usually only in the clear surface finish. A darker stain indicates wood damage below the surface finish. This could require complete refinishing.

Cleaning a Broom Finish Driveway

November 17th, 2009


How do you clean the rough areas of a Broom finish driveway? I have tried bleach, however it did not work.


Two options: Use a pressure washer and just blast the dirt away, or scrub it with a stiff deck brush and JOMAX. You will find JOMAX at larger paint stores – you mix it with water and laundry bleach for a very effective, exterior cleaner.  It will also remove mildew and mold.

Stain Removal on a New Clothes Dryer

May 4th, 2009


We have a new clothes dryer. We placed a bag that was wet from window cleaner on the top of the dryer. One of my kids inadvertently put something on the bag and it left an orange stain on the top of the white clothes dryer. I tried to rub it off with a gentle cleanser but to no avail. Is there anyway to get this orange colored stain off the top of my clothes dryer?



small_Gel-GlossThat is a strange happening! I would try the classic stain removers – Lift Off, Oops, Spot-Shot or Goof Off. They should not harm the finish and they remove most stains. You could also try Gel Gloss – it is a cleaner and a polish with a very fine abrasive. Rub the Gel Gloss on the stain to remove it.

Gel Gloss will dry to a white powder and when buffed off, it leaves a nice shine on hard surfaces such as synthetic shower stalls, faux marble, plastic laminate and enamel paint. It is a great product for “restoring” plastic laminate counter tops.