How do I Clean Unfinished wood

Old 03-11-08, 07:54 AM
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How do I Clean Unfinished wood

Please point me in a direction.

I'd like to rejuvenate the unfinished rustic wood in my walls and beams that cross the ceiling. They have about 22yrs of dust on them some soot residue and in some places old paint drips. Both oil and acrylic. I don't know what kind of solvent to use. I've heard some sort of diluted bleach water concoction and I've heard exterior deck brightener. I don't know if I trust the bleach water and the deck stuff calls for hosing down once its finished. Anybody got ideas?
Old 03-12-08, 02:33 AM
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Before trying any kind of bleach, the beams and woodwork must be thoroughly cleaned.
Unfortunately to clean wood in the interior of a house, installed, is not the easiest thing to do, You will need to put down something to protect your floors.
For the areas that have paint on them, a small 1" scraper is really the easiest way to remove the paint that you mentioned. Make sure the scraper is good and sharp by dressing it up with a file if necessary. Gently, but firmly, press the scraper on the surface of the paint and scrape the substance off by drawing the scraper towards you. It'll take a few minutes for you to get the feel of how hard to press.
After you have removed the paint, then clean the wood using a solution of TSP (Trisodium Phosphate). You can get this at many hardware or paint stores. Apply the solution with a natural bristle scrub brush. After doing a section about 2 ft. long, wipe off the wood with cotton rags and allow to dry. This will thoroughly clean dirt and oils off the wood.
If bleaching is needed, deck wash is a good solution to use. It contains a product called Oxalic Acid which is a type of wood bleach. Yes, it does need to be rinsed off, but you can do this with your cotton rags and water. Oxalic Acid is safe to use and presents no problem using indoors. If you simply let the solution dry on the wood it would leave a bit of a crystal film. When it is sanded, it is very irritating to the sinuses and you'll sneeze your head off!! By rinsing it off with cool water and a cotton rag, there should be no problem.
Cleaning any kind of wood is messy if you're going to do it right and it takes patience. Using the steps I've outlined will get the job done as quickly and as thoroughly as any manual process.
Good luck,

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