Thursday, November 20, 2014

Barkeeper's Friend

"Barkeeper's Friend" sounds like a punchline to a joke, I suppose. But it's also the name of a cleaning product we brought along with us to Aspö on our last trip. Why, you might ask? Aren't there plenty of cleaning products on the Kingdom of Sweden?

A valid question, indeed. We brought along our barkeeper's friend as it contains oxalic acid as one of its ingredients. Oxalic acid turns out to be very good at removing stains in wooden furniture.

One of the things we have to get used to with our new deck is that our table is much more exposed to the elements out there. Up until now, it's been tucked next to the house. We left a couple of heavy metal tea light holders out on the table in an overnight drizzle, and the next day, we had a nice dark stain on our otherwise pristine wood.

Although I don't have a photo of our stain, the one shown here is pretty similar. What happens is that water, containing iron, interacts with the tannins in the wood, causing a kind of rust stain. The fact that we had a nice iron candle-holder in the rain simply made the staining process more efficient!

This photo is from a website I found addressing the problem (as well as an array of other little projects, too.) I thought it worth a try, hence the can in our baggage from Texas.

I'm happy to report the treatment worked perfectly! After just two applications, we were able to get the stain completely out. I may even see if I can use it to deal with a few remaining jarn vitriol spots on the house. After all, it's an iron oxide, itself. I promise to take pictures next time.


Margaret Patane said...

Pick up a tarp or a table cover (made for teak furniture on boats, for ex). Leaving it exposed all year isn't good - I speak from experience!

Don said...

Good point. We could see a difference just from a few weeks outside on the deck!