Most of the furniture that my mom and I paint is antique or vintage, which means it usually has years of build up on it from things like furniture wax. Often times pieces of furniture have been sitting in a garage for long periods of time collecting dust and animal hair. Other times the furniture has been in the home of someone who smokes and it is covered in tar and nicotine stains, which happens to be the case for this mid century modern dresser that we are currently working on.

All pieces of furniture require a good cleaning before they are painted and the type of cleaning product we use may change depending on the particular stains we are dealing with. Stains from cigarette smoke are very difficult to remove. To tackle the thick, yellow gunk on this laminate dresser we used a mixture of ammonia, hot water and dish washing soap. Using a green scotch brite pad we scrubbed the dresser until we could see the stains loosening up. Then we rinsed the cleaning products off with a clean rag. That process was repeated a few times.

This vintage dresser was cleaned yesterday and I plan on priming it tomorrow. Choosing the right primer is also important when covering nicotine stains. If you are interested in learning what type of primer I choose check back again soon. I’ll share the process as I make progress on this dresser.


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