Cleaning Shellac from Glass

by Lecia DeBrine
(last updated July 17, 2017)

There is not one day that most of us can say we have not seen shellac somewhere, there are many things that it is used for, from furniture stains to adhesive to coating for pills and candies. Because it is used everywhere the chances of it ending up someplace it should not be, like on glass, are pretty high, but cleaning shellac from a surface like this can be easy. If the glass is framed, like in a widow or table, caution should be used when cleaning the glass to avoid damaging the areas around it, even if the glass is on its own great care should be taken. Shellac is an extremely hard substance once it dries, especially on glass, and can only be removed a few ways.

Shellac is cut with alcohol to dissolve flakes or larger pieces for making stains and other products, which means that alcohol is a good choice for removing it from your glass. The downside of this trait is that strong cleaners or nail polish remover can strip furniture and other items with shellac on them, but keep this in mind when you are trying to find something to remove it from other areas. To use the alcohol as a remover you will want to apply it with a cloth until the shellac begins to soften and dissolve, if it is 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, this is not recommended for framed glass as you run the risk of damaging the surrounding wood.

Sometimes the alcohol alone is not enough to completely clean the shellac off, if this is the case you may need to scrape any that remains. Be careful when choosing your scraper that you do not use something that is going to scratch the glass, a razorblade is probably your best option. Holding the razor at an angle and rewetting the surface while you scrape will save your glass from any unnecessary scratching or marring, it will also allow the edge 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 one, this is to ensure that you are not digging into the glass.

This process may take a little time, mainly the softening of the shellac, but it is the easiest and safest of ways to get the job done. If you have to, using your cloth or razor, you can remove the shellac one layer at a time, in some cases this is the only way that it can be completely cleaned off. Once you have cleaned all the shellac off of your glass you can use some glass cleaner to remove any particles that may have been left behind, and finally the shine of your glass has been restored.

Author Bio

Lecia DeBrine

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