Okay, so I think this dresser came from Lazy Boy or Ashley Furniture, it isn't vintage or built like they used to make it. Nonetheless, I am getting ready to move, and this has been driving me crazy for the last 2 years.

My nephew left a bottle of carpet stain cleaner, or some other type of cleaner, on my dresser, and it leaked through the bottle. When I picked it up I saw that it had eaten through the laying of paint(I don't know terminology, sorry). In its place it left an outline of the bottle, and soaked into some paper(the white fuzzy stuff). This is a beautiful dresser, but I cannot stand this eye sore anymore.

Can anyone give me some insight into how I might go about fixing this. I figure I need to sand it down, and then repaint or stain it. I've been researching this online the last few days, and I am more confused then when I started.

If you have any insight or guidance as to how I can at least improve the texture, even it out, and get it somewhat black again I would greatly appreciate it.

I've never done much in terms of DIY home repair, aside from my fixation on FleaMarket Flip, but it is something I am dying to get into. So yeah, I would love some help with this.



Chemical Burn

  • 2
    Is the top solid wood, mdf, veneer, etc? Could you describe the finish or provide additional photos, please? Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 17:52
  • Oh the back of the dresser it says, "Quality veneer over wood products and and selected solids may be used throughout." I tried to upload additional photos, it wouldn't let do more then one link.
    – iTrauco
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 17:55
  • I will try uploading the data files into my google drive and creating a public access album and drop the link in here
    – iTrauco
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 17:59
  • Okay here are the additional photos, goo.gl/photos/SsHoMN5me3U1XS6B6, @BrownRedHawk
    – iTrauco
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 18:06
  • 3
    That must have been some incredible carpet cleaner. By the degree of damage, it might be worth sanding it flush, attaching a veneer and attempting to mimic the finish. I'm not sure even if it was sanded down that it would re-finish the same. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 18:09

2 Answers 2


Just sand it smooth and repaint. It's really not that complicated. You'll have to be careful not to sand through the veneer, so do it by hand, don't use an electric sander. Start with coarse sandpaper, then medium, then fine. At the fine sandpaper stage, sand the whole top of the dresser, not just the damaged area, it'll help the paint adhere.

Word of advice on choosing the paint color: you probably won't be able to get an exact match. So try to use a contrasting color instead, it'll look better than a color that almost matches. Or repaint the whole dresser at once.


If you want it good, you will need to redo it. Good thing is - you don't need to worry about destroying surface too much. With chemical damage like that, surface is effectively destroyed beyond repair already.

If you got a veneer over wood, and furniture is made in an old way, chances are it's glued using bone or skin glue. Heating it up to 40 or 50 degree Celsius will make glue unbound, and you will be able to remove veneer easily. If this does not work, heat might damage surface, but oh well, not a problem now.

If it's not hot-debounding glue, you need to sand it. Oscillation electrical sander would be my bet - less chance to make waves than if you do it by hand, and less chance to sand too much than if you would use belt sander. In my country hand-held belt sanders are often nicknamed tanks not only for their look, but also or their delicacy and precision (or lack of). If you are going to do it by hand, and don't have practice, read about sanding first.

Now, there can be three results:

  1. You sanded thorough paint only
  2. You sanded thorough veneer as well
  3. You were lucky and only sanded thorough damage

If 2, I would highly recommend putting some veneer there. It will be painted so it might be cheap all right, but the only reason to put veneer under paint is to hide construction connections, not to look good on it's own. On the other hand, it is the top - the only part that's ofthen different by design. You may put dark/black decorative veneer, lacquer it and call the job finished. It may look better than original that way!

If you don't see that you sanded through veneer, you don't need to care if it's really there at all. You got layer of wood so you are good to go. Put thin coat of paint. If you don't have original paint now, wait for first layer to dry and put another one. if old paint is there, one might be enough. on the other hand, sanding to the naked wood helps avoid compatibility problems and weak bonding between different paints.

If black isn't enough, and you want finish like "piano black", you need to polish your black paint, and then cover it with many thin coats of compatible high gloss transparent lacquer. If feasible, buy them at the same time, making sure assistant in shop knows you want to use them together. I think that details on piano black would make this answer even longer, and it's material for another question. I can't even tell if original was piano black or regular black.

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