all: We've installed hardwood stairs in our new home. Before we've been able to get them stained and finished, my son left peanut butter hand prints on them. There are now oil stains on some of the stairs. We plan on staining the stairs a dark brown anyway; should I bother trying to remove the stains before finishing? If so, what do you recommend? I've read about various techniques from using mineral spirits to light sanding, and they all sound they'll make the stairs look worse. Thanks much!

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    (Goodness. It's clear why little kids are so cute; otherwise they wouldn't survive childhood.) More to the topic, I'd be worried that the stain wouldn't penetrate. Suggestion: make your own peanut-butter stains on some scrap wood, and then try staining it. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


You say a dark stain, which is good, but the peanut oil has already filled some of the space where the stain can soak in. That's bad. You don't want visibly lighter handprints on your steps. I'd go with rags liberally moistened with mineral spirits. Let them sit on the spots for half an hour or so, then scrub vigorously. You'll know if you succeeded when the mineral spirits dry off over the course of several hours.

It's best to have some ventilation when dealing with mineral spirits.

  • Groan, that makes sense. Thanks for the advice!
    – Veronica
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 17:25

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