How to get stain varnish off of glass

Written by laurenkrotosky
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How to get stain varnish off of glass
Spraying rubbing alcohol on a varnish stain removes it from glass. (green spray bottle image by Jim Mills from

Stain varnish on glass can create an unsightly stain that is very noticeable against the clear glass. Stain varnish may get on your glass if you have used a stain to colour a wooden coffee table with a glass top or a mirror with a wooden frame. Dried varnish can be very difficult to get rid of with traditional soap or glass cleaners, but a simple item such as rubbing alcohol can take it off in a snap.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dust rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • Cotton swap
  • Clean rag

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  1. 1

    Dust down the glass with a dust rag to remove dust or debris, which can stick to the varnish and make a bigger mess to remove.

  2. 2

    Pour rubbing alcohol into an empty spray bottle for easier application.

  3. 3

    Spray a few squirts of the rubbing alcohol over the varnish stain and let sit for about 30 seconds.

  4. 4

    Rub a cotton swap over the stain to work the rubbing alcohol into the varnish until you see it begin to break apart.

  5. 5

    Wipe the remainder of the stain away with a clean rag.

Tips and warnings

  • Finish by using a window cleaner on the glass to remove any streaks caused by the rubbing alcohol.

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