How to Remove Fondue Fuel From My Wooden Table

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Wipe fondue fuel spills quickly to minimize damage to your table.
Wipe fondue fuel spills quickly to minimize damage to your table. (Image: Malachy120/iStock/Getty Images)

You don't need a hot flame for all fondue mixes; for example, you can keep chocolate fondue warm enough for dipping when you use a tea light. Cheese fondue needs a larger, hotter flame, though, and if you don't have a butane burner, you need either a specialty liquid or gel fuel. The flammable ingredient in both types is either denatured, isopropyl or methyl alcohol, all of which can degrade the finish on your wood table. It's best if you can remove any fondue fuel spills as soon as they happen to avoid finish damage, but the damage isn't difficult to repair.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Lemon oil or mineral oil
  • Rotten stone
  • Rags
  • Cotton ball
  • Flour
  • Paste wax
  • 0000 steel wool
  • Auto polishing compound
  • Lambswool buffer

Blot as much of the fuel from your table as possible with a paper towel. If you do this within a few minutes after spilling the fuel, it will probably be the end of the cleanup process.

Make a paste with lemon oil or mineral oil combined with rotten stone to repair damage created by fuel you left on the table too long. Don't use a drying oil like tung or linseed oil -- it leaves residue on the wood's finish.

Apply the paste to the stain with a clean rag or cotton ball, rubbing with the grain. The treatment restores color to the finish that may have been altered by exposure to alcohol.

Remove excess paste and oily residue by sprinkling with flour and blotting up the flour with moist paper towels. Leave the repair until it is dry to the touch, and then wait an additional hour or two.

Touch up the repair on a satin finish using paste wax. Apply the wax with 0000 steel wool, and buff with a clean cloth. If the table has a gloss finish, touch it up with auto polishing compound instead of paste wax. Apply a small amount of polishing compound, and buff it up with a rag or lambswool buffer.

Tips & Warnings

  • The gelling agent in fondue fuel is petroleum jelly, which doesn't stain wood finishes.
  • Move the fondue pot away from any spilled fuel to avoid having it ignite and severely damage the finish or wood.

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