Methylene chloride, or dichloromethane, is a common ingredient in commercial paint strippers and degreasing compounds. A powerful solvent, methylene chloride is able to dissolve a wide range of substances. Though it is a clear liquid, just like water, when a spill occurs it can leave unsightly stain behind. In chemistry, there is a principle known as "like dissolves like." In order to remove a stain caused by methylene chloride, you must use another organic solvent, though the most effective remedy will depend on the surface being treated -- a spot on the carpet, for instance, requires a different chemical than one on concrete.
Things You'll Need
1 tsp. liquid dish washing soap
Distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup household ammonia
3-percent hydrogen peroxide
Mix 1 tsp. of liquid dish washing soap into 1 cup of hot water. Stir vigorously until the solution begins to lather. Sponge the soapy water over the affected area. Odds are good this will do nothing to the stain, but it will remove any dust, dirt or loose debris, easing the stain removal process. Wipe the soap away with a damp sponge.
Douse a soft cloth with dry-cleaning fluid. Press the damp cloth against the affected area repeatedly. Work your way from the outside of the spill towards the center, blotting up the stain as you go. Rinse with clear water and pat with a towel to dry. If the area shows signs of improvement, reapply this solvent until the stain is gone.
Cover the stain with a paper towel that has been soaked in distilled white vinegar. Place a glass or jar on top of the towel to press the vinegar into the surface of the stain. Wait 10 minutes. Remove the towel and wipe the vinegar away with a damp cloth. Also known as acetic acid, vinegar may work if dry-cleaning fluid did not, though multiple applications may be necessary. Bear in mind, it is not safe to use acids on porous surfaces and may weaken natural fibers.
Pour 1/4 cup household ammonia into a small bowl. Add 1 cup of warm water and stir well. Blot marble, tile, cement or delicate fabrics with a soft cloth that has been dipped in this solution. Sponge with clear water to rinse. Apply this remedy with caution. While ammonia is an effective solvent, it can also remove dye from fabric or finishes from wood.
Dab any remaining stains with a cotton ball that has been saturated in acetone (nail polish remover). Press the cotton firmly against the stain, then immediately blot dry with a paper towel. Wipe with a damp cloth to rinse. Pat with a paper towel to dry. Do not use acetone on fabrics containing acetate or triacetate as it will dissolve the fibers.
Sponge 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution over stubborn stains. As the peroxide bubbles and fizzes, it breaks down the methylene chloride bonds. Work in small sections, wiping the peroxide away with a damp cloth as soon as the bubbling stops. Peroxide is a natural bleaching agent. To avoid unintentional lightening of the affected area, do not leave the peroxide in place for more than five minutes.
Test any solvent in an inconspicuous area prior to applying it to the stain to be sure it is safe to use on the given surface.
- Marble Institute of America: Natural Stone Care and Cleaning
- National Pollutant Inventory: Dichloromethane: Overview
- Mrs. Clean USA: Stain Removal Tips - Organic Stains
- Central Connecticut State University: Common Organic Solvents
- Frostburg State University: General Chemistry FAQ - How Do Stain Removers Work?