removing finish in difficult areas
dispose of chemically soaked rags safely
Clean-up the Small Detail Areas Left
Once you've stripped a piece, you may notice a few places you've missed--such as in carvings or around detail work. It's best to remove these remnants of finish while it's still soft from the stripper. Use an old toothbrush or cotton swabs dipped in mineral spirits to remove finish in difficult areas (Image 1) . Follow up by wiping with a soft cloth. Leaving small amounts of the old finish deep in the crevices and carvings can help preserve an antique look.
Unused portions of stripper may be saved for future projects as long as the container is tightly sealed. Waste stripper, paint sludge, old brushes and used steel wool may be placed in a sealed container, then disposed of. Call your local sanitation department to find out how and where to dispose of the waste: community regulations on the disposal of toxic materials vary widely.
As you clean up, note that chemical-soaked rags can spontaneously combust and cause a fire. To dispose of them safely, place them in a container, fill it with water (Image 2) and seal it. Dispose of the sealed container with household garbage. Leave soiled drop-cloths and newspapers outside to dry, making sure to keep them away from pets or children, before throwing them away. Or soak drop-cloths and newspapers with water and throw them away.