Clean-Up of Oil-Based Putty

Excess putty can make shiny smears around filled nail holes. Here are some tips on prevention and clean-up. October 28, 2005

I need to know how to clean off oil based putty smudges from around nail holes. Particularly DAP's painter's tinted putties. It's mainly being used on cabinetry with a lacquered finish. I've tried several cleaners and hot water, but nothing seems to work. The more you rub, the more gloss the putty creates!

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
Mineral spirits or VMP naptha should work for you. What does the tube recommend for clean up?

This seems to be more of an issue the duller the lacquer finish is. Rubbing it will create a shiny halo around the fill. One way around this is to apply just enough putty to fill the hole and remove any extra with an old plastic credit card. Shear off the excess with the edge of the card. Have you tried a glossier finish? That would eliminate some of the halo. You could also try mixing some cornstarch into the pre-mixed putty. This will slightly lighten the color, but mainly it absorbs the oil in the putty and makes for a cleaner look.

It's wax that gives you the shine.