Repairing White Discoloration on a Lacquered Table

How to get rid of milky-white spots on a lacquer finish. April 17, 2009

Back a few months ago I laminated a 2" thick 4 x 8 pecan island top for a customer. It was stained fairly dark and then I applied two coats of clear catalyzed lacquer. Then last week the customer laid a paper plate with hot food on it and it left a milky white spot. So my question is, can I wipe the spot with retarder or spray a light coat of retarder over the whole top or do I refinish it? I need some advice.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor C:
Hit the area with a hairdryer.

From contributor U:
Wipe the spot with methylated spirits (denatured alcohol in the US, I think), and set fire to it with a match. I've done this dozens of times, and it always works.

From contributor R:
Shame on you for using lacquer on a tabletop. Take some denatured alcohol and blotch it till you pull out the moisture.

From contributor M:
I have done the same thing using retarder. Personally I would try rubbing the area with denatured alcohol first, but if that doesn't work, try using some retarder. Let the customer know that either method may leave that spot with a slightly different sheen than the rest of the top, but that's the price that's paid for laying hot stuff on a top. It's also the price paid for using a lacquer product of any type on a table. I sprayed my personal kitchen table with conversion varnish, and have never once gotten a white spot from heat and there isn't a chemical in my house that will damage it - but it scratches terribly easily.

From contributor U:
The point about wiping the spot with denatured alcohol and burning it is that is no effect at all on the sheen of the finish. You wouldn't know there had been a white spot. Just light the alcohol and leave it to burn out.