Cleaning scorch marks

Hello. I was looking for some input on scorch marks. On large pieces, I simply sand them with an orbital sander when cutting and I like the results. For small blocks of solid wood or bamboo I scrub with water and dawn with a toothbrush. So my question is on small items that are made of plywood that are too small to sand and too detailed to mask, is scrubbing the same way ok? Has anybody done that and if so did the piece hold up after? Thank you.


If you’re talking about PG ywood I’d avoid water - the MDF core will swell.

Have you tried the gorilla tape or plastic razor blade method for removing intricate masking? I haven’t found anything too hard to unmask with one of those.


Thank you for the reply. I used Columbia Forrest project panels from HD. They do have an MDF core. I tried a small one to test just a little bit ago and it did clean and looks good but I don’t know if long or short term it will cause any issues.

I do use gorilla tape for masking but these are detailed engraves so was hoping to avoid the masking I do not know of the other method you mentioned.

Thank you again! :slight_smile:


That is some pretty tough masking. I think you will find this paper masking a lot easier to work with.


Cleaning with a cheap baby wipe and/or alcohol (hand sanitizer works well) will cause less swelling. I also put most of my stuff into a tupperware filled with plain salt and shake it around. That’ll take off most of the loose char.

There’s also something to be said for perfecting your settings so you get the least amount of char possible. If you’re changing materials frequently that may not be worth it, but if you tend to use the same it can save a lot of time in the long run!


This would be a rare scenario.


For masking l have found that a wood scrapper works really well. Here is a link to the one I use from


Sorry. I meant to remove masking.


I will have to try this.


I will try that salt method. Do you keep reusing the same salt?


I will check that scrapper out, thank you.


Generally speaking people reach for plastic razor blades before they’ll go for a scraper to remove tape. Scrapers are pretty aggressive and the plastic razor blades usually don’t damage your materials. There are lots of posts about them here on the forum if you go looking.


Yes, until it’s gets very dark and then I replace it.


Awesome thank you!

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I use fingernail polish remover. It gets most of it off

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If I get any scorch marks on wood despite masking, a bit of alcohol usually works to remove it while it’s “fresh”. Sometimes I’ll also take a 220 grit sanding block to it after the alcohol evaporates if there’s any char still visible. The blocks are flexible enough that you can use a corner in a pretty tight space.

I’ve found these to be useful for the alcohol cleanup. Alcohol prep pads, individually wrapped alcohol wipes. A box of 200 costs about $5, and you can get them at any pharmacy store/section, or Amazon:



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