Susan Grantham of Tallahassee, Fla., uses rubbing alcohol, putting some on a soft cloth and rubbing gently. If there's some haze, the sap is still there, she says, so you might go over the area with a little car wax. It works on windshields and glass, too. Road tar? Try lighter fluid.
Arline Ritz solved a similar problem with Bluemagic Road Tar & Bug Gel ($5 at Pep Boys). The product claims to safely remove road tar, tree sap, and bird droppings without damage to car and truck finishes, including clear coats, plastic, and fiberglass.
Dick Amrhine in Fredericksburg, Va., says lemon oil would probably work. It is sold under the name Goo Gone.
Question. A small Queen Anne chair began to put out an odor that is quite offensive and brings to mind the smell you notice when entering an antiques shop.
After researching on the Internet, we sealed the chair in a plastic bag with lava rocks inside for two weeks. It did not help. Later, it was placed indirectly in the sunlight for several weeks, and it made a slight improvement. It has been reupholstered over the original fabric and padding.
Please let me know if I can save this sentimental chair or will it have to be disposed of? We have had it in our possession for 20 years without any odor.
Answer. Everyone suggests baking soda, so you might want to try it. We would always use it on the carpet when the dog had an accident, and it worked to a point.
Is the odor emanating from the wood or the upholstery? The upholstery might have gotten damp, since putting it in the sunlight helped, and that musty smell might be mold or mildew.
Perhaps a furniture expert is next.
firstname.lastname@example.org or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.