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Tack Cloth - Miracle Tool

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Author Using Tack Cloth Prior to Painting

Author Using Tack Cloth Prior to Painting

Copyright Lee Wallender; Licensed to About.com
Tack cloth. It costs less than a grande coffee at Starbucks, and makes your painting job look like a million bucks.

I came relatively late to tack cloth. For years, I used cotton rags and towels to wipe down surfaces to painting. Then, I heard about tack cloth. No, tack cloth is nothing new - I was just particularly slow in this regard. Then I came to love it.

What is Tack Cloth?

Tack cloth is cheese cloth impregnated with beeswax. Professional painters use it to clean off surfaces prior to painting, staining, or otherwise coating with some kind of permanent liquid treatment. Tack cloth is a one-use-only item. It cannot be rinsed out and reused. When it is full of sawdust and particles, you must throw it away.

It is hard to emphasize just how smooth and dust-free your surface will be after using tack cloth. The first time I ever used it on window mutins, I must have spent ten minutes just admiring the cleanliness of those mutins.

What Do You Use Tack Cloth For?

The list is endless. But generally, you'll be using tack cloth for smaller surfaces, not entire walls:
  • Baseboards
  • Door trim
  • Window mutins and trim
  • Cabinetry
Tack cloth is very sticky stuff, and is not appropriate for glass or metal. The Gerson Fine Surface tack cloth is a good, general-purpose item.

Buy Direct - 12 Pack Gerson 18"X36" Smooth Finish Tack Cloth

Caution: It is possible to buy tack cloth that is too tacky. I have bought tack cloth that literally leaves my hand sticky. So, imagine how sticky the painting surfaces will be, as well. I have used Bondo Tack Cloth, which (as the name implies) is more appropriate for extremely dirty automotive surfaces than for less dusty residental surfaces.

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