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Broken Christmas Lights Cause Chemical Reaction on Linoleum Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Julie in West Virginia on the line who’s dealing with a mysterious stain on the floor. Ooh. Tell us what’s going on.

    JULIE: Yes. We have the Christmas bubble lights that were dropped on the floor this past Christmas and they immediately left a bright orange stain on the new linoleum. We can’t get it out. We’ve used a paint thinner-based stain remover and it didn’t do anything but barely fade it.

    LESLIE: I bet it’s not a stain. How long were these lights sitting on the floor?

    JULIE: We removed this instantly and wiped it up but it didn’t do any good.

    TOM: Hmm. What kind of lights were they that broke?

    LESLIE: Weird.

    JULIE: The bubble lights?

    LESLIE: The ones that have the liquid in it that sort of go blub-blub-blub-blub-blub as it – as they heat up.

    JULIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Oh, I bet you it was a chemical reaction.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I thought maybe it was a heat thing but if you picked them up right away – did they break?

    JULIE: Yes.

    LESLIE: OK. That’s got to be what it is.

    TOM: It’s got to be because it’s not a stain because otherwise, it would have come right up. You know, vinyl floors and the linoleum before that – we call them linoleum but they’re probably vinyl – they’re very reactive to certain situations.

    Like, for example, you know how many people put a rubber-backed carpet piece right near the sink and stand on it because it’s more comfortable?

    LESLIE: Like a bath mat.

    TOM: Like a bath mat, right. Well, those – that rubber reacts with the vinyl and causes it to oxidize and discolor. So you pick it up, you see a stain and think it’s dirt; it’s not. It’s the physical changing of the color of the vinyl itself.

    I suspect that’s probably what happened here and you’re not going to be able to get it up.

    LESLIE: It’s got to be. Mm-mm.

    JULIE: OK. So without changing the linoleum, it’s there forever.

    TOM: Right. Unless you can find a very nice, strategic throw rug for it, Julie.

    JULIE: OK. It’s at the bottom of the steps. Maybe that’s what I should do.

    TOM: That will be a good place for it. Just be – put an anti-slip carpet underneath it.

    LESLIE: Like an anti-skid mat.

    TOM: Anti-skid mat right underneath it, so nobody gets hurt.

    JULIE: OK. We can do that. Thanks very much.

    TOM: Alright? You’re welcome, Julie. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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