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If you want a thrifty and effective way to refinish something, use oven cleaner! Do not use this method on a valuable antique (but then if it is a valuable antique, you should not be refinishing it anyway as it will ruin the patina).
With small objects, I have sprayed it and then placed it in a plastic garbage bag and tied with twist tie. Let set for an hour or so and let the cleaner do it's work. I have also cleaned the racks in my oven with this method. The cheap $store kind works just as well as the expensive kind.
There are times that I have a problem with scum in my bathroom, whether it is on my sink, tub or toilet. Some of the bathroom cleaners do not work that well. Well as I was cleaning my stove with the spray on stove cleaner, I thought "Well, if it removes dried on food, couldn't it remove scum?" I gave it a go and sure enough it worked. I left it on for about 5 to 10 minutes, cleaned it off and my bathroom was left shining. Plus the fumes are not as harsh as using other cleaners such as Ajax or Clorox.
By Tomnsaby from Albuquerque, NM