Blog / How to use a tack cloth

July 15, 2021

What is a tack cloth

A tack cloth is a specialty wiping rag designed to pick up loose debris or dust particles, typically before painting or staining. Trimaco’s SuperTuff Tack Cloth is made with loosely woven cotton gauze infused with hydrocarbon resin and plasticizer which gives it a sticky or “tacky” texture.

tack cloth

What are the benefits of a tack cloth

A staple in the painting and staining industries, tack cloths have quite a few benefits and are ideal for the paint prep or varnish application process to ensure a flawless finish!

Blemish-free results: Tack Cloths are ideal for removing sanding dust and loose particles prior to painting or staining. Small pieces of dust and dirt are left behind when using just a standard towel, cotton rag, or painter’s rag. These particles become extremely obvious under paint or clear coats, leaving an uneven texture.

Easy to use: A tack rag is small, but mighty. To use, simply open up the cloth, bunch the gauze together and gently begin wiping your surfaces! Continue reading for our in-depth explanation and dust-free tips for using a tack cloth.

Economical: Take the time to prep your surface before painting and in between coats. This economical cloth will prevent an uneven finish with your base coat, reducing the time and money of having to add additional paint coats.

How to use tack cloths while painting

A tack cloth is easy to use, and prevents costly mistakes and unnecessary coats of paint. Follow these simple steps to ensure the proper use of the tack cloth:

  1. Before purchasing a tack cloth, make sure you are using it on a proper surface. Do not use this sticky wiper on glass, metal, fabrics or unfinished hardwood floors. We recommend only using a tack cloth on surfaces such as trim, baseboards and unfinished wood furniture.
  2. Prior to opening your tack cloth, inspect your surface. If there is an abundant amount of large, loose particles, like sawdust, clean your surface with a microfiber rag first.
  3. Next, open up your tack cloth (we recommend using gloves to avoid leaving sticky residue on your hands!). Do not be alarmed with how sticky it is. Un-fold the infused cheesecloth and bunch the gauze together. Test the cloth as a dust remover on an inconspicuous space prior to wiping down your entire surface. If needed the tack cloth can be cut with sharp scissors or a utility knife. Tip: If you decide to not use gloves and your hands are sticky after use, wash hands with rubbing alcohol and a damp cloth.
  4. Lightly wipe down your surface before applying your first coat of paint or stain. Avoid applying too much pressure when wiping, the stickiness of the cloth will pick up loose particles and contaminants. If too much pressure is applied, the cloth could leave behind residue.
  5. Once the surface is free of loose particles, continue with your preparation for painting or if you are ready, begin your paint job. After applying the first coat, make sure the surface is completely dry before using the tack cloth in between coats. We recommend using the tack cloth in between all coats for the smoothest results.
  6. Once finished, if the tack cloth is full of particles, safely dispose. Otherwise, store your reusable tack cloth in a closed jar or plastic bag to keep it from drying out.

Tack Cloth alternatives

The heavy duty stickiness of a tack cloth may not always be necessary for home improvement or woodworking projects. Microfiber cloths, such as Trimaco’s Wonder Rags are an excellent, lint free option. Cleaning sprays and supplies are also great alternatives to remove dirt and dust particles. Be sure to explore Trimaco’s full line of wiping products, for all painting and staining needs!

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