All right, this is probably the stupidest advice thread that I’ve ever started, but (to me), this is a matter of pressing importance:
How do I get gum resins off of my mortar and pestle?
. . .see, I wanted to make incense for Imbolc. So I ground dragon’s blood, frankincense, and rosemary together to make a non-combustible incense. Because the dragon’s blood and frankincense are gum resins, they’re sticking something fierce to the inside of the mortar and the end of the pestle. It’s really, really irritating, and I’ve no idea how to get it washed out (I tried water on the pestle, and things did NOT improve).
I’d call my parents, but I don’t think I can come up with a (plausible) explanation of how I managed to do this that isn’t going to result in an unpleasant conversation, and I don’t know anyone who’s made their own incense. So I am asking–nay, begging!–for your guys’s help.
When I worked in a drug store, there was a fellow who would buy 2-3 cans of Zippo lighter fluid a month. He told me he worked in an antique shop and he used the fluid to remove the sticky price tag glue.
Sweet Orange essential oil will remove most of the sticky stuff I’ve ever encountered. (Orange Glo, anyone? "Contains pure orange oil!!) All kinds of adhesives, wax residues, pine pitch…even beeswax residue from the inside of my best stockpot. It will absolutely eat through and dissolve anything plastic, including laminate countertops, so be careful with it. When I’m working with EOs or other things, I like to work on some kind of non-reactive surface…stainless steel is a good one.
Acetone is very effective against resin build-up. Nail polish with it as an ingredient is good, but if you can get pure acetone it is even better. It evaporates very quickly so you have to use a few cotton-squares full.
Another suggestion to getting sticky stuff off ( like price tags off of glass and whatnot) is spraying cooking spray (PAM) onto the affected spot and let it sit for a bit. The oil loosens the adhesive.
Also, they sell this stuff called “Goo Gone” that removes sticky stuff such as price tags. It might work on your mortar, but after using it on a food utensil (if you ever use it for food), I’d thoroughly wash it with detergent a few times afterward.
Well, I’m considering using the orange stuff, simply because it’s the best-smelling :). Gasoline and lighter fluid are right out–the bowl’s unglazed ceramic, and I don’t want the scent to stick in. Also, Deej mentioned pine pitch, which I’d guess’d be the closest to what I’m dealing with right now.
I’m considering using one thing on the mortar and one thing on the pestle, just to see which works better…right now, Pam’s my choice for the other substance. I won’t be able to do it until Friday, though, because I’m right broke.
I’m also considering using the Everclear I have left from making tinctures instead of rubbing alcohol…but I don’t know if ít’ll work, and I’m hesitant to waste it, as I won’t be able to get any more until I’m 21.
If I were in yer shoes, Angel, I’d pour boiling water in the mortar, rest the pestle in it too. and see how much resin dissolved. Or, if ya have a big enough pot, boil some water in it, and put both mortar and pestle in for a boil. If that didn’t do the trick, the alcohol and lighter fluid solvents should. At any rate, boiling water should soften resins enough to be more easily further dissolved by other means.
Don’t waste your tincture fluids, sounds like you have better uses for that.
Heh I was reading this thread and thinking “Hmm, what the hell is the mortar made of?” My usual m/p is brass, though I’ve got two ceramic and one marble mortars with no pestles (why oh why can’t I buy just a pestle?), and I haven’t had many problems with stickage.
For unglazed ceramic … hmm. Boiling water might be worth a try. You might also ask an antiques store or restorer, since they tend to be pretty knowledgeable in the realm of “How do I clean this without destroying it?”
I have a hell of a time grinding frankincense m’self, but my Dragon’s blood is dried out enough that it’s fairly crumbly. Dang brass pestle makes my hand green, though.
– Dragonblink, who had completely forgotten about Imbolc. Bad Pagan! (“Somebody’s going to bed without their orgy tonight!”)