If you’ve ever used a paint roller to apply latex paint to walls and not covered your furniture and other items well enough, you may have noticed that the roller shed tiny drops of paint that dried wherever they landed. Close inspection reveals tiny paint specks everywhere.
In most cases, you can remove these specks without damaging the existing finish by wiping with the solvent xylene (xylol). This solvent is the active ingredient in widely available products sold for this purpose. Common brands are Oops! and Goof Off.
Xylene won’t damage lacquers or varnishes unless the surface is kept wet for a while. But xylene will soften latex paint quickly so rubbing a little with a dampened cloth will remove the specks.
You should be aware, however, that most water-based finishes are a similar chemistry to latex paint. So xylene and xylene-based products may damage these finishes. If you are in doubt, try rubbing a little on an inconspicuous area to be sure you aren’t dulling and streaking the finish.