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There is nothing better than to give life back to an old piece of wooden furniture. Maybe you inherited it from your grandparents, or maybe you found it by chance at a random yard sale and just could not resist it. After all, the item is not broken, it just needs a bit of tender love and care. A lot of the time, refurbishing wooden furniture means that you will need to learn how to remove stains from wood. This brings us to our topic for the day: wood stain remover. We will talk about all the different stain stripper products out there, and explain how to strip stain from wood with each different product in mind. We will also include one or two methods for removing wood stains with things that you can find in most homes. That is not all! We will also include instructions for the best way to remove stain from wood, according to our opinion, as well as how to clean wood after stripping wood stain from its surface. So, if you are here to learn all you need to know about removing stains from wood, then continue reading this specially prepared wood stain removal tutorial.
Table of Contents
- 1 Reasons for Removing Stain From Wood
- 2 Removing Stain From Wood Surfaces
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
Reasons for Removing Stain From Wood
If you are simply on an educational mission, reading up everything there is to know about woodwork, then learning how to remove stain from wood starts with knowing the reasons why one should want to be removing stain from wood. Let us take you through some of the possible reasons you could have for learning how to strip stains from wood.
We are all sentimental to some extent. Even lovers of minimalism will have a special item of furniture that they would want to keep looking its best. There is no point in throwing out that rocking chair that you were nursed in or that coffee table that has been in your family for generations. We are huge supporters of those who love to refurbish their wooden furniture, which often comes with removing wood stains with a wood stripper. This is also helpful to those who are living on a tighter budget and cannot go out frivolously and buy new items of furniture when they feel that theirs are looking a bit shabby. Wood stain removal can help you save a lot of money, even if it takes longer than just buying a new one, and you will appreciate the effort you put in once you are done.
Wood stain often needs a sealer applied as a top coat so that the surface of the wooden item is better protected. If there was no sealer, which is typically the case, then the wood is more exposed to the elements. Rain and excess humidity in the air is not the best conditions for wood furniture because the wood absorbs the liquid and starts looking a bit tarnished. This is when a wood stain remover is necessary so that you can sand down the wood’s surface and then reapply the stain, or paint the surface of the wood.
Another reason could be that you want to restyle your living room, so the coffee table requires a bit of sprucing up. Maybe you want to match the color theme of the room because color coordination is so important – we get you. You will need to find what you think is the best way to remove stain from wood, as well as how to clean wood after stripping wood stain – and we have a great method that fits the bill!
Removing Stain From Wood Surfaces
If you are feeling a bit lost, the wood stain in question is a layer that is painted over the surface of the wood that helps to bring out the natural beauty of the wood, as well as add a layer of protection. This keeps your wood in better cognition for longer. But after some time, when it is looking a bit worn, you will want to use a wood stain remover to strip the stain so that you can re-stain it. We have put together an explanation of the process, and how to prepare yourself for the wood stain stripping.
With every job that must be done, there is an element of…. Preparation! Now, we know that you might find this boring, but it is important to prepare your workstation before you start removing stains from wood. The first step in the process of preparing your workstation is to ensure you have enough windows in the room, and that they are open! There is nothing worse than the headache you will get after inhaling too much of the fumes that the wood stain strippers omit.
Even if you have a room with wide-open windows, or maybe you are working in an open work shed that has a massive sliding door, you should also take extra precautions in this department, and adorn yourself in some protective gear like a respiratory mask.
The next bit of the workstation preparation is to throw down some plastic tarp to protect the floor on which you are working. The wood stain stripper is a strong substance unless you are using a home remedy, so you do not want it to start stripping the stain on the wooden floor.
Preparing Tools and Equipment
This part might seem a bit eager, and maybe even a little unnecessary to some, but we cannot begin to express the helpfulness of having all your tools and equipment you need for the wood stain removal out and within arm’s reach. There is nothing worse than suddenly realizing you spilled some of the wood stain removers on the wooden floor and you need a cloth to clean it up, but you need to go back into the house to fetch it – what a bore!
When you collect the tools and equipment, make sure you place them out of your clumsy elbow’s reach, otherwise, you are going to be cleaning up wood stain remover, which is time-consuming. Place them nearby so that you do not have to cross the room to fetch the next item, and it might be handy to place them on the same side as your dominant hand – yes, pun intended.
Get Out the Chosen Wood Stripper
Now that you are sure that you are working in a well-organized and ventilated workspace, it is time to get your stain stripper ready for action. The most significant thing to remember when using a paint stripper inside is that you do not want to open the whole wood stain stripper container and let the fumes consume you. Therefore, it is critical to find a container that will not react negatively with the paint stripper and pour some paint stripper into it before beginning the process. It is advisable to use stainless steel or similar metal containers for your cleaning project if you are not sure what materials will not be affected by the stripper.
The size of the container will be determined by the size of the job you are doing. If the item is large, like some outside decking or patio furniture, then you will need a sizable amount of the stripper, and therefore a larger container. But if it is small, like the coffee table in your living room, then a smaller container is all you will need.
When you have all of the above sorted out, you will only have to worry about spilling any stripper on yourself or anything around you, although considering that everything has been covered up anyway, even if you spill some, it will not be the end of the world.
Applying the Stripper
The boring part is now done and out of the way, and you can begin to apply the stain remover. The first thing we have to mention is that the worst way to remove the stain is being too frugal with the remover. The best way to remove stain from wood is by using a lot of the chosen wood stain remover. Be as generous as you can, and then add some more. Once the surface of the wood is lathered up with the stain remover, you must leave it to do its thing for a few minutes. Wood stain tends to soak into the pores of the wood, so it does not sit simply on the surface. This is why the stain remover needs to sit on the surface and break down the stain by raising it back up through the surface so that it can be scraped off.
Make sure that you are wearing protective gloves whilst you are working with these strong substances, and that your sleeves are rolled up. The stain removers are made of very strong chemicals, and they can eat away at the fabric of your clothes, leaving behind unsightly holes.
Let It Soak In
As we have mentioned, the wood stain will need to be left on the surface to soak into the porous surface of the wooden furniture. This will ensure it reaches the depths of the wood where the stain has sunk to. This is because cutting corners, in this case, may lead to more work because you will have to repeat the process. Ensure that you have allocated the right amount of time for the stain to soak in.
There is no point in rushing through this, the longer you leave it to do its thing, the better the results will be. The aim of the game is to add enough of the stain and leave it for as long as possible for the stain to simply fall off the surface when you scrape it off. So once you have applied the stain, take the time to make a cup of coffee and wait it out.
Remove the Stripper From the Surface
Okay, the coffee break is over! Time to get out your paint scraper and put it to use! The stain remover has had ample time to soak into the wood’s surface, and you will now be able to easily scrape it off. You will know when it is ready for the scraping part when the stripper is entirely soaked into the surface, and if there is still some of the liquid that has not soaked in, then you might need to wait a little longer.
Scour and Wipe Your Surfaces
You are here to learn how to strip stains from wood, and with that, you must understand that this job is a little labor-intensive, so your arm might get a little bit tired from the scraping, but that is to be expected and perfectly normal. Who needs weights when you can scrape! You will notice at this point that some parts of the stain are still clinging to the surface of the wood, do not blame the stripper, it is doing its best job! The stain remover is not lacking in strength, it is simply because the wood’s surface is less porous in some areas and more porous in others.
The areas that are more porous will be where the stripper struggles to reach the stain, and that is why it leaves behind areas where the stain is still clinging. Get out some steel wool, and you can dip it directly into the stripper. Use this to give the wood a good scrubbing, and sure enough, the stain will lift off completely.
Now you need to use that old rag that we mentioned earlier, and wipe the surface down to remove the bits of the stain that you have just scraped off. This is how to clean wood after stripping. If your plan was to add another fresh coat of wood stain, then you must wait at least 24 hours for the wood to dry after the cleaning process.
Sand Down Your Surfaces
The last step in the process is the most rewarding of the whole job. All that is needed is a bit of sanding, to remove those final bits of the stain and reveal the fresh wood under that first layer. Make sure that the wood is dry before you try to sand it down, because the results will be better. The sanding will not be as successful if the wood is still wet.
Make sure that you sand down every inch of the wood’s surface, and that you get into the corners nicely. This will ensure you have a flush surface so that when you reapply the stain or add a coat of paint, the surface remains smooth.
As you now know how to remove stain from wood, how to clean wood after stripping, and how to go about removing stains, you are now ready for you to go out and test your newly acquired stain cleaning skills. Always keep in mind that you should work in an environment that has sufficient airflow, always wear the most suitable protective equipment. Your safety should be your top priority.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Remove Wood Stain?
The process of removing stain from wood can prove to take a lot of time, but it can be achieved – with sufficient effort and the right know-how. There are a number of items you will need in order to remove the wood stain. These include a wood stain stripper, a plastic scraper, an old rag or two, a paintbrush, a plastic tarp, some sandpaper, and an area that has sufficient airflow. Remember that the most effective way to remove the wood stain is to work slowly and be as thorough as you can be.
Is Vinegar a Viable Wood Stain Remover?
Vinegar has been found by some people to work as a wood stain remover, and because of its acidic properties, it is a viable option to use. However, it will work at a much slower rate, and it might not be as successful as using a product that is designed specifically for this purpose. One thing that vinegar has on its side is the fact that it is a much less toxic, so if you are a fan of living environmentally friendly, then this is a great option for your wood stripping needs.
What Can Be Used as a Wood Stain Remover?
Rubbing alcohol and acetone are both great wood stain removal methods. They are both acidic in nature, so they eat away at the stain on the wood’s surface, although we do recommend using the products that are manufactured by certified companies.