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Many people consider bleach as a harsh cleaning agent, so extra care should be done to avoid skin irritation and corrosion of different surfaces.
However, can you use bleach on wood? Coffee spills, excessive stains, dirt build-up, and various substances usually stick to wood furniture and wooden deck.
Bleaching can remove unsightly stains, but is it advisable to use bleach on wood?
We’ll answer this common question in this post for a clarification and better understanding.
Yes, you can use bleach on wood for removing unsightly stains and for lightening the natural color and counteracting the darkening effects of aging.
Bleaching wood is a very effective and efficient homemade deck cleaner. There are three types of wood bleach that all work by oxidizing the wood fibers and altering the color-reflecting molecules.
However, they do not work exactly the same way. Bleach can change the composition of color molecules or chromophores through its active ingredient, oxygen, which is a corrosive and reactive element.
For the bleach to work on wood, the oxygen should be able to penetrate the cells and fibers of the wood, and this can be accomplished when the wood is dry and the grain is free of oils and resins.
Types of Wood Bleach
The combination of sodium hydroxide with hydrogen peroxide makes a powerful wood bleach, liberating large amounts of free oxygen molecules and oxidizing the wood surface quickly. Chlorine bleach releases oxygen radicals and chlorite radicals formed of reactive one oxygen and one chlorine atom.
Oxalic acid comes in a crystalline form that creates an acid when mixed with water, reacting with wood to release free oxygen radicals. It’s weaker as compared to other bleaches but is generally useful for stain removal.
Safety Considerations When Using Wood Bleach
Generally, bleach is safe to use on wood with proper handling. When you’re cleaning using the peroxide type, they tend to oxidize so they’re safe to use, but you can also use vinegar just to neutralize the wood after applying bleach. When you’re planning to use a chlorine-based bleach, fumes can be harmful when inhaled so make sure to use a mask or damp cloth to cover your mouth.
Applying Wood Bleach
The things you need to prepare when applying wood bleach include bleach clean water, brush, gloves, and mask. Sand off the wood surface finishes before using any type of bleach.
The wood should be soaked with bleach to be effective, so this step is crucial to achieving this goal. Two-part bleach becomes effective after you mix the components, so it is best to mix it on the wood.
You can apply oxalic acid and chlorine bleach in a more leisure way because they’re not as reactive as other types of bleach. After you wipe or brush the bleach, allow the wood to dry completely.
The next step is neutralizing the bleach. This is accomplished using clean water. It is important to sand the wood after bleaching because the water and bleach both raise the wood grain.
Tips and Tricks When Bleaching Wood
Common household chlorine or laundry bleach effectively removes dye color or stain from wood, but it won’t affect the natural color of the wood. The “Two-part” A or B peroxide-based bleaches are sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide.
When these two are combined, a chemical reaction happens, creating a bleach blanches the stain color and alters the color of the wood.
Oxalic acid removes rust stains and water, including teak stain, and can be used to lighten the graying effect of weather-exposed wood. Oxalic acid is highly toxic because the crystal form can be inhaled and may cause lung bleeding, so the use of A/B bleach is better for safer practices and higher bleaching power.
Never pour bleach into any metal vessel because it can damage it. Rather use ceramic or glass bowls that contain bleach. Clean the wood. Wipe the wood surface down with clean water or use mineral spirits on a soft and clean rag. After which, go on every surface using a dry cloth. Wait for a day or two to dry completely before bleaching.
It is okay and safe to use bleach on wood for removing stains and dirt as well as lighten the wood color and counteract the effects of aging. Just make sure to apply the safety and usage tips and reminders for a successful end result.
We hope you enjoyed reading this post. You may leave your comment below if you have questions or you can also share your thoughts and experiences.