How To Remove Stain From Wood

How to Remove Stain From Wood


Accident spills sure happen but there’s no need to panic when a spilled steaming cup of coffee, fruit juice, or sloshed water leaves a mark on your favorite wood furniture.

But, how to remove a stain from wood?

It is now easy to bring a wood furniture back to its original state or condition.

First and foremost, you need to determine the depth of the damage. By doing so, you’ll be able to tell the color of the watermark or stain.

What are the Qualities of Wood Marks or Stains?

Marks or stains are usually made by steam or liquid. They are usually light-colored or white. It only means that the wood has not penetrated deeply through the polished or waxed surface. A dark stain indicates that the spilled liquid or stain has penetrated through the wood finish and possibly through the wood.

What are the Things You’ll Need for This Tutorial

The things you need to prepare to remove stains from wood include the following:

  • varnish remover or bleach paint
  • newspapers
  • mask
  • gloves
  • masking tape
  • quality sandpaper (100 grit to 220 grit)
  • soft brush
  • steel wool
  • paint scraper
  • soft wire brush
  • old rags
  • mineral spirits

The other means you can use to remove white rings on wooden tables and other wooden furniture pieces include using a toothpaste, drying using a hair dryer, using oil, and baking soda.

General Steps in Removing Stain From Wood

There are different ways to remove a wood stain, ranging from light sanding to using strong chemicals. It is important to remember that removing wood stain should be done gently and carefully to avoid changing the wood shape or causing noticeable areas where the application is too rigorous. The removal of wood stain rejuvenates a piece of furniture or floor, as well as change the color completely or preserve it.

Preparation is very important in removing the stain from wood. Spread out your old newspapers, taping the edges together in order to form a solid base where you can lay the wooden furniture.

Spread Out Your Old Newspapers

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Mask off small workable areas if you are removing wood stains or marks from an entire floor section. This is done little at a time. The main idea is applying procedures or chemicals to the wood stain parts that will be removed while the other areas are protected. It is a must to wear safety equipment every time.

Whether you are lightly sanding or you’re applying a heavy-duty chemical remover, using a respirator face mask is very important. Also, eye protection or goggles and gloves are important considerations when doing such work.

Mask Off Small Workable Areas

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When removing wood stains and marks, you can start by lightly sanding the stained area. If you’re dealing with a light stain, you need to sand gently and it usually does and finishes the job. Always sand carefully to avoid changing the shape of the wood or digging too deeply.

Lightly Sanding The Stained Area

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If ever the wood stain is too deep, you may need to use a household bleach or commercially prepared bleach to help remove the stain. You need to apply it cautiously to preserve the wood integrity and for safety reasons. Applying too much bleach raises the grain and may distort the piece.

Use A Household Bleach

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If the mark or stain is already deeply ingrained into the wood, you may need to apply a stronger paint remover or commercial stain. These are caustic products, so be sure to strictly follow the instructions of the manufacturer very carefully. It is necessary to apply newspapers with a heavier base or even use plastic for protecting other areas.

Apply A Stronger Paint Remover Or Commercial Stain

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How to Remove White Rings

When removing white rings, you can go over the mark or stain using an iron. The iron is emptied of all water.

Go Over The Mark Or Stain Using An Iron

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Next, lay a t-shirt, towel, or other types of cloth over the stain which acts as a barrier between the iron and the table. The iron is turned to a low setting and it is rubbed slowly over the fabric for just a short period of time. After which, lift the cloth to check if the stain or white ring has disappeared. Replace the cloth and repeat the process if it has not disappeared.

A Barrier Between The Iron And The Table

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You need to ensure that your iron is actually set to no steam, and act as fast as possible. You have to dry the table surface before you start. Wiping away any water or moisture on the surface every time the iron is removed. White rings are usually caused by liquid or steam and the color means that they have penetrated only the finish or wax. White rings are easier to clean as compared to darker stains.

Iron Is Actually Set To No Steam

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You can rub white rings with a lemon oil and steel wool. In fact, a lemon oil is considered a lubricant, helping prevent the wood from scratches. You can purchase a fine steel wool pad and soak it in a lemon oil. Rub the wool gently over the white rings. After which, rub a cloth that is dubbed with alcohol over the stain.

Rub White Rings With A Lemon Oil And Steel Wool

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How to Remove White Rings Using Other Methods

The other means you can use to remove white rings on wooden tables and other wooden furniture pieces include using a toothpaste, drying using a hair dryer, using oil, and baking soda.

Other Means You Can Use To Remove White Rings On Wooden Tables

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When using a toothpaste, make sure to use a non-gel and white toothpaste. Place some toothpaste on a cloth or on your finger, rubbing the toothpaste with the wood grain until it heats. You can damp a cloth with water, wiping away the toothpaste and drying the water. Just a minimal amount of toothpaste is enough for the dab work. Do not scrub the wood surface for too long, and don’t scrub outside of the stained area because it might wear the finish as well as the top layer of the wood.

Use A Non Gel And White Toothpaste

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You can dry a white ring using a hair dryer by turning it on high and holding it close to the wood stain. It should begin disappearing because the dryer dries the wood moisture. Just make sure to move the hairdryer back and forth over the surface area which can take 10 to 30 minutes. Place a little olive oil on the surface of the wood and moisturize afterward.

Dry A White Ring Using A Hair Dryer

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The wood stain can be rubbed using an oil-based product like oil, including petroleum jelly, mayonnaise, and butter. These products can help seep into the surface of the wood, thus breaking up the moisture. Place the petroleum jelly or mayonnaise on the stain and leave it for at least hour up or better do it overnight. Just ensure to put more petroleum jelly or mayonnaise on the stain or mark if it dries out.

Wood Stain Can Be Rubbed Using An Oil Based Product

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You can add slight abrasive stain removing power by mixing cigarette ashes with petroleum jelly or mayonnaise. When using a baking soda, you can mix it with either water or toothpaste to remove the white ring or stain. If you’re using water, mix two parts of baking soda with one part water. A clean rag is used to gently scrub the mark or stain. If you’re planning to use a baking soda with toothpaste, just simply mix equal parts of baking soda and toothpaste together, and then the stain is rubbed using a clean rag. Be sure to rinse it using a damp cloth.

Add Slight Abrasive Stain Removing Power

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How to Remove Dye Wood Surface Stains

You can use a baking soda on wood surface dye stains. A baking soda is a perfect cleaning agent. You can get rid of the dye by mixing baking soda with lemon juice or distilled vinegar.

Use A Baking Soda On Wood Surface Dye Stains

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Next, make a paste with the same consistency of a toothpaste and spread it over the dye stain. You can use a sponge to gently rub it into the wood. Once you are finished, you can wipe the paste from the area. When you are finished, you can rinse with a plain water and rag.

Make A Paste With The Same Consistency Of A Toothpaste

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Instead of a sponge, you can also use your fingers. Adding some more water or vinegar can be done if the stain is too stubborn. Repeat this process until the stain disappeared. To remove the dye, you can also try using a magic eraser.

Use Your Fingers

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How to Remove Greasy Stains

Using a dish detergent can be done to get rid of non-greasy stains. This is applicable for nail polish and food stains. You can do this by mixing the soap or detergent in warm water, soaking a rag in the solution, and rubbing over the spot.

Using A Dish Detergent

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You can also use ammonia to remove greasy stains by rubbing it to the wood surface. Use a little bit of ammonia that is mixed with cold water, and then cover it with a rag, gently rubbing over the stain.

Use Ammonia To Remove Greasy Stains

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How to Clean Pet Stains

You can clean pet stains using a bacteria-killing solution. It is important to remove the bacteria when your pets mess on your wood flooring because the bacteria cause odor and stains.

Clean Pet Stains Using A Bacteria Killing Solution

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To remove the stains and bacteria, you need to use a 5% phenol solution. You can buy it in a home improvement store or hardware. Clean the wood area with the use of a damp or soft cloth.

Phenol Solution

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If the floor has a wax finish, you can use mineral spirits and fine steel wool to clean the surface area. You may clean the stains in a circular motion. Also, don’t forget to wax and buff afterward.

Use Mineral Spirits And Fine Steel Wool

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How to Clean Permanent Marker Stains

Handling permanent marker stains can be challenging.

You can use an isopropyl alcohol to get rid the permanent marker stains. On a clean rag, just place a few drops of isopropyl alcohol and gently rub the stain.

Use An Isopropyl Alcohol To Get Rid The Permanent Marker Stains

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Wiping off the area with a damp rag is done to rinse afterward. You need to test on the underside of the table first to ensure that it does not damage the table. Also, you can try using a toothpaste to also remove the permanent marker stain.

Toothpaste To Also Remove The Permanent Marker Stain

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How to Remove Black Stains

Black stains are actually water stains with deeper penetration into the wood and they’re much harder to get removed.

You can get black stains by using bleach. Use an Oxalic Acid found in wood bleach and household cleaners which can be bought at home improvement stores or grocery stores.

Oxalic Acid

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Firstly, you have to strip the surface area with the stain to treat it. This is done by simply mixing the water and Oxalic Acid mixture, thus making a thick paste. Never do this in a metal bowl because Oxalic Acid may cause discoloration in a metal material.

Apply The Mixture To The Stain With A Disposable Paintbrush Or Rag

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Apply the mixture to the stain with a disposable paintbrush or rag. Let the mixture sit until it dries, adding multiple applications and rinsing the area between the applications. If ever the bleach does not remove it, you can remove the stain, like wine or food using a household bleach or hydrogen peroxide. After which, refinish the spot, but not the whole piece unless you need to.

How To Use A Heavy Duty Paint Remover

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How to Use a Heavy-duty Paint Remover

Apply A Paint Remover With The Use Of A Soft Brush

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You need to apply a paint remover with the use of a soft brush and generously apply over the entire piece. Just make sure to brush the paint remover into the nooks and cracks as thoroughly as possible. Let the paint remover penetrate the wood piece based on the instructions of the manufacturer. When you’re ready, the paint remover is removed off the wood using a paint scraper gently.

Use A Steel Wool And Soft Wire Brush

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Use a steel wool and soft wire brush so you can get inside the cracks and hard to reach areas. Wiping the wood with a clean cloth that is saturated in mineral spirits is a good idea to remove the leftover paint remover. To handle stubborn spots, use a 100-grit sandpaper, gently rubbing the stains out.

220 Grit Sandpaper

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The wood is cleaned again using mineral spirits. After which, you have to sand the entire area using a 220-grit sandpaper. Doing so will remove the mineral spirit’s last residue and paint remover. Also, the tiny raised fibers are removed, thus making the piece clean and smooth.

How to Clean a Wooden Swing Set

As time goes by, a wooden swing set becomes dirty because of natural elements (rain, snow, and sun heat) and regular use. Regularly cleaning your swing set is made to ensure that it will last for many years. It is important to watch the bugs because if they are left unchecked, the outdoor structures become a home for various kinds of bugs, including termites, that can severely damage any wooden structure up to the point that it needs to be replaced.

Hornets, wasps, and other bugs can create hives in dark spaces, underneath platforms, or corners which can be dangerous to children who are using and playing on it. To help combat these bugs, you need to periodically clean your wooden swing set.

First, you need to spray the swing set with water using a garden hose. A power washer might be necessary to eliminate accumulated leaves, dirt, and stagnant and dirty water trapped in between wood pieces. Dried bird droppings are hard to eliminate using a basic garden house, so a pressure washer will help in making a great deal. Just ensure not to damage the wooden swing set if you use a pressure washer.

Power Washer

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People usually attack a wooden swing set using a wire brush to eliminate the grime so you need to use a soft brush. Doing so will dig up the wood which causes the splinters or creates areas where the rain and sun can rot it.

Dig Up The Wood Which Causes The Splinters

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You can use a brush with soft bristles and water and gentle soap, brushing in a circular motion for removing mildew, mold, or caked-on dirt. You can also purchase solvents or special cleaners to clean your dirty wooden swing set. However, the most effective and efficient solution is a simple soap and warm water solution. Using a soft brush or strong cloth is highly recommended instead of a sponge.

Use A Brush With Soft Bristles And Water And Gentle Soap

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Soaking the area that you’re cleaning with soap and water is a good idea. Once it is set, you can gently work it using a circular motion with a brush. When you’re cleaning a wooden swing set, there is a tendency to start at an eye level, working around the structure until it is cleaned.

Soaking The Area That Youre Cleaning With Soap And Water

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It is important to work in a systematic way to help clean the entire swing without missing any areas. You can start on top and work your way downward then from side to side. In this way, the dirt won’t flow down on areas that are already washed.

Work In A Systematic Way

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It is also important to dry the swing set in a good day to help the wooden swing set stay fresh and clean. For the meantime, don’t allow your children to use the swing or play on it. It prevents slipping from the leftover water because children can easily kick up dirt and mud that sticks and creates a mess to wet wood.


The stains or marks left by liquid or steam, such as a dye, coffee, juice, milk, and food, can make your wood furniture ugly. That is why it is important to know the basic steps to eliminate stains and marks by referring to this tutorial. You may want to like and share it with your family and friends, and also leave a comment below to share your insights, ideas, and experiences.