Can Wood Stain Be Removed?
Can Wood Stain Be Removed?
Can Wood Stain Be Removed?

What is a wood stain?

Wood stain is a type of varnish that is applied to wood during the finishing process to customize its appearance. The stain can be used to change the wood’s color, enhance its grain, or provide protection from damage. 

Wood stain comes in an array of natural hues so you can change the color of your furniture according to your preference. It consists of pigments suspended in a solvent that can be either oil, water, or gel-based.

When it comes to results, some types of wood perform brilliantly well with wood stain. They soak it up well and give off a smooth and seamless finish. Others, however, might require a little more work, i.e., multiple rounds of staining and sanding until the perfect finish is achieved.

Staining is a tried and tested favorite, but there is no denying the fact that trends change and with them, so do we. We find ourselves craving something new and different because change is good; it is refreshing.

Changing the stain on your woodware gives it a brand new outlook and helps maintain it for longer as well. To change the stain, however, you must first remove it. 

The question remains: can you remove a wood stain?

The answer is yes.

There is more than one way to remove the stain. The method of removal you employ depends on your personal preference and the type of finish you are working with.

Here is how you can remove a wood stain.

  • Use solvents or wood stripper

Stained wood comes in different finishes such as lacquer, varnish, shellac, etc. The easiest way to remove a thin shellac or lacquer finish is by wiping it off with the help of a solvent. For a lacquer finish, lacquer thinner works best. For shellac, alcohol is your best bet. 

The best part about thin finishes is that you can easily get rid of it with the help of sanding. 

For stronger cured finishes like alkyd varnish or polyurethane, you will require something much stronger than your average solvent. A chemical wood stripper is the one for the job. It also helps in removing an oil-based stain from wood.

A chemical wood stripper works reasonably well. All you have to do is apply it on the wood with the help of a paintbrush. Allow the finish to bubble up and then scrape it off with the help of a paint scraper. Neutralize the wood stain remover with water, and you are left with a new canvas to stain.

  • Sand it out

Sanding the wood helps smooth it out while removing the color left behind by the old stain. The process is simple as you have to sand it out the stain using increasingly finer sandpaper grits. 

Bear in mind that you may have to remove as much as 1/16 of an inch of wood to ensure that all the color is out. 

If there are any residual spots or marks, the new stain should cover it up well. 

We suggest using a belt or orbital sander instead of doing it by hand as they ensure a smoother and more even result, and they are easier to use. However, once you are done sanding, we suggest going over the wood with the same grit sandpaper by hand to remove any machine marks.

  • Bleach the wood

You can use bleach to remove the dye stain from a piece of wood by applying a saturated chlorine bleach solution immediately after mixing it. You cannot leave the bleach standing as it quickly loses its effectiveness, so you must work fast.

Be sure to take all necessary precautions before proceeding with the procedure. We suggest rubber gloves and a respirator. 

Apply the bleach with the help of a brush and or wipe it on the wood. Leave the bleach on overnight for the best results. 

  • Use chlorinated wood bleach

While sanding works well for pigment stains, it does not perform as well with dye stains. Dye stains sink much deeper into the wood grain as compared to pigment stains and thus cannot be entirely removed by sanding. Therefore, you can use chlorinated bleach to lighten the dye.

Working with bleach is tricky. You must first ensure that you keep yourself and your workspace safe by following all the necessary precautions. 

You can make chlorinated wood bleach by using calcium hypochlorite. Calcium hypochlorite is used for chlorinating swimming pools. Make a saturated solution of the bleach and mix it with the stain solvent to get the best results. 

Precautionary measures when removing a wood stain

No matter what material you use, the most important step is to organize the things that you will use to remove the stain. This will help you avoid any mishaps. Here are the measures that you can take:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area. Stain strippers and bleach contain harsh chemicals that are unsafe if used in closed-off spaces. Work outdoors, if possible. If you can’t work in open-air, work in a garage with the door and windows open. 
  • Lay down a sheet under the zone you’ll be working in. Stain strippers or bleach can damage the floor that they get on. So it’s recommended to lay down a tarp or sheet – or an old newspaper can also do the trick.
  • Wear protective gear while you’re working with the removing material. Wear protective goggles and gloves that are chemical-resistant. It is better to put on a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and wear closed-toe shoes. This will avoid any chemical from getting on your skin.

Parting Thoughts

Removing wood stain is not a challenging task, but it does require attention and precision. You must be careful and gentle, so you do not end up changing the shape of your wood or leave behind evident rough spots.

This simple procedure can help rejuvenate your wood, preserve it, and change its color. If you have meant to bring about a good change in your life, perhaps it is time for a new wood stain. Use our guide to effectively remove your old wood stain and treat yourself to a refreshing new change.  

Additional Resources

Author Bio:

About Ashley Rosa: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well.  She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @ashrosa2.

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