Easy Ways to Remove Wood Stain

Use a paintbrush to stain a wooden deck.
What You'll Need
Masking tape
Respirator mask
Eye protection
Quality sandpaper (ranging from 100- to 220-grit)
Paint or varnish remover
Soft brush
Paint scraper
Steel wool
Soft wire brush
Mineral spirits
Old rags

There are several easy ways to remove wood stain, from light sanding to strong chemicals. The thing to remember about removing wood stain is that it should be done carefully and gently to avoid changing the shape of the wood or causing noticeable spots where the removing application was too rigorous. Removing wood stain can rejuvenate a floor or piece of furniture, preserve it, or change the color completely.

Step 1 - Prepare

Spread out old newspapers and tape the edges together to form a solid base on which to lay the piece of furniture. If removing wood stain from an entire floor section, mask off smaller workable areas so you can approach it a little at a time. The idea is to apply chemicals or procedures to the parts of the wood stain that will be removed while protecting other areas.

Step 2 - Wear Safety Equipment

Whether lightly sanding or applying a heavy duty chemical remover, the use of a respirator face mask is important. Eye protection and gloves are also thoughtful considerations when doing this kind of work.

Step 3 - Remove the Wood Stain

Depending on the task ahead, you can begin by lightly sanding the wood where the stain is to be removed. If it is a light stain, sanding gently will usually do the job. Sand carefully so as not to change the shape of the wood or dig into it too deeply.

If the wood stain is deeper, it may be necessary to use a commercial or household bleach to help remove it. This should be applied cautiously for safety reasons and to preserve the integrity of the wood. Too much bleach will raise the grain and distort the piece.

If the stain is deeply ingrained into the wood, it will be necessary to apply a stronger commercial stain or paint remover. These products are very caustic, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. It will also be necessary to apply a heavier base of newspapers, or even plastic, to protect other areas.

Step 4 - Use Heavy Duty Paint Remover

Using a soft brush, apply paint remover generously over the entire piece, being sure to brush it into the cracks and nooks as thoroughly as possible. Allow the paint remover to penetrate the piece according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When ready, scrape the paint remover off the wood by gently using a paint scraper. Use your steel wool and a soft wire brush to get inside cracks and difficult areas.

Wipe the wood with a cloth saturated in mineral spirits to remove the remaining paint remover. For more stubborn spots, carefully use the 100-grit sandpaper and gently try to rub them out. Clean the wood again with the mineral spirits and then sand the entire area with the 220-grit sandpaper. This will remove the last residue of the mineral spirits and paint remover. It will also remove any tiny raised fibers, making the piece appear smooth and clean.