Removing Wood Stains

by Amy Gordon
(last updated May 18, 2015)

Stains on wood furniture are often a mini-history of your tables—rings from before you had coasters, a wine stain from some party you threw. Here's how to get your wood table looking good for the next time you have guests.

Don't forget to test anything you do on an inconspicuous area before trying to use it on your stained area.

For a water ring, try making a paste of corn oil and salt and gently rubbing it around the ring with a clean rag.

For grease and oil drips onto a wood floor, put a drop or two of ammonia and two or three drops of liquid dish detergent into a bowl full of water, and quickly scrub at the mark with a scrub pad. Rinse the area well with pure water immediately.

You can work on many stains with a mixture of trisodium phosphate (TSP), bleach, and water. Mix 1 cup of TSP and 1 cup of bleach into a bucket of water. Use a clean cloth to wash the stained area with this mixture. Be sure to wear goggles and rubber gloves while working with bleach and TSP. Be careful not to use bleach if you have already used ammonia on that area. Next, mix ˝ cup of oxalic acid crystals into a plastic bucket filled with warm water. Wash the marked wood with this mixture and leave it to dry. When the oxalic acid solution has completely dried, rinse it off with pure, warm water.

If you have a mildew stain, it can be cleaned and killed with bleach. Be careful not to mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products that may contain ammonia. You can find out whether the stain is mildew by placing a drop of bleach onto the stain, preferably in an inconspicuous location. If the stain disappears, it was mildew. You may end up needing to refinish the piece of furniture after using bleach.

If you're planning on refinishing the piece of furniture anyway, remove any stains and the present finish with chlorine bleach. It's best to do this outside on a sunny day while wearing rubber gloves and goggles. Let the furniture sit in the sun for long enough to get warm before sponging the top with the bleach. Let the bleach sit for fifteen minutes, then rinse. If the stain is still present, bleach again and let sit again. Repeat this once more if necessary. If the stain is still there, you may need to consult a furniture specialist. Assuming the stain is gone, rinse the furniture off with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Vinegar will neutralize the bleach. Make sure all of the bleach is completely rinsed off before you continue refinishing your furniture.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

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