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How to Remove Stain from Wood?

Wood stains are a great way to change the appearance of your wooden furniture or flooring. They provide a quick and easy way to color your wood – and can transform bland looking wood into something more spectacular!

However, if the time ever comes that you want to change this look again – well, you might notice just how well the wood has absorbed that stain!

How to Remove Stain from Wood

Luckily, it’s not impossible to remove wood stain – but there’s no getting around the face that you’ll have to put some time, effort, and elbow grease in!

If you’re wondering just how to remove stain from your wooden furniture, or from your hardwood floor, then this article is for you! You’ll learn what you need to do to remove wood stain as quickly as possible!

Safety First!

The most important thing to consider should always be your own safety! Removing wood stain can mean working in a dusty environment with hazardous chemicals. Therefore, it’s vitally important that you take steps to make sure you stay safe!

Always make sure that the environment in which you’re working is as well ventilated as possible. Get windows and doors open to encourage good air circulation, and make sure to step outside of the working area often too – don’t fall into the trap of spending too long on the job and becoming ill as a result of low quality air! 

Take regular breaks, and make sure you get into fresh air as much as possible. You should wear a good quality face mask to prevent dust and noxious fumes from entering your respiratory system too!

Always ensure that you’re wearing eye protection too. Both the dust and chemicals from the job could cause irritation and/or damage to your eyes! Protection for your hands is a good idea too – use some latex gloves to ensure that any chemical spills don’t touch the bare skin of your hands.

Don’t use gloves made out of any absorbent fabric – they’ll soak up any dangerous chemicals, making your gloves themselves a safety hazard!

Things You’ll Need

You’ll need the following for this job:

  • Paintbrush – large enough for the job
  • Wood stain remover
  • Plastic scraper
  • Medium and fine grit sandpaper
  • Electric sander (for larger jobs)
  • Eye protection
  • N95 mask
  • Rubber/nitrile gloves


Firstly, no matter what method you’re using to remove the wood stain from your furniture or floor, you need to prepare the area in which you’ll be working!

Wherever possible, move the piece of work outdoors. As the sanding and stripping process can cause a lot of dust to be made, and can involve the use of some harsh chemicals, it can’t be overstated how important it is to ensure proper ventilation!

If you can’t actually move the furniture piece outside – or you’re working on a wooden floor, for example – then open as many windows and doors as you possibly can.

If you’re working on a piece of furniture, you’ll likely want to cover the floor underneath and surrounding it with a cloth. This will prevent any damage to the floor or surrounding area during the process!

This might go without saying, but ensure that you read the instructions on your stain remover very carefully! Pay attention to how much to use, and exactly how long to use it for. And, of course, heed any safety instructions!


The wood stain remover you’ll be using is quite likely a harsh and nasty chemical – so you’ll want to keep it well away from your skin! Wear gloves when using it.

You’ll want to decant some of it into a smaller container, if the container is too large to work with comfortably. If so, ensure that you’re using an appropriate container for solvents. Be careful when pouring!

When you’ve got the stripper into a good container for working with, dip your paintbrush into it to get a good amount onto the brush. Paying careful attention to the instructions, apply a good thick layer of the stripper to the surface of the wood.

Brush evenly and carefully, ensuring that you’ve covered every nook and cranny with a good, thick layer of stripper.

Most likely, you’ll have to allow time for the stripper to soak into the wood. This should usually take between 10 minutes and half an hour – make sure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully to get the right amount of time.

Scraping And Sanding

After the stripper has been on the wood for the right amount of time, it’s time to remove it! You can simply scrape off the stripper from the wood with a plastic scraper. Avoid metal scrapers if possible, as it’s very easy to mark the wood with them. Also, don’t use too much pressure – plastic can still leave dents and marks!

Firmly but gently run the scraper along the surface of the wood in a straight line. This will scrape the stripper off. Slowly and evenly repeat this all over the workpiece until the stripper has been removed.

After this, take some steel wool, dip it gently into the stripper, and (following the grain direction) use it to rough up and remove whatever has been left behind by the application of the stripper. This will help you get into smaller, more difficult to reach areas.

Once this is done, it’s time to wipe down the entire surface with some wet rags, in order to finally remove the last traces of stripper from the wood. Once you’ve cleaned it all off, leave the workpiece to dry for at least 24 hours.

After this, it’s simply a case of putting in some elbow grease and sanding down the surface! Sanding is often a difficult, tiring task, so for larger pieces – or just to save effort – it might be worth considering using a powered sander.

Of course, in detailed areas where this isn’t possible, you’ll be forced to sand the stain away manually. Start with a medium grit paper for this, and then switch to a fine grit for a smooth surface finish, and to remove any marks or scratches left by the whole process!


Removing wood stain can be a difficult job, but hopefully this guide has shown you what you need to do to accomplish the task successfully!

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About Lisa Bohrer

Lisa is a native Texan who says she wears many hats. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, animal lover, fisherwoman, gardener, and college student. Lisa is a sophomore at Liberty University where she is taking classes to earn her Associates Degree in Creative Writing. She and her husband of 35 years fill their days with life on the farm raising goats and chickens, and then most evenings she can be found at the computer writing, or researching a topic that has piqued her interest.

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