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» Stain Removal – Wood

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Stain Removal – Wood
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Nearly everyone has a “home remedy” for various wood stains. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have all the tools to sand out and refinish every stain that daily life might bring. Thus, necessity has lead to very handy invention that’s also cost effective.

Let’s consider water stains first, probably the most common wood stain. The following items have all proven effective in lifting the stain from the wood: tobacco ash, peanut butter, ironing the spot through a cloth, rubbing with baking soda toothpaste or mayonnaise, salt and olive oil, and Vaseline. In each of these cases except for the iron, you rub the material into the spot and let it sit for several hours then wipe off completely. If the stain isn’t gone, repeat.

If you’ve had guests over and discover a wine or beer stain, sometimes dish detergent does the trick. If not, try rubbing alcohol. This approach seems to work with sweets too – anything sugar based. At all costs, try to avoid using anything abrasive or you’ll scratch the wood’s surface. Use warm water, and let the cloth sit on the spot for a few minutes. Rub and repeat to slowly dissolve the sugars.

On tables and floors that are suffering from treatment buildups, washing with vinegar and water is one answer. You need to leave a light layer of this mix on the surface briefly then wipe it of. Repeat several times until that dull area looks clean.

For scratches, honestly I’ve found the oil-based commercial scratch covers work wonders as do scratch and dent pens. The oils come in light and dark, while the pens come in a wider variety of hues. Keep several in your house for a quick fix up, matching them to your woodscape.

Now, I should warn you that on older woods, or wood that was never properly finished, all these methods may prove futile. If that’s the case, you’ll probably have to refinish the stained surface. The simplest approach is using bleach on the stained surface, letting the bleach lift the old finish off, which also houses the stain. Make sure to do this carefully so you’re only focused on the damaged area and let that spot soak until the bleach dries. Rinse off carefully and then refinish the affected area.

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