DIY Network

How to Remove Stains From Wood

If wood furniture isn't sealed properly, it can easily become stained. Fortunately, you can remove many types of stains with chlorine bleach.

More in Decorating

  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Bleach the Furniture

Start by bleaching the top of the furniture. This will remove the finish as well as most stains. White water marks, caused by moisture trapped in the finish, will come out easily; black marks are caused by trapped moisture that has mildewed and may be more difficult to remove. Tape plastic around the areas where you don’t want the bleach to go.

For faster results, bleach your furniture on warm days, under direct sunlight. If you can’t take the furniture outdoors, use a heat lamp to warm the wood for 10 minutes before you begin and continue to keep it on throughout the bleaching procedure. Use full-strength bleach, and be sure to wear safety glasses and latex gloves.

Step 2: Check the Stain

Allow the bleach to soak for 15 minutes, then check to see whether the stain has been removed. If the stain is still there, apply more bleach. If the stain persists through three coats of bleach, consult a professional about other stain removal techniques.

Step 3: Rinse the Wood

When the stain is gone, allow the bleach to dry. Then mix a rinsing solution from equal parts of water and white vinegar, and rinse the bleach off the wood. If the bleach isn’t rinsed and neutralized, the new finish won’t stick properly.

Allow the furniture to dry, then sand and refinish it.