How to Remove Wood Stain – Tips You Need To Know

Are you no longer happy with your old wood stain? Or is it starting to fade away? If so, then maybe it’s time that you replace it. However, before you add a new coat, you need to remove the wood stain first.

There are many ways to remove wood stain. The most common of which is sanding. You can also use strong chemicals. No matter what tool or substance you use, the most important thing is that you know the exact way to remove wood stain. You need to do it gently and carefully so that you will not damage the quality of the wood. When successful, you’ll end up with a rejuvenated piece of furniture.


Before you start with the project, you must first prepare the following things:

Wood Stain Stripper

Wood stain strippers are used to remove any wood stain. Some of them can also be used to remove mill glaze, mold, mildew and dirt that are usually stuck to the stain.

Pump-up sprayer or Paint Brush

To apply the wood stain stripper, you will need a pump-sprayer or a paint brush. The latter is more accessible. However, the pump-up sprayer may prove to be easier and more convenient to use. The decision is up to you.

Mineral spirits

Mineral spirits, like paint thinner, are petroleum products that you can use to thin oil-based paint. Unlike paint thinner, however, mineral spirits don’t smell and are more effective in small quantities.

Denatured alcohol

This is another solvent which may not be as strong as wood stain stripper and mineral spirits, but is still effective in removing hints of wood stain.

Scraper, Steel Wool, or Sandpaper

There are wood stain strippers that you can simply rinse. However, for the non-rinsable strippers, you have to use a scraper or a steel wool to clean the wooden area.

Other things that you will need

  • Rags - You will need these when scrubbing the surface after the application of the mineral spirits.
  • Sheet or Tarp - Since you don’t want to affect other areas of the workplace or house while you’re working on your task, you need a tarp or any sheet to cover them.
  • Garbage bag - Keep the area clean by putting a garbage bag within your reach.
  • Gloves - Gloves are used to keep your hands safe while you are working on the task. You don’t want to have direct contact with the wood stain stripper, mineral spirits, or denatured alcohol.


There are three most common methods you can use to remove wood stain. Your choice will have to depend on the available materials, and the amount of time you can spend working on the task.

1. Using a sandpaper

This is perhaps the cheapest alternative. However, when you use a sandpaper, you also have to spend more time doing the task compared to other options. You also have to put more effort. In this method, you only have to get a sandpaper and start sanding the wooden furniture. Doing so will remove the wood stain and reveal its natural look.

2. Using a wood stain stripper

If you don’t have the whole day to remove wood stain from your furniture, using a wood stain stripper is your best option. It does not require much effort as you only have to apply it to the wood, and it will do the rest.

3. Using a sandpaper and stripper

With this method, you can expect to get the best result. I choose this method in the tutorial since I know that you want to restore your furniture to its best original look.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Once you have all the things you need, you can start with the task. For this guide, we are going to use a stain stripper as it is the fastest method. Follow the guide below and you’ll encounter no problem in removing wood stain.

Step 1 - Prepare the furniture and your working area

When you do any project, you must remember to always start by preparing your working area. For this task, though, you also need to prepare the furniture. Cover the floor of the working area with a sheet or a tarp. If the furniture has handles, knobs, and any other removable decorations, be sure to remove them.​

Step 2 - Apply the wood stain stripper

Get your wood stain stripper and put it on the pump-up sprayer. If you don’t have one, pour a small amount of the stripper into a small container and use your paintbrush to apply it to the furniture.

It’s important that you read the manufacturer’s directions before you apply the wood stain stripper. The directions are different for each brand. Determine whether you need to use large amounts of stripper to completely remove the wood stain. Also, check how long you need to leave the stripper on the wood. If you have time, it is advisable that you test your purchased wood stain stripper on one part of the furniture first.​

Step 3 - Remove the wood stain stripper

Water-based wood stain stripper can be removed simply by rinsing the furniture with water and then drying it with a towel. However, if you are using a non-rinsable stripper, get a scraper, steel wool, or sandpaper to clean the area. Before you start scrubbing, apply mineral spirits first. This will help you do the task faster. However, if the wood stain stripper manual says you can’t use mineral spirits with it, then don’t.

Step 4 - Treat wood with denatured alcohol

To make sure that every trace of the wood stain stripper is gone, apply denatured alcohol on the surface of the furniture. Then, dry it with a towel.​

Helpful Tips

It’ll help if you try to learn as much as you can about removing wood stain, especially if it’s your first time to do it. Here are top tips when doing the task:

  • Do the project in a well-ventilated area - Wood stain strippers usually contain chemicals that may expose you to respiratory risks when inhaled. Thus, you must avoid overexposure. It’s better if you do the project in your backyard. If you can’t, open the windows and doors in your workplace.
  • Use aluminum foil - This is a trade secret. After applying wood stain stripper, you might want to cover the area with aluminum foil and let the solution sit for awhile.
  • Don’t use power sanders - It’s true that power sanders will allow you to finish the task faster. However, if you are not an expert in removing wood stain, you might only end up damaging the wood.
  • Wear safety gear - While doing the task, don’t forget to wear your gloves. If you have chemical splash goggles, wear that too. A face mask is another important safety gear.


Removing wood stain is not necessarily a heavy task. Just make sure you purchase the right wood stain removing solutions, and follow the right steps in doing the project. The thing that you want to avoid is to damage your furniture. To do the project more efficiently, consider the tips given to you.

Are you ready to try it out yourself now? Then, get your safety gear, and start. Then, share your wood stain removing experience with others and leave a comment below.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Man Of Family