How To Remove Dark Stains From Wood

When it comes to the task of repairing or refinishing wood, there are many ways to do the job right. Stains are one challenge that homeowners face in maintaining the look and feel of the material. It’s not always easy to remove stains from certain kinds of wood, even if the liquid or substance has only permeated through the finish and hasn’t yet reached the wood itself.

The trick is knowing how to get down to where the stain has penetrated without causing any additional damage through your repair techniques. That’s important to keep in mind as you must be careful about avoiding any further impacts to the wood surface while you attempt to repair what’s already been done.

The Basics

The culprit here are small cracks that can be rived into the wood when a spill is allowed to pass through the wax, polish, lacquer, varnish, whatever type of finish is on your wood. It might even get all the way down into the wood.

The only way to effectively solve the problem and eradicate the mess is to strip the area that’s been stained by using any number of possible solutions including a store-bought furniture stripper to a wood bleach or even a liquid laundry bleach. Some homeowners will also opt to use oxalic acid. But whichever choice you prefer, the stripping is just one part of the equation.

Treat the Stain

For those of you who prefer to go with the bleach options, simply apply some of it to the affected area with a cloth. These are not the most powerful alternatives but they can be quite effective for use on small stains.

Larger, more concentrated stains may require something a little stronger and oxalic acid crystals may be the better option. You can just melt them in hot water and then apply the hot acidic solution to the area that’s been stained. Let it dry until it has a dusty appearance.

Rinse and Wipe Clean

After the bleach has been allowed to sit on the stain or the oxalic acid has dried, rinse the area thoroughly without flooding the wood. Wipe clean when you’re finished. You may need to repeat the process if the stain hasn’t been fully eliminated.

Just be sure you rinse properly after each attempt, particularly if you have used the oxalic acid crystals. You want to be positive that all of the dried powder has been wiped away before applying more.


If you find that you’ve permeated past the finish and gotten down to bare wood, you’ll need to sand the surface with some sandpaper. When you’re done, wipe the surface with a cloth and do so thoroughly.


Find the stain that was used on the wood originally (or something that matches as precisely as you can) and stain the area. You may need to apply a few coats in order to blend it perfectly.

If you’re still having an issue or you’re not satisfied with the work you did, give N-Hance Wood Refinishing of Spokane a call and one of our experts will help to make it look as good as new once more!

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