Wood Bleaching

Bleaching, is not just for white clothes. Yes, you can bleach wood but there are some important steps to follow.

Wood Bleaching options:

  1. Household bleach – This can remove stains in wood however it will not effect the woods natural color. Also in my experience it does not do as well of a job removing water marks other defects from age and wear.
  2. 2 Part Wood Bleach.
  3. Oxalic Acid – This is commonly used to remove water stains and weathered wood however because it is considered highly toxic I typically have opted out of using this one. Please do more research before making this your choice and get a good respirator.

I am going to test out the first two today on these two oak tables. My client wants a grey-ish stain on these tables so I want to try and cut out as much of the orange as I can.  Table on the left I am going to use a standard house hold bleach 100% (not diluted with water) the second I am going to use A-B wood bleach.






As you can see there are water rings in the wood as well. Bleaching should take care of those, however in my experience household bleach will not take those completely out.  I have already stripped and cleaned these tables. I have not done any sanding other than clean up with a #4 steel wool.



This one is the standard house hold bleach it just looks wet. img_3496.jpgThis one is the 2 part wood bleach. You brush on part A don’t wait and brush on part B. Once you see the foam starting you know that it’s working really good.

Now I am going to wait a few hours and check out the progress……………………….. Hang tight………………………….


Here we are after bleaching. You can clearly see the household bleach did not do as good of a job as the two part bleach. On the other hand the two part bleach can turn out a little blochy however the clean up and sanding usually takes care of that.



The above picture is household bleach close up on the water rings.

This one is two part bleach close up on the water rings.


I think this is a good point to inform you on the importance of neutralizing after bleaching. When you bleach your whites while doing laundry you always need to rise cycle with vinegar. Same holds true with wood. If you don’t vinegar the bleach will eat way at your clothes and make holes. This holds true with wood, it won’t however create holes in wood but it might have a chemical reaction to your top coat.

Wood Types 

Also when it comes to bleaching wood different types of wood will react differently. After a tornado hit a local town we got contracted to restore 6 cherry dinning room chairs that had water damage on them. We had to strip off the old finish and bleach the chairs because of the dark marks. The cherry wood had a bad reaction to the bleach and turned the chairs green! Straight up green I am not kidding. We where so fortunate to have such understanding clients. We had to ultimately paint the chairs and cover up the cherry wood.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog! Let me know about your bleaching experiences! Be sure to take caution when bleaching and work in a ventilated area too.

Happy Junking Friends,

Tara and Becca



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