4 Sure-Fire Ways To Lighten Stained Wood

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Jacky C

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If you are not really a fan of dark-themed wood, whether it is for your floor or furniture, then you must be wondering if you can make it lighter or not. Simply said, dark stained wood reflects a lot of dust and starts seeming dirty in no time. This is why many people prefer to go with light-themed woods to easily manage it and keep it clean and sound.

Well, fortunately, it actually is possible to lighten stained wood in several ways. You might have to use some extra tools to get on with the whole process, but it will be worth your hassle. You can check the ways below and see if it is something you can easily and efficiently do.

The Most Effective Ways To Lighten Stained Wood!

Following are the most effective ways that you can use to lighten stained wood and bring out the color you actually prefer.

1. Use Sanding!

If you are a woodworker or have known the industry, then you would surely know what sanding is. Sanding is the method of removing the upper layer from a piece of wood through sandpaper. And yes, that is exactly what you will have to do here to lighten stained wood.

But do note that if it is a wood floor that we are talking about here, then you might have to spend hours or even days to get the sanding done. A lot of patience, smooth hands, and a few skills are required too to sand something properly without deepening the cuts. If you are new to sanding, I would recommend you sand a spare piece of wood first and see how things are done.

Once you have practiced, you can start with the floor, furniture, or any project you want. It is a better idea to go with sandpaper of 60 grit. Just make sure not to apply too much pressure, or you will end up damaging the whole wood.

What sanding will do here is it will remove the whole upper layer from the wood. It will even remove the finishing layer, which is usually varnish applied by the woodworkers. Once the varnishing layer is gone, you will start seeing the difference in color. If you think the color is still dark, you can keep on with the sanding process until another layer of color comes up.

2. Use home bleach and vinegar solution!

Another relatively easier method to lighten stained wood is to use bleach and a mop to get things done. Bleach can also be applied on sanded wood in case you are not satisfied with the end results. Or you can simply use bleach directly on the wood without scraping the upper layer off. Make sure that you are applying bleach with a suitable brush and the bleach is reaching the surface correctly.

You can either apply the bleach a single time or multiple times, depending on the color you want. Once you have achieved the light color as per your preferences, you will have to use the solution of vinegar and water. All you will have to do is equally mix vinegar and water and use that solution to spray on the bleached surface. Vinegar will neutralize the bleach, and it will be safe for you to use the floor or furniture without any problems. But you might have to wait a bit to let everything dry, so do not forget this critical forget.

3. Use dedicated wood bleach!

Almost everyone has standard bleach in their houses, but not everyone has dedicated wood bleach. This is also why you will have to empty your pockets a little for this method. Dedicated wood bleach is specifically designed to lighten wood colors and make it suitable as per the preferences of the people. 

Again, you can try using multiple layers of wood bleach until you get your desired color shade. But the excessive use of wood bleach can ruin the color too, making it very light, which might not please your eyes much. So start with a lesser amount first, see how everything goes, then take the next step for perfect results.

4. Add a layer of colored wash

If you are still not really satisfied with the results using the above two methods, then the only option left for you is to add a layer of colored wash and bring any color you want on the front. You can go with a white-colored wash if you really want a light theme. Or you can go with a light brown wash if you want everything to be standard yet light. Again, make sure what color wash you are using and what type of results it would produce. If you have a spare piece of wood, you can apply and test the wash there and determine the results yourself.

Protective topcoat – Should you apply it?

A protective topcoat can be quite necessary for wood as it protects the wood from damaging or losing its original colors or shape. But again, a protective topcoat can only come from varnishing, and varnishing adds little darkness into the wood. But what you can do here is use a small amount of clear varnish and do not over-apply it on the wood. It might compromise on the protection a bit, but you will still have light color at the end.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I lighten wood stains without sanding?

If you do not want to lighten wood stain through sanding, then you can opt for the home bleach or dedicated bleach options. Bleach will reduce the darker tone from the wood and might provide satisfactory results.

Can you lighten the stain after applying?

Yes, it is possible to lighten the stain after application. You can check all the methods mentioned above to see how it is done.

Can I use household bleach to lighten wood?

It is safe to use household bleach to lighten the wood. Dedicated wood bleach might work better, but household bleach can also do the job without compromising much.

The Verdict

These are pretty much all the ways that you can use to lighten stained wood. Some might be troublesome; some might be very easy. So go with the one that you think you can do easily and conveniently. Just keep all the crucial factors in mind, and you will be good to go.

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