How To Lighten Stained Wood? What Are Some Best Methods And Techniques To Lighten The Stained Wood?

how to lighten stained wood

Lighten stained wood

If you have an older piece of furniture that you’d like to lighten, start by cleaning it with mild soap and water. Let it dry fully before continuing. Then choose the method that will work best for you and give it a try. Be sure to test any of these methods in an inconspicuous area first to make sure they don’t damage the wood.

Gel stain eraser

To use a product called Gel Stain Eraser. This comes in a tube and you just put it on like paint. It erases the stain and leaves the wood looking natural.

Stripping agent                  

A second option is to use a stripping agent. This will remove the stain entirely, but it might also remove some of the finish or color from the wood.

Lighten wood without sanding

Steel wool is a great option for lightening stained wood without damaging the surface. Just dampen the steel wool in warm water and run it along the grain of the wood. Be careful not to scratch the surface while you’re doing this. You should start to see a difference in the color of the wood after a few passes. Keep going until you reach the desired level of lightness. Steel wool can also be used on unfinished wood to give it a light sheen. Again, just dampen the steel wool and rub it along the grain of the wood. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this small step makes.

Steel wool

Steel wool can also be used to give finished or unfinished wood a lighter look using just water. You shouldn’t use it if the piece has been stained because then you are taking away some of the color of the piece with your steel wool instead of lightening it. You should only use water, dampened 0000-grade steel wools for these types of projects because anything rougher will remove more of the finish/wood rather than lightening it.

Two ways to paint on wood

There are two ways to use a paint and varnish stripper:

  • By brush
  • By rag


If using a stripper by brush, apply it liberally in the direction of the wood grain. If using a stripper by rag, soak the rag in the stripper and then rub it in the direction of the wood grain. Leave the stripper on for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.

After the recommended amount of time has passed, use a scraper or wire brush to remove the stain. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles when doing this, as stripper can cause skin irritation and eye damage. Rinse the wood with water and allow it to dry completely before applying a new coat of paint or varnish.

Burnishing the wood

Burnishing the wood will darken it, so this should be done before applying any other coats of paint or varnish. To burnish the wood, use steel wool to vigorously rub off all of chalky residue from removing the stain with a wire brush.

How to bleach wood?

There are the few different ways that you can bleach your wood.

  • One way is to use a store-bought bleaching agent
  • Another way is to make your own bleaching agent
  • The third way is to use the sun to bleach your wood
  • The best way to bleach wood is to use the sun. The sun will bleach your wood evenly and it won’t damage the wood like some of the other methods can. If you don’t have access to direct sunlight, you can use a UV light lamp.

If you decide to use a store-bought bleaching agent, make sure that you read the directions carefully and follow them exactly. Some of these agents can be dangerous if they are not used correctly.

Read More: What Is The Cost To Paint A House Interior? Some Fun Facts About The Decoration

Bleaching ingredients

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup of chlorine bleach
  • 1/4 cup of ammonia


  1. Combine the water, chlorine bleach, and ammonia in a bucket or container.
  2. Stir the ingredients until they are combined.
  3. Pour the mixture over the wood that you want to bleach.
  4. Let the mixture soak into the wood for about 15 minutes.
  5. Rinse the wood with clean water.
  6. Let the wood air dry.
  7. Repeat if necessary.

The most important thing to remember when bleaching wood is to always use clean water to rinse the wood. This will help ensure that the bleach doesn’t damage your wood. As you can see, making a homemade bleaching agent is a much easier way to bleach your wood than using a store-bought bleaching agent. Using the sun or a UV light lamp is by far the best option for safely lightening your wood.

What is the best way to lighten wood?

It really depends on how you want your final look to be more opaque and cover a lot of space by using a high paint to water ratio, or less opaque and just add some color with water only. The easiest and cheapest way would be oil based primer/paint mixed with paint thinner or mineral spirits. This will give you an inexpensive option for painted over weathered wood that looks good from afar (20+ft) but up close may not look the best because it tends to leave brush marks due to the paint thinner drying quickly when brushed out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it good to use bleach?

Yes, it is good idea to use bleach. It is very helpful and gives you best results.

Can we remove the old stain from wood?

Yes, but here extra effort will be required to do this job.  Because old stain are tough to remove while fresh stains can easily be removed.