How to Make Dark Stained Wood Lighter

A dark stain on wood can affect the whole appearance of the furniture or whichever structure.

How to remove dark finish from wood can be simple if you do it the right way.

If you try to apply a light coloured coat on the stain, you will not get any results.

You have to completely alter the stain for you to make the wood light again. Luckily there are methods you can use that have the perfect results.

DISCLOSURE: is reader supported so if you buy any products featured on this site I may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.

1. Use Wood Bleach

This is how to make dark stained wood lighter using bleach (or how to stain a redwood deck). You can use a two-part bleaching solution for a more vigorous treatment.

You first need to wash the wood using mineral spirits and let it dry for even two days.

Then take the first part of the bleach and apply it using a paintbrush and let it dry for ten minutes.

After it is dry, apply the second part and leave it for a few hours. Then wash the wood with vinegar and water solution.

You can also mix the two parts of the bleach and stir before you apply with the brush.

Oxalic acid works best for naturally light wood; you can use it to get the best finish.

The two-part bleach will remove the dark stain or finish and also works with natural wood.

After cleaning the bleach with vinegar and warm water, let it relax overnight before judging the colour.

2. Use Sand Paper

Sanding the wood is another effective method of getting rid of dark stains on wood.

Use 100-grit sandpaper and rub the dark stain on the wood off by hand.

Be careful when you use sandpaper to avoid removing any contours or decorative details on the wood.

Sanding can also be used after bleaching. The bleach removes grain materials from the wood, and the sandpaper helps level the surface out.

Apply firm pressure on the paper when you move it and continue until you have your desired results.

Ensure the surface is smooth; when you concentrate on one spot, you can create unevenness. Clean the place to ensure the stain is completely gone.

3. Use Steel Wool

Rub the steel wool on the dark finish wood, and ensure you follow the wood grains' direction.

The steel wool should be wet before you start with the back and forth strokes. You have to pay keen attention when using steel wool.

That is because it's easy to remove too much material when trying to get rid of the stain.

Use the extra-fine steel wool because coarse wool may damage the wood. 

Alternate between mineral spirits and steel wool until you have the light coloured wood you want.

Your working space should be well ventilated because mineral spirits have harmful vapours. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth after you are done.

How to stain and make dark wood lighter

Dark stains on the wood are a nuisance, whether it's on furniture or the floor.

The above are the best ways to get rid of the stains and return the wood to its original glory.

You have to be careful when using either of the methods not to overdo it.

Sometimes you will need to repeat the process more than once to achieve the colour you want.