Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How To Remove Wood Stain Without Sanding

I adore my electric sander. I use it every chance I get and buy projects where I know I can use my favorite tool. It has always been a quick, easy way to get rid of the old and give life to new pieces. So why, you ask, would I even consider doing anything other than sanding when it brings me so much joy??
Enter the demon chair. Why this one, you ask? Who knows!?!?!? All of the other three chairs sanded like a dream, but this one refused to relent. You may recognize these chairs from a previous post, Why You Should Never Buy Chairs From A Store Again. I finished three of the four chairs with my sander (one other did put up a bit of a fight) and tried my sander on the last one, of course, but it kept tearing up my sanding pads and was taking HOURS to budge the stain. I almost threw the chair away and got ready to sell them as a set of three. But never fear! The internet is here! It turns out there are a few products that could do the job, but the one that caught my eye was this one...
The little slogan on the can said everything I needed to hear! I was hooked. So here's a quick tutorial of how to use this stuff and my opinion of the projects it would be best for.

All you need for this project is the Minwax refinisher, steel wool, rubber gloves, and a nasty piece of furniture. As you can see, the stain that was on this chair was super oily and had a thick gummy consistency.
You can see how this mess could tear up my sander pretty quickly... The directions on the back of the Minwax suggest pouring some into a glass or metal container. Don't choose something you plan on using for food again! Once you put this stuff in, it's toast. Dip your steel wool in and begin rubbing the spot in circular motions. Here's a before and after of the back rest!
That's a significant difference. It got off all the gummy stuff, but left a little of the stain residue behind. Ultimately, if I didn't have to match three other chairs, I probably would have left it this way, but I had to sand off the excess (not easy being that it's oil) to get it to match the other four. Here are a videos that will explain the process in a little more detail...

So was this product the miracle cure I'd hoped for. No. I think the gunk made this job harder just like it made the sanding harder. Will I keep using it? YES. I see this as the perfect product for removing stain from detailed wood. I recently bought a table with spiral detailing, and I had been panicking about how to get it off without sanding the detail right off. This seems like the perfect solution! And I'm so elated to have my set FINALLY finished!
Have you used this product before? Have you used something similar that you prefer? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!


  1. I have so many pieces of furniture that will benefit from your advice! Thank you!

  2. This is great! I'm about to redo some cabinets so this may be just what I need

  3. Maybe you can give me some info. How do you remove oak stain from plexiglass?
    ☀️ ☀️

  4. I realize I'm late to the party, and maybe this didn't exist when you wrote this post, but you could save yourself a ton of elbow grease by just using Citristrip.
    Put that stuff on, wrap it in plastic (press it into the stuff to hold the Citristrip against the wood) and forget about it for a couple hours. Stain lifts off like thick BBQ sauce, as does any paint. A 2nd coat, if it isn't enough for you, will lift it out to the point of raw wood, without sanding and ruining detail.
    I sometimes do smooth it with a 220, but I'm not working myself to death. If there is any Citristrip left in the corners or detail, just pick it out with an eyeglass repair tiny screwdriver.
    No space suits for protection. Neutralize with water. If you get stain on your hands? Rub it on like lotion, wait a minute and wash your hands.
    No need for 20th century chemicals when we have 21st century solutions.


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