How to Lighten Stained Wood Like A Pro in 2018

Having the best shade of stained wood is always great for most people. We get to look at how to lighten stained wood whenever necessary.



It is possible that at some point, you might want to apply an exterior wood stain to give it the best look that you have always wanted. When you apply the first coat, some people would feel that it is too light and they would end up adding another coat. What you do not know is that when the coat dries, it will become much lighter. In the event that you have added more coats, then you might have to rethink about the whole process. This is where you can now lighten the stained wood.

The process itself is not hard as you will get to see in the how to lighten stained wood process below.

What you’ll need

  • Tack cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Neutralizing agent
  • Bleaching agent
  • Sponges
  • Container
  • Sandpaper
  • Protective glasses
  • Protective mask
  • Gloves
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Vinegar
  • Rinse water


1. Prepare the wood

The first step is always crucial to ensure that the object is ready for the process of lightening up. For a person going to lighten wood on a door, then you might want to remove it from the hinges first. Working on the door while on its hinges would be difficult to do the lightening evenly.

Proceed to lay a drop cloth on the surface first. The work of the drop cloth is to catch the excess liquid that would be used to lighten the wood. Proceed to lay the wood on top of the drop cloth before getting started.

There is also the need for you to protect yourself before you can start working on the wood. You can go ahead to wear protective glasses, gloves and masking to protect your skin and lungs from debris.

Home improvement - handyman sanding wooden floor

Sand the wood where it is supposed to be lightened. The sanding should be done in the direction of the wood grain. This would help easily remove the debris and oil from the wood. Once the sanding is done, brush away the dust by using a clean paintbrush. Take extra care when sanding the grooves and ornate areas. Use a tack cloth to rub the entire object when you are finished with sanding.

2. Prepare the bleaching solution

When it comes to handling the bleaching agents, the best thing you can do is choose something that is effective and would not end up messing up the surface of your wood. The only important thing is to lighten the wood stain and nothing else. In this case, preparing the bleaching solution is something you have to be careful about.

Variety house cleaning product on wood

The best way of preparing the bleaching solution is to follow keenly the given instructions by the manufacturer. You will always now end up with the best bleaching agent if you do so. The directions might always vary from one bleaching agent to another, so it would be better if you read the instructions first on each wood before using it.

Now that you have prepared the bleaching solution, it is time now to apply it. By using the a sponge proceed to apply the solution to the surface of the wood. Use a sponge for the flat areas and apply more where there is darker wood stain. As for the areas with grooves, use a paintbrush to get the bleaching agent deep into the grooves easily.

sponge for cleaning dusty wood

3. Neutralize the bleach

This is another important step that you cannot miss to consider when looking to lighten stained wood. What most people do not know is that the bleach would continue working even for hours or days after it has been applied to a surface. This means that you have to neutralize it when are satisfied with the lightening it has done to the wood.

Just as it was for preparing the bleaching agent, prepare the neutralizing agent as per the instructions given by the manufacturer. By using new applicators proceed to apply the neutralizer on the surface of the wood. Make sure that you are thorough so as to remove all the bleach from the item.

A quick tip is to use hydrogen peroxide and vinegar solution as an additional neutralizing agent to remove the bleach from the wood.

4. Finishing

The neutralizer also has to be removed from the wood. By using a sponge dipped in clean water, you can now wipe off the neutralizing agent from the wood. Wiping off the wood should be done in moderation so as not to leave too much water on the wood surface. Let the wood dry in air for at least 24 hours before reinstalling it back in its position.


The overall process on how to lighten stained wood should not take you long as you can see from the guide above. You can now have a better chance at ending up with the best shade of color when some bleaching is done to the wood. Always make sure that you get to do it right with the bleaching agent as too much of it is not always great.​

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: