How to Remove Excess Stain from Wood and How to Prevent it

Wood stain will instantly make bare furniture into a piece of art. However, it happens so often that you end up with excess wood or sticky stain that is hard to remove.

How to Fix Wood Stain Mistakes

The most classic way to fix excessive wood stains is using mineral spirits. It might sound classic, but it works. It is easy and quick. Especially if you are doing a small project, then going with this solution is highly recommended.

You need just to damp cloth with mineral spirits and wipe the surface with excessive wood stain. Mineral spirits help to dissolve the excessive stain without erasing the seeping colorant that stains the furniture surface.

However, if you feel you don’t want to continue staining your furniture, you can simply sand it down. This solution is better if you have an excessive sticky stain that is not easy to wipe off.

You can just start the staining over again after sanding down. First, you must use low grit sandpaper to remove the excess stain. After that, gradually use higher grit sandpaper until you reach  240.

Mineral Spirits to Remove Excess Stain

As mentioned above, using mineral spirits is the classic way of removing excess stains from wood, but is it safe?

It is quite safe and effective in removing any stain from any wood surface. You can use a soft cloth and repeat the wiping process if necessary.

However, mineral spirits can affect the wood color depending on the wood type. It can ruin the finish of your stained wood, so you should check the use first on a small section of the wood area before wiping.

How to Wipe Off Excess Stain

If you are worried about getting in trouble dealing with excessive or sticky wood stains, you need to learn how to wipe off excess stains before starting the project.

Usually, you have to add some coats of stain to the wood surface to complete this project. Make sure that after applying the first coat, you let it sit on the furniture surface for just 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, quickly wipe away the excess stain before it dries using a clean rag. Once the excessive stain is wiped off, you can continue leaving the wood dry completely before adding another coat.

Remove any dirt or dust with a tack cloth before applying the second layer.

Always go in the same direction and the same amount of stain with the first coat to prevent any excessive or sticky wood stain.

By quickly wiping off your stained wood surface, you can prevent any excess stain that is hard to work with.

What Happens If You Don’t Wipe Off Wood Stain

Staining wood is challenging because there are rules you must follow. When staining you need to let the stain sit for some minutes to let wood absorb it.

However, if you leave it too long, the stain will dry, and you will have to deal with the excess stain that will make your furniture appearance even worse. In this situation, you might think your bare furniture is much better.

So the rule is to know when you must wipe off the stain. You can find it in the manufacturer’s instructions for your wood stain. If you forget to wipe it off, you will have a blotchy, sticky wood surface.

Many maintain the rule that the longer the stain stays, the darker the result. However, it doesn’t mean that you leave it too long that the stain cant is wiped off anymore.

So take your time to let it stay and wipe it perfectly to expose the new color of your wood surface.

How to Tell If Stain is Dry

Different types and brands of wood stain might have a different time to let the stain dry on a wood surface. So if you hesitate about how long you should leave every layer of your stain, here is a rule of thumb.

If you are using oil-based stain, touch it, whether or not it is tacky, and smell it. If it doesn’t emit a smell and is not tacky, it means it is dry.

If you are using a water-based stain, check if there is a powder with light sanding formed and touch it to feel if it is cool. A dry water-based stain is usually cool with a powder form.

How to Wipe Off Stain

Some people prefer brushing to wiping, but wiping is always better because it is faster and more effective. How to wipe off stains is very easy because what you need to do is just wipe the whole wood area.

Ensure the cloth is wet enough to reach all the wood surfaces. Don’t forget the abovementioned rule of applying, drying, and wiping.

What Kind of Rag to Use for Staining

Since wiping is better than brushing, what rug is the best for staining? You can purchase special rugs, but if you want to save more, you can just use a tack cloth, cheesecloth, terry cloth, staining pad, and even shirts.

You can just use which one you have at home.

Best Way to Apply Stain to Wood

Using one of the rags mentioned above, you can just wipe off all the wood surfaces and let each layer of stain dry before adding another layer.

How much layer is needed depends on how dark you want the result. The more layer of stain, the darker the furniture.

Always protect your hand with rubber gloves or chemical resistance because you don’t want your skin to get irritated by the stain’s chemical solvent.

Scroll to Top