What is best way to bleach wood?

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Forum topic by peteholzman posted 05-14-2011 05:32 PM 7644 views 2 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 1994 days

05-14-2011 05:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bleaching wood

Everyone was so helpful regarding getting a smooth paint job, I know I’ll get good feedback on this one. Thanks, in advance for your help.
On a couple of those art deco projects I might like to get a bleached look for even more contrast. I recall seeing some bleached maple that looked very stark. How do I do that? And is there a better wood to start with than maple?

-- peteholzman

5 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4407 posts in 3381 days

#1 posted 05-14-2011 05:41 PM

Oxalic acid will do the job. Go to the paint store. Wear goggles and vinyl or nitrile gloves.


View TJU's profile


72 posts in 2077 days

#2 posted 05-14-2011 08:04 PM

I have only tried it once. From what I understand Bleach and oxalic acid will work to remove stains and dyes including tannin stains but only lightens wood color slightly (oxalic acid is better). If you want to lighten the wood color try wood bleach (A/B bleach). I think it is a mixture of sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. If you try normal laundry bleach is a little on the weak side so you may need to apply several coats. I have only used oxalic acid it to remove dark tannin stains.


-- Although the voices aren't real they have some pretty good ideas.

View wisno's profile


88 posts in 2432 days

#3 posted 05-19-2011 05:04 AM

The strongest bleaching chemical is hydrogen peroxide. Usually this chemical is used together with sodium hydroxide as the neutralize chemical.
You need the direct sunlight to get the best result.

Wood bleach in the wood finishing


Good luck


View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 05-19-2011 05:46 AM

Wiso’s link is a good one but be very careful using two part bleach it is very dangerous and should never be mixed with other bleaches.
As bleaches go oxalic acid is good on rust or black stain removal.
Household bleach will lighten to a lesser degree and can be used to remove dyes if to much has been applied to a surface.
And two part bleach part hydrogen peroxide and part sodium hydroxide is the most powerful and most effective in lightening woods.
Always always always neutralize with baking soda any bleach and clean with water(and let dry) before trying another type of bleach.
If you don’t you can cause toxic gases to form.

-- Custom furniture

View stnich's profile


116 posts in 2345 days

#5 posted 05-20-2011 12:03 AM

The best bleaching solution I’ve ever used is a two part product. I’ve used Klean Strip’s two part bleach. As Jim said you need to neutralize after applying. Amazing stuff. “BE CAREFUL”

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