Remove Spots from Unfinished Wood

Many wood surfaces develop spots or discoloration prior to being finished. This requires you to remove spots from unfinished wood, because you can damage the wood if they are not removed prior to treating. If these spots are not removed before applying a stain or finish, they will likely affect the finished product.

Remove Spots from Unfinished Wood

Steps for Cleaning Oil & Grease Spots from Wood

Oil and grease stains that have penetrated the surface of unfinished wood are cleaned using tetrachloride, a dry cleaning spot remover.

  1. Apply the tetrachloride to the stained area of the wood.
  2. Following the grain of the wood, scrub with a stiff brush until the stain is removed.
  3. Allow to dry.
  4. Sand and finish as normal.

Instructions for Chlorine Bleach to Remove Spots from Wood

Other stains can be removed through bleaching. While chlorine bleach is often used to bleach wood, it has the potential to turn wood a yellow-green color. Use oxalic acid to bleach stains and remove any gray color from wood surfaces. You can purchase oxalic acid from a pharmacy. 

  1. Pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of oxalic acid crystals into a glass jar. Add one pint of hot water. The more crystals you add, the stronger the bleach will be.
  2. Apply the bleaching solution using a sponge to the surface of the wood. Apply to the entire surface, not just the stained area. If you only treat the stained area, you risk the potential of having an uneven lightening of the wood surface. 
  3. Allow the solution to penetrate the wood for up to 20 minutes. If the stain remains, apply additional solution to the stained area. Continue applying the solution until the stain is removed. 
  4. Neutralize the bleaching by washing the wood with a solution of on tablespoon clear ammonia and 1 quart of water. Use a clean, dry towel to dry the wood.
  5. Rinse the wood with cool water and wipe dry with a towel. 
  6. Bleach raises wood grain, making the surface of the wood rough. Allow the wood to dry for 24 hours and then sand smooth. 

Hopefully the above cleaning techniques are what you needed to remove spots from unfinished wood quickly and easily. If you don't find that the techniques worked, then leave a comment or submit a stain at the bottom of the page and we'll be sure to help you get the stain out of your wood object.