How to Get Black Stain out of Wood

Wood furniture and floors can add warmth, elegance, and a sense of timeless beauty to any space. But, proper wood care and maintenance are crucial to preserving its appearance and extending its lifespan.

So, if you're a homeowner with wooden flooring or furniture, learning how to get black stain out of wood is an essential skill. By taking proactive steps to care for your wood, you can keep it looking its best and avoid costly repairs or replacements in the future.

What this article covers:

Understanding Black Stains

Common Causes of Black Stains

The most common causes of black stains are:

  • Water damage: When water gets into the pores of the wood, it can make the wood change color, warp, and eventually break. Water stains can be caused by leaks, spills, flooding, or a lot of moisture in the air.
  • Mold & mildew: These fungi like to live in damp places and can grow quickly on wet wood surfaces. Mold and mildew not only leave ugly dark stains, but if you don't treat them, they can be dangerous to your health and weaken the wood.
how to get black stains out of wood
  • Iron or metal reactions: This can happen when you leave a wet iron-containing object like a metal planter or a piece of hardware on a wood surface. The iron can react with the natural tannins in the wood and make dark, black stains.

What Types of Wood are Most Susceptible to Black Stains?

Because they are porous and have a lot of natural tannins, some types of wood are more likely to get black stains.

Oak, walnut, and cherry are more likely to get black stains because they have a lot of these tannins. These types of wood are very common in hardwood floors.

Soft woods like pine, fir, and cedar can also be more damaged by water and mold growth because they are porous.

Essential Tools and Products

Before you start with the stain removal process, you'll first need to gather your supplies. You will need the following:

  • A wood cleaner
  • A wood stain remover
  • A protective sealant
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Clean cloth
  • Protective gloves
  • Sandpaper
  • Steel wool (for tougher stains)

how to get dark stain out of wood

Preparing the Wood Surface

Assess the Extent of the Stain

Before getting started on the cleaning process, you should always assess the severity of the stain first.

Look at how big, deep, and bad the stains are to figure out the best way to clean them and what products to use.

This step will help you decide if a simple cleaning will be enough or if you need to use more intensive methods.

Clean the Wood Surface

Using a gentle wood cleaner or homemade solution and a soft-bristled brush, do a basic cleaning of the surface. This will get rid of any dirt, dust, or grime that could get in the way of the stain removal.

After cleaning the surface, dry it with a clean cloth.

Identify the Type of Finish on the Wood

Different types of finishes might require different stain-removal methods or products. Because of this, you should always check what kind of finish you have on your wood.

Varnish, lacquer, shellac, and oil are the most common types of finishes.

how to get dark stains out of wood

To find out what kind of finish the wood has, put a small amount of denatured alcohol on a part of it that isn't visible. If the finish peels off, it is probably made of shellac.

If it doesn't come off, try lacquer thinner. If it comes off this time, then it's most likely lacquer.

If it doesn't come off with these two methods, then it might be varnish or oil.

Remove any Existing Finish or Sealant

In some cases, you may need to take off the existing finish or sealant to get to the black stains and treat them properly. This step is very important if the stains have gone through the finish.

Use the right solvent (based on the type of finish you have) and a clean cloth to remove the finish.

If necessary, use fine-grit sandpaper to carefully remove any remaining finish or sealant. Don't rush this step, as you may damage the wood's surface otherwise.

While sanding or using solvents, always work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves to protect your hands.

how to remove black stains from wood furniture

Removing Black Stains: Step-by-Step Guide

Apply a Wood Cleaner

Choose a wood cleaner or solution that is appropriate for your needs. Some things to take into consideration are:

  • The type of wood you have
  • The type of finish on your wood
  • The cause of the black stains

Each of these factors will determine what type of wood cleaner works best for you. For example, if you’re removing a water stain, a specific type of cleaner or solution might be better than if you’re trying to get an oil stain out of wood.

When using the wood cleaner, always follow the instructions on the bottle.

Usually, means putting the cleaner on a clean cloth or soft-bristled brush and gently scrubbing the stain.

After you're done cleaning, wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth to get rid of any remaining dirt, and then let it dry completely.

Use a Wood Stain Remover

Choose a stain remover that is made to get rid of the kind of black stain on your wood surface. TruckMountForums has different stain removers for different kinds of stains.

To use the stain remover, it's always best to follow the instructions on the bottle. This could mean putting it on the stain directly or mixing it with water.

Use a clean cloth or a soft-bristled brush to work the remover into the stain and into the wood.

remove black stains from wood

After you have removed the stain, rinse the area with clean water and pat it dry.

Using a proper stain remover is important, especially if you’re dealing with a tough stain like getting ink out of wood. But, if you don't have a stain remover handy, the following remedies can also work to remove dark stains:

  • Baking soda and white vinegar paste
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Wood bleach

Sand the Wood Surface

Depending on how deep and bad the stain is, choose the appropriate grit of sandpaper. Start with a finer grit, like 150. If necessary, you can work your way up to a coarser grit, like 100. But it's always best to start with finer sandpaper to avoid damage to the wood.

Sand the stained area carefully, working with the wood grain. Use a gentle touch and even pressure to avoid making dips or uneven spots.

As you sand, keep an eye on what you're doing to make sure the stain is coming off evenly. Stop sanding when the stain is no longer visible.

Apply a Protective Sealant

Choose a protective sealant that works with your type of wood and the finish you want (e.g. matte, satin, or glossy).

how to remove wood black stains

Follow the directions on the sealant and apply it with a clean cloth, brush, or foam applicator. Make sure that you spread the sealant evenly and smoothly. Let it dry completely according to the manufacturer's instructions before putting anything on the wood's surface.

This step is important because a protective sealant will keep your wood surfaces from getting stained or damaged. Doing so will mean that your wood floors and furniture stay looking nice and last longer.

Preventing Future Black Stains

Practice Proper Maintenance & Care

If you don't want the wood stains to return, it's very important to take care of and maintain the wood. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to removing stains from wood furniture or flooring.

This means using the right products to clean and protect the wood. It's also vital to avoid harsh chemicals and tools that can damage the surface.

Inspect & Clean Regularly

By inspecting your wood surfaces often, you can find and fix any issues before they get worse or become permanent.

Clean your wood furniture and floors regularly with gentle wood cleaners to get rid of dirt, grime, and spills

Check your wood surfaces for any signs of water damage, mold, or mildew, and fix any problems right away.

By taking good care of your wood, you can avoid the hassle of the intensive cleaning of things like getting grease out of wood.

how to remove black stains from wood


In conclusion, removing black stains from wood surfaces can be a challenging but rewarding process.

Regular maintenance and care, including proper cleaning and inspection, will help prevent future stains. This, in turn, will ensure the longevity of your wood surfaces.

By following our step-by-step guide, you can confidently tackle black stains on wood and enjoy the renewed appearance of your furniture and floors.

So start your stain-removal journey today. With our help and supply of everything from carpet cleaning chemicals to tools for cleaning wood, those stains will be gone in no time.

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