It’s a common home improvement to stain wood. However, there can be an issue with knowing where to start in regard to cleaning up the stain.
Below are some methods that can be used to remove wood stain from concrete.
Whether the tin was spilt, whilst you were staining it splashed or whether you have a child that has knocked over the can while you looked away for a second, you might panic about how you’re going to remove it. Don’t worry!
We have the solutions. Removing wood stains from concrete driveways, concrete pavers, or floors can seem daunting when you first see it, but there are many approaches to solving this common household problem.
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Wood stains and concrete
There is one real problem with wood stain and concrete, and that’s the nature of the concrete. Concrete surfaces are usually porous. The issue with wood stains is that most of them are oil-based.
So, imagine if you spilt oil over something. If you aren’t quick enough to tackle the issue, then it’ll be difficult to remove the oil without using harsh chemicals.
Concrete is absorbent, so liquids will get right into their pores. Oil stains are one of the worse because the concrete will allow for discolouration which will be hard to get out.
However, time is of the essence. So, when it comes to fresh concrete stains, do not rub it in! You can try to blot it out, but it just won’t be enough.
If the stain is older and set into the concrete, you will not be able to clean it without using harsh chemicals.
Help without harsh chemicals
If you’ve just had a spill, then the best thing to do is to get something to dump onto the stain. Products such as cat litter, chalk or salt will help.
It’s best not to use things like flour, cornmeal or wood shavings unless the shred is super fine. Dump your dry absorbent material onto the stain until it is completely covered.
Let it sit for about a day, at least. Anything less than 10-12 hours will leave you disappointed when you remove the product and notice the stain is the same.
You might even want to consider sealing in the absorbent with plastic wrap and tape. When you’ve waited at least 24 hours, sweep or vacuum the excess materials.
Then, wash and scrub the area with soap and hot water. You can repeat this situation until the stain is gone.
Of course, this will only work if it is a fresh stain. If you have an older stain, you can try and apply some baking soda, rinsing and then repeating.
Start by taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself against the harmful acids but wearing old clothing, protective eyewear and rubber gloves.
Mix one part of muriatic acid with 20 parts of water in a bucket. Use the mixture to clean the stain.
If the stain is too stubborn and has yet been removed, strengthen the mixture by one part (1 part acid with 19 parts water) and continue making the solution stronger until the stain has been removed.
Once you’ve been able to remove the stain, ensure that you thoroughly rinse the area with clean water. There might be powder residue from the acid, easily washed away with water.
Doing this process will strip your cement, so to prevent future staining, apply a concrete sealant and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Even though this method uses bleach, this isn’t the bleach that you’ll find within your home. Oxalic acid is a wood bleaching agent that can be used to remove the stain.
Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself against harmful acids. Wear rubber gloves, old clothes and protective eyewear. Ensure that the area you’re working in is well-ventilated to avoid harmful effects from the fumes.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions by mixing the bleach with water. Apply the mixture to the stain with a scrub brush and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
Rinse the acid away completely with water.
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You can rent a sandblaster at many home improvement or hardware stores. Once the stain has dried, it can be sandblasted off the surface of the concrete.
When you’ve done this method, you can clean up by sweeping or washing away the sand.
Mix a poultice
You can attack harsh wood stains by mixing a poultice that includes an absorbent such as diatomaceous earth or kitty litter, and acetone (the active ingredients in nail polish remover).
Ensure that you wear protective gloves and mix the two ingredients in a bowl until it forms a thin paste that resembles the consistency of peanut butter.
Spread a generous layer over the stain and cover the poultice with plastic wrap. Tack it down with masking tape and let it dry thoroughly.
Scrape off the poultice once it’s been left for 24 hours, using a plastic tool such as a spatula. Wipe the area with a damp cloth or paper towel to reveal your restored concrete surface.
Cleaning oil-based wood stain from concrete
It is best to begin by trying to soak up the puddle of wood stain with an old cloth or towel.
It might take a couple of old rags in order to get the whole spill up, but ensure that the rag being used is going to end up in the bin instead of back in the cupboard.
Open your cloth or rag wide and toss it over the top. It will help to ensure that you cover as much of the stain as you can.
Soak it into the rags and wipe up as much of the stain as possible.
It’s good to use mineral spirits but you can also use Denatured Alcohol or paint thinners. Each option will work with oil-based wood stains.
Apply a small amount of mineral spirit to a clean rag and begin wiping it up. The mineral spirits will re-activate the stain and you can wipe it up.
Mineral spirits are known to evaporate quickly, so after a few minutes of wiping, you might notice that it’s disappearing.
It’s not a problem though if the stain is still visible, just repeat the process using a clean rag. Once you’ve completed this process 2 or 3 times, your stain will be removed.
Cleaning water-based wood stain from concrete
Water-based wood stain isn’t any better or worst than oil-based, but you can’t use mineral spirits or thinners to clean water-based products. However, you can use the same method, except you can use soap and water instead.
It’s best to grab a couple of old cloths or rags and soak up as much wood stain as you can. Use a bowl or bucket and mix together warm or hot water and some dish soap.
Ensure that the mixture has some suds as the soap really helps with the process. Pour some of the water mixtures onto the concrete and let it sit for a few seconds.
Use a scrub brush of some sort, and begin scrubbing the suds into the spilt stain area. This should begin to lift the stain from the concrete surface.
After you’ve been scrubbing for a few minutes, use a different rag and repeat the process until the stain is no longer visible.
Additional tips and advice
When you decide which method is best for you, consider the stained space and the amount of time and product required when removing it.
If you’re unsure about your particular situation, contact the manufacturer of the stain for specific cleaning guidelines.
30 minutes before treating the stain, consider soaking the lawn and any plants surrounding the area which will allow them to drink their fill before the hydrochloric or oxalic acid solution runoff gets onto the lawn.
Rinse the area thoroughly after so the oxalic acid solution is diluted enough to not harm the plants, regardless of whether they are thirsty or not.
The same is for hydrochloric acid too. Some plants are more sensitive to the pH, so rinse the area extra thoroughly for any speciality plants.
We hope that you’ve found the right method for removing your wood stain on the concrete.
Last update on 2023-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API