How to Remove Wood Stain from Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

All is not lost if you spill wood stain, but you have to act fast

Wood Stain
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Wood staining products can be difficult to remove from fabric. However, while it is nearly impossible to remove large stains, especially those that have really soaked through the fibers, there is hope for removing small drips of wood stain or an accidental smear on clothes, carpet, and upholstery.

Removing Wood Stain Spills from Washable Clothes

You'll have the best results if you catch the problem quickly. To remove the wood stains from washable fabrics, use a bit of mineral spirits on a clean white cloth or cotton swab.

Test the mineral spirits on an inside seam because it can cause changes in fabric color. Start at the outside edge of the stain and work toward the center to prevent spreading the stain. Work in a small area at a time and move to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred from the fabric. After removing the stains, wash as usual following the guidelines on the care label.

Check the stained area after washing. If the stain remains, do not dry at a high heat. Repeat the stain removal steps. If the stain has not disappeared after a second treatment, it is most likely permanent.

Removing Wood Stain Spills from Dry Clean-Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled dry clean only, take it to your dry cleaner as soon as possible. Point out and identify the stain to help your professional cleaner choose the right treatment. 

If you want to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with mineral spirits or the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag. Usually, you'll have the best outcome if you take the item to a professional cleaner instead of using a home kit.

How to Remove Wood Stain Spills from Carpet

Just as on clothes, if the wood stain spill is large and has soaked through the carpet fibers to the backing and the padding, it is going to be nearly impossible to remove. This is why you need plastic tarps or a workbench outside.

But, if the drip is small or there is just a bit from a furniture leg that had not dried completely, there's still a chance to repair the damage. If the stain is fresh, use a paper towel or white cloth to blot up as much moisture as possible. Keep moving to a clean area of the towel to prevent additional staining. 

Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent and 1/4 cup household ammonia with two cups warm water. Dip a clean white cloth or sponge into the solution and blot the stained area. Work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading. Keep blotting until no more color is transferred to the cleaning cloth.

Note: You'll want to wear gloves if you're handling ammonia, and make sure the area you're working in is well-ventilated so you don't inhale any fumes. Never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach.

Dip a clean white cloth in plain water to "rinse" the carpet. Repeat this several times because leaving the cleaning solution in the fibers can actually attract soil. Allow it to dry away from direct heat. Vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

If color remains on a light-colored carpet, mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Use a cotton swab or eye dropper to apply to stain. Allow to sit for 30 minutes and then blot away.

Note: Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent and should never be used on dark colors.

How to Remove Wood Stain Spills from Upholstery

The same cleaning techniques and solutions for carpet can be used for upholstery. It is important to be careful not to over wet the fabric which can cause damage to the upholstery filling.

If you get wood stain on silk or vintage upholstery, call a professional cleaner or if you need more stain removal tips. You're likely to do more damage in these cases trying to remove the stain yourself.