Wood Finishing – How Can Stains Be Removed From Logs and Wood

During and after construction logs can become stained from rain hitting the logs and leaving water spots as well as having black stains develop from water hitting the nails, spikes or lag screws used in construction and leaving unsightly black stains on the logs and other wood. This can be easily removed by using several methods:

  • Oxalic Acid For black nail stains you can use oxalic acid and water. A cup of oxalic acid in a gallon of warm water is the best mixture for normal stains. If you have a few stains, just rub the solution on with a soft rag and presto..they are gone. If you have a lot of stains or want to brighten up the logs prior to staining the house, you can use a hand, pump sprayer for the job. This solution is poison so keep away from any living thing. Also use eye protection and a face mask to filter out any of the chemicals. This chemical can be obtained at most home centers and goes by the name of “wood bleach”.
  • Bleach and Water Another way to brighten up and clean up logs or deck prior to finishing is to use a mixture of half house hold bleach and half water. This can be sprayed on with a hand held pump sprayer and worked in with a brush on tough spots. Never ever try to make your own super stain remover and mix oxalic acid (wood bleach) and house hold bleach together. This will give off a tremendous volume of noxious fumes that can be damaging to your lungs.
  • Sodium Percarbonate (CPR) CPR is used to clean and brighten uncoated wood that is dirty, faded or gray from UV exposure. Mix CPR to the brightening solution strength for use on new construction just prior to staining to remove dirt and grime from logs during the building process and to break down mill glaze. Mixed at the log cleaning solution strength–use for periodic cleaning of stained logs to extend the life of your stain. It can be applied eaisly by using a garden sprayer.
  • Phosphoric Acid Phosphoric Acid is a liquid concentrate for cleaning log and wood surfaces. It commonly goes by the name Log Wash. It can be used as maintenance cleaner or to prepare the surface of wood for a new coat of stain or topcoat. The exterior surfaces of a log home are a settling ground for dust, pollen and other airborne contaminants that dull the surface and encourage mold growth. A light cleaning once or twice a year will keep a home looking beautiful and helps prolong the life of the exterior wood finish. For preparing the surface of bare or finished wood or for a new coat of stain or topcoat, Log Wash removes dirt, grime, pollen and surface mold and mildew without harming the wood or the finish. As opposed to bleach solutions, Log Wash does not upset the natural pH balance of the wood, thus preventing wood fiber damage and iron tannate stains. It can be applied easily by using a garden sprayer. 

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