How To Remove Wood Stain From Concrete

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Wood stain is a great way to freshen up a drab piece of wood furniture by bringing it new vigor and added protection. Unfortunately, while wood stain might be a miracle worker when applied to wood, it is more of a nightmare when it spills on concrete.

Wood stain is one of the hardest stains to remove, especially once it is absorbed by the concrete. The good news is that while it might be a stubborn stain, there are several ways to remove wood stain from concrete.

If your concrete has absorbed wood stain, the most effective way to remove it is by using a muriatic acid solution. Use one part muriatic acid and 20 parts water, then apply this solution to the stain directly. You can also try already-prepared etching solutions or mineral spirits, or try to lift surface wood stains by using a pressure washer or sand blaster.

Once you notice a wood stain on your concrete, it is important that you spring into action right away. The sooner you address the stain the better. But even if you approach the stain once it has set into the concrete, don’t panic. After all, there are several ways to remove the stain by using natural, chemical or pressurized methods.

Does Wood Stain Come Out Of Concrete?

If you notice that a wood stain has spilled onto concrete, you should act immediately. Just like with all stains, the sooner you address it, the more options you have, and the easier the stain is to remove completely.

If you notice wood stain on your concrete right away, try to soak it all up. Do not scrub or wipe it, as this could spread the stain. Instead, blot up the liquid, and then put something absorbent over it, like sawdust or kitty litter, for several hours.

Concrete is porous, which means that although it is a solid, it absorbs liquid. Wood stains are usually oil-based. This means it might absorb more slowly than water-based stains, but it also means once it is absorbed, it is very challenging to remove.

Just like an oil stain is almost impossible to get out of clothes with serious chemicals and know-how, the same is true for wood stains on concrete. But even if you have an old wood stain on your concrete, there are still several ways to try and make it disappear.

Remove Wood Stain From Concrete Using Muriatic Acid

The best and more reliable way to remove wood stain from concrete is by using a muriatic acid-based solution. Keep in mind, however, that muriatic acid is also a very strong and potentially harmful chemical.

If you are not comfortable using harsh chemicals or do not currently have the necessary protective equipment, try a less hazardous method. But if you are comfortable and have the necessary equipment, this method is usually the most effective at lifting wood stains from concrete.

Step-By-Step Guide To Remove Wood Stain Using Muriatic Acid

Step One: Gather Materials And Put On Safety Equipment

Before you attempt to handle and mix the muriatic acid, make sure you have all the proper safety equipment and materials. You should wear clothing that covers your skin, gloves, goggles and a face mask.

Step Two: Combine 1 Part Muriatic Acid With 20 Parts Water

When you make your first solution, mix 1 part muriatic acid with 20 parts water in a bucket. Later on, you can slowly increase the muriatic-to-water ratio with a new solution if this one does not work. But to start, always opt for the 1-to-20 ratio.

Step Three: Apply Mixture And Scrub Area

Apply the muriatic acid and water solution to the stain directly. Make sure it works its way into the stain. Work the area and make sure to clean it up. There are harmful chemicals in the solution.

Step Four: Inspect Results

In many cases, the solution will work wonderfully on the first try. If, however, you find the stain is still there slightly or has not budged, then you will need to try again.

Step Five: Adjust Solution Ratio To Make A More Powerful Solution If Needed

If your stain is still present after the first attempt, try making the solution stronger, one part at a time. In the second round, try a 2-part muriatic acid to 20-part water solution (or a 1-to-10 ratio).

Step Six: Remove The Solution And Rinse With Water

Once you have found the right solution strength and the stain is removed (or at least mostly removed), it is time to remove the solution completely. After soaking up what you can with a disposable rag, you should rinse the area thoroughly. Use water to cleanse the area and remove the harmful chemicals.

Pro Tip: If you are nervous about using muriatic acid, don’t worry, there are alternatives. You can buy other concrete etching solutions at your local hardware store.

Use Mineral Spirits To Remove Wood Stain From Concrete

You can also try using mineral spirits to remove the wood stain from your concrete. Mineral spirits are a common chemical found at any paint or hardware store. They are sometimes used to clean certain surfaces or thin oil-based paints. But you can also use mineral spirits to remove wood stain from concrete.

Steps To Remove Wood Stain From Concrete Using Mineral Spirits

Step One: Clean And Prepare The Area

Sweep and clean the area. Prepare mineral spirits. You will need a scrub brush, as well as gloves, mask and protective eyewear to ensure total safety.

Step Two: Pour Mineral Spirits On Stain

Make sure you cover the entire stain. Allow the mineral spirits a few moments to absorb into the concrete.

Step Three: Scrub The Area

Scrub the stain, allowing the mineral spirits to work into it. This will also help encourage the wood stain to break apart and lift.

Step Four: Wipe The Area

Wipe up the area with disposable rags or towels.

Step Five: Sprinkle Kitty Litter On Moist Area

Sprinkle kitty litter or something equally absorbent on the area. This will help lift out all the moisture. Leave overnight and then sweep it away. If you notice the stain has decreased but remnants still remain, then try repeating the process a second time to completely remove the stain.

Try Using A Sand Blaster Or Pressure Washer

Another option you can try to remove wood stain from concrete is to enlist the help of a sand blaster or pressure washer. Sometimes stains are stubborn and cling hard to the concrete.

While chemicals can help break down the stain, a pressure washer and sand blaster can remove stains (especially tough surface stains) with force. Just make sure you follow a few basic guidelines when you attempt to remove wood stain from concrete with a pressure washer.

  • Use a pressure washer with a 1500 psi setting
  • Hold the spray head 3 inches from the stained concrete area.
  • Move the sprayer slowly, back and forth over the stained area.

Final Advice On How To Remove Wood Stain From Concrete

If you have wood stain on your concrete, try to absorb and remove it right away. When you have a stain that has set, the best way to make it disappear is muriatic acid.

If you don’t want to use such a harsh chemical, you can try alternative etching solutions or mineral spirits. If you have a pressure washer or sand blaster, you can also see if they work to help lift the stain.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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