How to Remove Iron Stains from Wood

Wood furnishings and materials are vulnerable to iron stains from nongalvanized nails, screws, hinges and other elements. When moisture comes in contact with these items, they tend to rust, leaving brownish-red rings and streaks. This rust is a result of the oxidation process the iron tends to undergo. Sometimes the oxidation reacts with chemicals in the wood or stain, leaving a bluish stain. Removing iron stains, especially on finished or stained woods, can be difficult, so take steps to prevent oxidation by using galvanized materials, which resist rusting, whenever possible.

Wood flooring plank
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Step 1

Strip the stained area of the wood of any finish or paint, using chemical remover and an old rag. Use a fine steel wool, if necessary.

Step 2

Dip a sponge in lemon juice and sprinkle salt on the tip. Scrub the stained area to remove any iron stains.

Step 3

Mix 1 gallon of warm water with 1 tsp. of oxalic acid, which can be found at hardware or drug stores, if the lemon juice does not remove the stain.

Step 4

Dip your sponge in the oxalic acid mixture and scrub the stain. Use a bristle brush or steel wool for added abrasion.

Step 5

Scrub the nail or other element to remove any rust, using the steel wool.

Step 6

Pour the mixture into a utility sink or tub. Rinse away any residue on the tub and bucket with plenty of water. Fill the bucket with water.

Step 7

Dip a clean sponge in the fresh water and wipe down the stained area, rinsing away the oxalic acid. Continue wiping and dipping a number of times. Use a dry rag to remove any moisture from the nail or hinge to prevent rust.

Step 8

Apply new stain or paint on the previously-stained area, once it has dried, according to manufacturer instructions.