How to Get Wood Stain Out of Clothes

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It makes sense to wear old clothes when you paint or apply wood stain, otherwise you can ruin your good clothes if you get splatters on them. Paints and wood stains contain dyes quickly absorbed by the fabrics and fibers in clothes, making them tough to remove unless you work fast. Your chances of removing them increase -- as long as the spots are still wet -- and you have the chemicals handy that work with the type of product: oil-based or water-based wood stains. Once a wood stain dries on clothing, regardless of its type, it cannot be removed.

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Water-Based Wood Stains

Things You'll Need

  • White paper towels

  • Acetone

  • Clean rag

  • 2 straight pins for dry-cleaned clothes

Step 1: Stack Paper Towels

Tear off several paper towels to create a thick stack. Place the towels on top of each other on a solid, stable work surface.

Step 2: Position Clothing

Place the stained clothing item onto the paper towel stack with the fresh stain resting face down on the paper towels. You need to arrange the clothing so that no other part of it touches the stain and you can access the back of the stain from inside the clothing.

Step 3: Treat the Stain

Pour a capful of acetone directly onto the back side of the wood stain. Saturate a clean cloth with more acetone and firmly blot the back side of the stain. As you push against the back of the stain, the paper towels soak up the stain from the front. Move the clothing to a different clean spot on the paper towel stack and continue blotting from the back side with more acetone until the stain is gone.

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Step 4: Launder the Clothing

Launder the clothing as usual. If the clothing's care tag says dry clean only, mark the top and bottom of the stain's location with straight pins to bring it to the attention of the person who handles your dry cleaning.

Warning

  • Acetone is flammable; its vapors may cause eye irritation, drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Use in a well-ventilated area.
  • Follow all safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.

Removing Oil-Based Wood Stain

Things You'll Need

  • White paper towels

  • Mineral spirits

  • Clean rag

  • 2 straight pins for dry-cleaned clothing

Step 1: Stack Paper Towels

Tear off several paper towels to create a thick stack. Place the towels on top of each other on a solid, stable work surface.

Step 2: Position Clothing

Place the stained clothing item onto the paper towel stack with the fresh stain resting on the paper towels. Arrange the item so that you can access the back side of the stain.

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Step 3: Treat the Stain

Pour a capful of mineral spirits onto the back side of the wood stain. Saturate a clean cloth with more mineral spirits and firmly blot the back side of the stain. As you push against the back of the stain, the paper towels soak up the stain from the front. Move the clothing to a different clean spot on the paper towel stack and continue blotting from the back side with more mineral spirits until the stain is gone.

Step 4: Launder the Clothing

Launder the clothing as usual. If the clothing reads dry-clean only on the care tag, mark the top and bottom of the stain's location with straight pins and point it the area to the dry cleaner.

Warning

Mineral spirits are flammable and may cause eye irritation. Vapors may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Use only in a well-ventilated area. Do not ingest mineral spirits. Follow all safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.

Tip

  • Stain removal for oil-based and water-based stains is very similar, but the process for removing varnish stains from clothing is different.
  • After removing the stain, launder the clothing as soon as possible, whether washing it yourself at home or taking it to your dry cleaner.
  • Wear rubber or work gloves when working with acetone or mineral spirits.

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references

Ronna Pennington

Ronna Pennington, an experienced newspaper writer and editor, began writing full-time in 1989. Her professional crafting experience includes machine embroidery and applique. When she's not repainting her den or making new holiday decorations, Ronna researches and writes community histories. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and an Master of liberal arts in history.