Best Wood Stain Removers 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Best Wood Stain Removers 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

There are many different ways to finish a piece of wood. With so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. However, you might be relieved to know that you’ve always got more than one chance. Any sort of wood finish can be sanded away, but it’s much more efficient to use a wood stain remover.

Also called wood strippers, these products can save you a lot of work. Since you may not know much about these products, let’s look at our top five picks for the best wood stain removers.

Top pick

Extreme Solutions Stripper

 

The Best Wood Stain Remover

 

Extreme Solutions Stripper is an environmentally friendly cleaner which will help you to restore almost any exterior wood. Great choice for tough stains.

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Best Wood Stain Removers in April, 2020

 Stain removerCovers 
1Extreme Solutions
Editor's Choice
up to 3000 sq ft Check Price
2OXALIC ACIDup to 2000 sq ft per pack Check Price
3DEFY Stain Stripper100 - 150 sq ft (gal) Check Price
4Restore-A-Deck500 - 1000 sq ft per pack Check Price
5#1 Deck Stripper100 - 150 sq ft (gal) Check Price

1. Woodrich Extreme Solutions EFC-38 Wood Cleaner – Top Stain Remover for Difficult Jobs

As the name of this stripper implies, it is meant for the toughest of jobs. This is the “big gun” that you can break out for those occasions when nothing less will do. It is strong enough to get rid of mold, mildew, old paint, rotted wood, and most other problems.

Strength And Safety

The best thing about this stain remover is the fact that it provides plenty of cleaning power without the use of overly dangerous chemicals. Of course, you don’t want to get too careless because there are still a few warnings on the package. Still, this product has a rare combination of strength and safety.

The Problems

This one is sold as a powder, which means that it has to be mixed. This adds an extra step, but the price is a bigger problem. This is the most expensive product on our list by a significant margin.

Pros
  • Very strong cleaner
  • Mixing allows you to customize the results
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Works well on grayed wood
Cons
  • One of the most expensive removers on the list

2. Florida Laboratories Oxalic Acid Crystals – The Hardcore Stripper

If you want to skip all the fillers, you can always just buy pure laboratory-grade oxalic acid. Florida laboratories makes some of the best, and each bag is guaranteed to be 99.6% pure.

Value And Versatility

When you are mixing the solution yourself, you can customize its strength to fit the job. For jobs that don’t require all that much power, you can save some material by mixing it weak. For harsh jobs, you can make it extra-strong (within reason, of course).

The other big advantage of this product is value. On a cost-per-gallon basis, this is one of the cheapest products on the list. So, it may be a little more difficult to use, but it will definitely save you some money.

The Problems

There is only one problem here: Pure oxalic acid is pretty corrosive. It’s not as bad as sulfuric acid or nitric acid, but it can do some serious damage if handled improperly. Always use gloves, goggles, and breathing protection when using this stuff. Very important point: Make sure to keep it away from your children and pets!

Pros
  • Cheap stain remover
  • Lab-grade purity
  • Mixing allows an opportunity for customization
  • Removes any kind of stain
Cons
  • Somewhat dangerous to use
  • Hazardous to pets and small children

3. DEFY Exterior Wood Stain Stripper – Easy to Use

This one is a little more convenient, and it offers good performance at a price that is hard to beat. While it may not be the strongest on my list, it is a great choice for most jobs.

Made For Convenience

The main selling point of this product is the fact that it’s easy to use. There’s no mixing or measuring, you just put it into a pump sprayer and go to work. It only takes about 30 minutes for this cleaner to do its work, so there will be less delay.

The Problems

This one doesn’t work on paint, and it won’t remove certain film-type finishes, either. That’s kind of surprising because the warnings on the label indicate toxicity. With such harsh chemicals, you would expect this one to be a little stronger.

Pros
Cons
  • Somewhat toxic
  • Doesn’t remove paint or certain coatings

4. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper – The All-Around Choice

This product offers a mix of versatility, strength, affordability and safety. If you aren’t sure what you need, a product like this is your best bet. With a little experimentation, it should be able to handle any deck stripping job.

Cheapest Per Gallon

On a cost-per-gallon basis, this one offers the lowest price. Of course, your cost will vary depending on how strong you mix your cleaning solution. This product gets pretty good coverage, so you shouldn’t have to mix too much at one time.

The Problems

The only problem I see here is the fact that this product might be a little more dangerous than advertised. It is “eco-safe” in the sense that sodium carbonate (its main ingredient) is found in nature. Thus, it doesn’t pose a huge threat to the environment. However, the crystals and the solution can still pose a threat to you.

Pros
  • Very cost-effective
  • Relatively eco-friendly
  • Strong enough for any job
  • Won’t interfere with staining when wet
Cons
  • Not as safe as advertised

5. #1 Deck Wood Stain Stripper – Very Convenient

This one is probably the most convenient option we’ve seen. It’s a simple and ready-mixed product much like the “Defy” stripper we looked at before.

Specialized For Deck Staining

This product is meant for those who are planning to stain their deck, and it does a great job in that department. It brings out the color and grain of the natural wood while removing that ugly old finish. Best of all, it will help the stain to adhere a little better to the surface.

The Problems

Like many of the cheaper choices, this product isn’t all that strong. It won’t remove paint, and certain coatings can also give it a hard time. On top of that, the coverage is only about 100-150 square feet per gallon, which isn’t that great.

Pros
  • No fancy gimmicks, just an effective product
  • Helps wood stain to “stick” better
  • Brings out the woodgrain
  • Very low cost
Cons
  • Coverage isn’t great
  • Will not remove paint

Buyer’s Guide

Now let’s go a little deeper into the subject and educate you about these products. Only in this way can I help you to choose the best one.

Why Use A Wood Stain Remover?

At this point, you might be wondering why you would choose to use a wood stripper. The obvious answer is convenience. You could use some other method, but this really is the easiest way to go.

Scrapers are too slow and too much work, so they are clearly inferior. Even with the use of a heat gun, you are looking at hours of work. You could use a power sander or some other rotary grinder, which is also pretty fast. However, you are going to have dust and paint chips flying everywhere. This creates a breathing hazard and makes cleanup more of a pain.

Types Of Wood Stain Remover

There are many different ingredients that can be used in these products, so this isn’t a simple subject. While many different things are used, all wood stain remover/stripper products will work in one of the following ways.

Solvent

Solvents work by chemically dissolving the old finish. Examples of solvents used in wood strippers would include methylene chloride, alcohol, acetone, and toluene. One of the main advantages of this type of product is extreme cleaning power. These are some of the only wood stain removers that can dissolve old paint. However, these also tend to be the most toxic products as well.

Caustic

Caustic strippers work by dissolving the finish and converting it into some other substance. Strong caustic cleaners are very popular for wood stripping, even though they require a little more care. These are usually strong acids or bases, both of which tend to be corrosive. Examples of caustic agents used in wood strippers would include oxalic acid and lye (sodium or potassium hydroxide). These substances are the harshest option, but sometimes that is what you need.

Biochemical

These products attempt to get the best of both worlds by using chemical substances that are less refined. By using more natural ingredients, manufacturers attempt to create alternative wood strippers that will be safer to use and easier on the environment. Examples of biochemical agents used in these products would include citric acid, soy oil, lactic acid, wood-pulp extract, and various terpenes.

Conclusion

After buying your wood stain, you might be in a rush to get started. However, I would advise you to take your time and remove the old finish thoroughly. Whichever of these products you choose, you will probably get good results. The extra time and care will result in a level of beauty that pleases both the eye and the soul. I hope you have enjoyed this article and that you will come back to enjoy more of our work.

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