Chlorine Bleach

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Common household laundry bleach (sodium hypochlorite) will kill mildew on your deck and outdoor furniture, and will remove clye-based stain Irom wood, but not pigment-based stain. Chlorine bleach can irritate skin and mucous membranes, so wear gloves and goggles.

Deck cleaner. To remove mildew from your deck or exterior furniture, first hose off the wood to remove any loose debris. Mix about a quart of chlorine bleach (Clorox, Purex, etc.) to each gallon of water. Use a synthetic-bristle brush and scrub the surface with the bleach mixture. Be sure to wear goggles—it's easv to splash. Reapply the bleach if necessary in order to keep rhe surface wet for about 15 minutes. Then, brush off the surface again and hose it down thoroughly with water. Keep the runoff away from plants, pets and other wildlife.

Fortunatelv, deck stains are formulated with pigments, so they are not affected by the bleach. Let the wood dry completely ¡1 you plan to re-stain. If you live in an area where mildew is a problem, choose a deck slain that contains a mildewcidc. Most home centers and paint stores sell them. Another option is to buy mildewcide and add it yourself.

Dve remover. Chlorine bleach will remove most dye-based stains from raw wood but will not lighten the wood itself. This is handy to know if you finish your project with a dye and then decide you want to "erase" it and start over. Chlorine bleach will also remove old dye you might encounter during a refinishing project.

Use a synthetic-bristle brush or a clean rag to apply the bleach lull strength. It should remove the color by the time it dries, but for stubborn stains, repeat the process. If you are removing the stain from an old piece of furniture you are refinishing, make sure all the finish is off the surface and lightly scuff-sand it first. Bleach will not penetrate a finish.

.As chlorine bleach dries, it breaks down to salt and water. Once the water evaporates, you'll have salt residue on the wood. Brush it off before vou finish the wood.

CHLORINE BLEACH, full strength, easily removes most dye-based stain (top) but will not bleach raw wood white (center), nor will it remove pigment-based stain (bottom).

Stain Colors Maple Wood

TWO-PART WOOD BLEACH takes the color out of most dark woods and blends the color of maple's heartwood with its sapwood.


Wood bleach actually lightens die color of wood. Ii can also de-color many pigments and dyes.

A package of wood bleach contains two hollies, usually labeled "A" and "B." One contains lye (sodium hydroxide) and the other peroxide (hydrogen peroxide). The bleaching action occurs when the two chemicals come together in contact with wood. Instructions for use van from brand to brand. Some say to put part A on first, then apply B before A dries. Other suggest mixing the two just before application. I he object is to get both chemicals and the wood in the same place at the same time. Read the directions.

Use a synthetic-bristle brush or a clean rag to apply the bleach. When the lye goes on first, it initially darkens the wood. Once the peroxide goes on ii is likely to foam as it reacts with the wood and lye. Let the wood dry completely, usually overnight, then sponge oil all residue with plenty ol ( lean water.

Chlorine Bleaches Wood

APPLY A/B BLEACH SAFELY. Wear long neoprene gloves, with ends cuffed to catch drips, a waterproof apron, and goggles. Brush carefully. A/B bleach is extremely caustic and will quickly burn your skin and eyes.

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  • elisabeth
    How dark can maple be stained?
    8 years ago

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