Hi There, to all you hunkie DIYers out there.
I have stripped down furniture and it now need to be bleached. I went off to
the local diy shop and found Rustins wood bleach at £11 for two small
bottles, and I doubt this will be enough for the job. It does seem a little
expensive for hydrogen peroxide so I was wondering if there's a much cheaper
way of doing this? If anyone has done the wood bleaching before and it's
worked without spending a fortune, I would be grateful for and the recipe
BTW, I have made a excellent job stripping the furniture as it's my first
attempt, so let hope the next stage goes well with your help ;)
Thanks in advance
I had a wooden boat tiller had a fine growth of mould that discolored
the surface. I bleached it using Domestos, washed it, let it dry then
stained it and varnished it. It's been in use for five years in all
sorts of weather and still looks like new.
There are three sorts of wood bleach:
- Hypochlorite (Steve's Domestos). Good for shifting gunge, poor at
changing the colour of the wood itself.
- Hydrogen peroxide. The only one that really addresses the colour
of the wood itself (now is this really what you want ?). Only works
in an alkaline environment and needs a grease-free surface, so the
first bottle is merely sodium hydroxide, which fixes both.
Peroxide wood bleach isn't a big seller, and it doesn't store well. So
don't buy old stock, or you'll just have bought an inflated bottle of
- Oxalic acid. Useful for reducing iron stain on oak (and many old
inks were based on iron tannates, so it shifts ink stains too). Also
useful for taking the grey out of weathered timber. May be bought as
"Barkeeper's Friend" or (mixed with detergents / sugar soap) as patio
/ decking cleaner.
You can buy any of these cheaply in bulk, and brew your own bleaches.
But experiment first.
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Part A will darken the wood horribly, especially hardwood. Part B will
correct this, and lighten it still further, but the effect is not apparent
until the wood is *completely* dry. Don't be tempted to apply a second coat
I find the following gives best results:
You *will* need a pair of Marigold type gloves throughout, and ideally a 2"
synthetic bristle brush. Apply part A, leave to dry, then give it a quick
rub down with fine abrasive (wear a mask). Thoroughly wash the brush in
water. Decant some of part B into a plastic container, dilute 1-1 with
water, and apply quickly and evenly. After a couple of minutes, re-brush,
and remove any foam or puddles with a kitchen towel. Run the towel under the
tap before binning. Don't return unused B to the original container. DO mind
Thank you all for your advise!! With all the diffrent types of acids it
does sound a bit scary and technical for me, I will most probably blow the
house up knowing me. I will stop being an old miser and buy the rustins, and
I will let you all know the outcome.
I have made a big effort to do a good job of this project, 'to my husband
surprise'!!. What my husband says about my diy skills "if you can't do a
proper job, then bosh it", about sums me up, :(( arrrr... but I can make
a wicked curry :))
All you need remember is that there is a strong chemical reaction between
the 2 parts which should only take place on the wood. Put them in a bottle
together and you might well blow something up. Wash rags, brushes etc
straight after use and keep it off your hands, even when the furniture is
I hope it does the job for you but bear in mind that it does not affect any
stains or varnishes left from the original finish. It only lightens the wood
itself. With d-i-y stripping the gloomy look is often the residue of the old
finish that has been driven into the grain.
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