Steel Wool Left Stains on Wood Table?


I am refinishing a dining room table, using a stain remover to lift the stain. The directions called for steel wool, but the steel wool has left dark black stains on the wood. Does any one have a remedy for removing the black stains?


By Jackie from Los Angeles, CA

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June 30, 20100 found this helpful

Not sure how you used the steel wool, but usually it is a plain steel-wool, used in varying sizes going from the heaviest to the lightest as a sanding tool. By sanding with steel-wool, you can get a very smooth finish to the wood and the true grain looks awesome. If you put the steel wool into the stain remover it may have caused a chemical reaction which then created the black dark stain.

Borrow a sander, or by hand with the largest grit, to remove the stain, working up to the smallest grit.
Then you can go to using steel-wool from larger to smallest.


Best of luck.

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July 1, 20100 found this helpful

I refinish furniture as a hobby. I had a piece that had a bad stain on it. I used household bleach on it and it went away. It took several applications but I was doing it slow so it wouldn't be lighter than the rest of the wood. One thing though, use gloves. I didn't and my fingers blistered.

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September 2, 20170 found this helpful

A bit late replying but just for the record! Use Oxalic Acid (also found in wood bleach) to remove iron oxide (rust) stains in wood. Fine steel wool and water on light wood is a fatal mix!


Then neutralise the wood with baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) or similar. Dry, fine sand with superfine sandpaper and refinish. Hey presto!

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September 4, 20170 found this helpful

Just another word on neutralising the oxalic acid. As different woods behave differently to strong alkalis I think it better just to wash the wood after oxalic acid treatment with clean water, nothing more. Then allow to dry and fine sand before sealing.

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March 4, 20201 found this helpful

Try cutting a lemon and rubbing the flesh onto the wood before wiping with a damp clean cloth. We had exactly the same problem on a pine kitchen surface and it worked like magic within a couple of minutes - although it might be best to try on a small area first.

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September 26, 20201 found this helpful

Thanks for this suggestion. The lemon juice worked quickly to remove the black stains that looked a bit like mildew.

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