How to Remove Dyes from Finished Wood

21 responses

  1. Meghan
    October 19, 2010

    We stained our off white kitchen table with window clings – tried EVERYTHING (all the above listed fixes) and nothing worked (some removed a bit of the finish from the wood, so be careful). As a last option we tried hair spray (after trying just about anything liquid). It got lighter in color. We tried it again, let it set for a minute and it took the stain out!


  2. Cori
    January 14, 2011

    I swore these things off years ago after I stained an end table with them. I made one exception for a birthday party and my 2 year old sneaked off with them and stained the coffee table. ARGHH!! BUT… The paste plus a good scrubbing with a dish sponge (scrubbing side) made the stain disappear without harming the wood!!! Thank you so much for the advice!!!


  3. Glenis
    February 3, 2012

    How did you figure out hairspray? My daughter put dye all over our entertainment unit for a party, and I’ve tried the vinegar and baking soda, and the Mr. Clean sponge, and nothing works. It’s darker wood and I’m scared the color of it will change? Help!


  4. Robert
    May 8, 2012

    Good day. I made a new cabinet of rose wood, and my customer put oil on it, but at a certain stage he used something blue that left a blue mark on the wood. I sanded the wood again but the blue is still there. Can anyone help?


  5. Adriana
    August 5, 2012

    THANK YOU! Just finished dying my hair, and accidentally stained my parents’ bathroom wood cabinets, and am totally panicking! But then I tried the vinegar and baking soda, and some elbow grease, and it did the job great! No evidence of my hair being dyed in their bathroom at all. Thank you!


  6. Mary
    January 12, 2013

    I used a Mr. Clean Magic Sponge (not because of the recommendation), and it removed the stain… and the finish. The finish can be fixed, but I noticed on the Magic Eraser box that it says not to use it on shiny or finished wood. Just a heads up.


  7. Tiffany
    January 20, 2013

    My table is dark cherry wood with a finish on it. A bottle of hairspray leaked on the table and it sat over night and turned the table white. What should I do?


  8. Beverly
    April 6, 2013

    Thanks for the hairspray tip!

    Just tried it on my dining room table and it worked a treat with no damage to the wood surface.


  9. Julia
    October 23, 2013


    We had a party and one of the kids put the red sticky blood stickers on my wood hutch and stained it red. It is dark with a clear coat; what can I do?


  10. Vania
    November 18, 2013

    Julia! The same thing happened to me this past Halloween. Do you have any suggestions?


  11. Staci
    January 11, 2014

    My daughter scribbled pen all over my wooden island in the kitchen. I believe it was some type of gel pen. I have tried all of the above. I don’t want to turn to finger nail polish remover or sanding the surface because obviously it will damage the finish on the wood. Please help


    • Melanie
      January 13, 2014

      This article might help: How to Remove Ink Stains from Wood. If not, perhaps this article can help: How to Remove Gel Ink from Upholstery. Since your ink is on wood, be sure to test any cleaning solution on a hidden area first to check for any adverse effects.
      If nothing is working, here is another idea (I don’t know if this would work – just an idea): it sometimes can be helpful if you ‘freshen’ the stain; for example, to remove hair dye from skin, it can help to apply fresh dye onto the older stain, etc. In this case, you could try to apply a wood stain dye over the gel ink with a thin paintbrush or perhaps an empty pen, let it sit a few minutes, then work on removing both the gel ink (hopefully ‘freshened’ by the dye) and the dye at once. If you can’t remove one or the other, perhaps the wood stain dye would at least hide the gel pen marks.


  12. Lez
    October 25, 2014

    I killed a wood lice with Deathlac and a white area appeared! Tried washing with wood cleaner; no luck! Tried lightly rubbing and rubbing a bit harder on my wooden floor, but now white patches have appeared all over my floor!! Help please; thanks.


  13. Irene
    February 11, 2015

    My daughter spilt her dark eyelash dye on my beech furniture. I have tried the Magic Eraser and the lemon/oil/baking powder; nothing works. I hope someone has a magic cure to help me, otherwise the furniture is ruined.
    Help, please; thank you.


    • Melanie
      February 14, 2015

      Use baking soda, not baking powder. (Baking soda is much stronger.) Also, you don’t need to use any oil. If that method still doesn’t work, try some of the suggestions in the Additional Tips section (rubbing alcohol, SOS pads, etc.). You could also try using makeup remover or cigarette ash, as described in the article, How to Remove Hair Dye from Skin. Keep in mind though that you should always test a cleaning solution on a hidden area of an item first to look for any adverse reaction.
      Source: Simply Recepies – The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder


  14. Janea
    May 2, 2015

    Dyed my hair red and it stained some white finished wood and the bathtub; I need help ASAP!


  15. Rebecca
    June 5, 2015

    I had purple tissue paper on top of the wood and it stained through. So I started freaking out and took nail polish remover to take it off, not knowing what it would do to the wood. The finish is now messed up; what do I do!?


  16. Isabel
    July 1, 2015

    Lily flower pollen has left stains on my light wood dining table. Please help, I’m so upset. Thanks.

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!


  17. Dawn
    October 12, 2015

    After I successfully dyed my hair, I was left with dye stains on my hardwood floor. I did the vinegar/baking soda paste mix and it worked! Keep in mind you do need some real elbow grease though and circular scrubbing worked best. Stains are out and I just put some laminate on it. Voila!!! Thanks for the helpful tip!


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