Mary asked: How do I remove water stains from the walls? We have a finished basement, and there was a water issue after excessive flooding in the area. We fixed the leak, but some walls still show water stains. Short of replacing the wood panels or painting, is there something I can do?
Water stains are tricky to remove from wood, with the success of any one method dependent upon several factors. These include the type of wood, its condition, and its finish (or lack thereof). Many types of wood paneling, however, will respond to the following method for removing dark stains.
You Will Need:
- Oxalic Acid (available at hardwood stores)
- Warm water
- Glass bowl
- Synthetic brush
Steps to Remove the Stain:
- Mix oxalic acid with warm water until the acid crystals dissolve. Check the label for the appropriate ratio for your project.
- Use the brush to apply the acid solution over the stain.
- Leave it there until the color of the stain fades.
- Wipe with a clean rag to remove the acid residue.
- Sand lightly to smooth the surface.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Read package directions, heed all warnings, and if possible, spot test before you begin.
- If you have unfinished wood paneling, you can also try removing the stains with a commercial wood bleach containing oxalic acid. Follow the label directions for use, then allow the wood to dry before sanding lightly with fine grit paper to smooth the surface.
- Some types of wood paneling or finishes are unlikely to show improvement. In these cases, they will either need to be painted or replaced.