While wood stains might look great on cabinets, fences, and coffee tables, I think it’s safe to say it doesn’t belong on our concrete surfaces!
Whether you accidentally spilled stain on your concrete driveway, roughcast siding, or pavers, if you want to remove it there’s one method I use.
In this article, I’m going to be sharing my favorite method for removing wood stain from concrete plus two additional methods.
What is Wood Stain And Why Doesn’t it Belong on Concrete?
A wood stain is a type of finish you apply to wood to change its appearance. It can do one of three things:
- Alter the color
- Enhance the grain
- Protect the wood from wear and tear
While this is all fine and dandy as far as wood is concerned, you don’t want wood stain on your concrete surfaces! Why?
It’s simple, wood stain will stain (go figure) concrete, leaving unsightly marks. I speak from experience here:
Three years ago I was finishing my shutters with wood stain when I accidentally spilled it on my concrete driveway. Little spots were everywhere!
I tried everything to remove it, but after a lot of research and trial and error (not to mention a few hair pulling episodes!) I found two chemical methods and one non-chemical method that worked.
If you’re looking for stain removal with chemicals and without chemicals, this article is for you!
How to Remove Wood Stain from Concrete: Without Chemicals
Let’s start with the method I recommend the most: the sandblasting method.
Why do I recommend it? It doesn’t require any harmful chemicals, that’s why! It does mean you’ll need a sandblaster, though. This will require 4 different things:
- Sandblaster gun
- Abrasive media (usually sand, but you can sometimes use silicone carbide and glass beads)
- Air compressor
The first 3 items can be purchased pretty inexpensively, however, the air compressor won’t come cheap.
However, you can typically rent one from your local hardware or home improvement store. If not, you can always hire a contractor that specializes in sandblasting.
A sandblaster is a powerful tool that is usually powered by pneumatic air (via an air compressor).
The whole process works by shooting sand (or another abrasive media) out of the nozzle of the sandblaster gun to remove a variety of things from a range of surfaces.
If you’re planning on purchasing a sandblaster gun and renting a compressor (the route most choose to take), I’ll have some product suggestions after we go through each step!
Stain Removal With Sandblaster
- Sand blaster (either purchased or rented)
- Protective glasses or goggles
Steps to Remove the Stain:
- Begin with a few safety precautions. Ensure you’re wearing protective eye-wear at all times. If you’re not comfortable using a sandblaster you should hire a professional. If you accidentally sand blast the wrong area (such as your vinyl siding) this can lead to costly damage.
- If the wood stain is dried, you can use your sandblaster on the concrete’s surface to remove it.
- Once the stain has been removed completely you should sweep or wash away the sand leftover.
The Best Sandblaster Guns for Removing Wood Stain from Concrete
Here are two of my favorite sandblaster guns to use when I need to remove wood stain from concrete surfaces.
Keep in mind, these will require a compressor, a hose, and abrasive media. You can purchase all 3 or opt to rent the compressor and simply buy the hose and sand.
I love this gun because it features an ergonomic handheld fram grip and the overall design is lightweight and portable.
You can use it to remove wood stain from concrete and a variety of other jobs such as removing grout from tile or etching mirrors and glass.
Specs & Features:
- Ergonomic handheld frame grip
- Lightweight/portable design
- Accepts a range of abrasive media (sand, aluminum oxide beads, walnut shells, etc.)
- Works with a 90 PSI air compressor
This portable sand blaster gun from LE LEMATEC is another great option for removing stain from concrete.
It’s a high performance gun with a gravity fed reservoir for more consistent sandblasting. It also features an adjustable control valve to allow you to automate the flow of the sand precisely.
Finally, the gun is simple to use and comes complete with a manual for fast set up with your air compressor.
Specs & Features:
- Lightweight, portable design
- Supports a variety of abrasive media (sand, steel grit, silicon carbide, glass beads, etc.)
- Can be used to etch and carve stone, remove wood stain from concrete, and more
- Works with 90-100 PSI air compressors
How to Remove Wood Stain from Concrete: With Chemicals
These are two additional methods that use chemicals. The first of which uses hydrochloric acid (or muriatic acid).
Stain Removal with Hydrochloric Acid
- Hydrochloric acid
- Protective goggles or glasses
- Rubber gloves
- Concrete sealant
Steps to Remove Wood Stain on Concrete with Hydrochloric Acid:
- You’ll want to start by making sure you’re well-protected against hydrochloric acid. To do this you should wear rubber gloves and protective eye-wear. You should also consider wearing old clothes that you don’t care much about (the acid can stain!)
- The removal process begins by mixing one part hydrochloric acid with 20 parts water. Mix both in a bucket.
- Using a sponge or soft-bristle brush begin rubbing the stain out.
If this doesn’t work the first time around, you can enhance the mixture by adding one part acid with 19 parts water.
This process should be repeated until the mixture is strong enough to remove the stain
Steps For After The Stain Has Been Removed
- Thoroughly rinse the entire area with clean water once the stain has been removed.
- Keep in mind, there will likely be a residue left behind from the acid. No worries, though, you can wash this away with water!
- This entire process will essentially strip the concrete. To prevent any future stains, you can apply a concrete sealant to it. Just be sure to follow the instructions from the manufacturer and consider the surface you’re using it on (driveway, concrete pavers, etc.)
How to Remove Wood Stain from Concrete with Bleach
This method uses wood bleach (AKA oxalic acid that you can buy here) which can be very harmful if it gets on your skin or in your eyes and mouth.
This isn’t your household bleach under the sink.
Wood bleach is a bleaching agent that is specifically formulated to remove wood stain. It can be used for removing stain from concrete driveways, concrete pavers, and other concrete surfaces.
With that said, I can’t stress enough how important it is to protect yourself when using this method! Let’s take a look at what you’ll need:
- Wood bleach (or oxalic acid)
- Protective goggles or glasses
- Scrub brush with a long handle (to avoid coming close to this stuff!)
Steps to Remove Wood Stain on Concrete with Oxalic Acid:
- Just like with the last method, you’ll need to begin by protecting yourself against the oxalic acid by wearing rubber gloves, protective goggles and old clothing. This method shouldn’t be used if you’re not in an area with good ventilation. The fumes from the chemicals can be harmful to inhale.
- The manufacturer of the wood bleach will have special instructions for how to mix it with water for optimal results. Be sure to read and follow them when mixing.
- Once mixed, apply it to the concrete surface with the long-handled scrub brush.
- Allow the mixture to sit on the concrete for 15 minutes to set properly.
- Thoroughly rinse the oxalic acid mixture away with clean water.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Stain Removal Method
Here are some things you should consider when choosing the right stain removal method:
The space you’re working with makes all the difference.
For instance, if you only spilled stain on a few concrete pavers then the chemical methods could work best.
On the other hand, if you spilled it on a wide area of your concrete driveway the sandblasting method is ideal.
Some stain manufacturers have specific recommendations for removing the stain. Check the brand’s website or contact them directly to find out.
If you don’t have much time, the sandblasting method is going to be the least time-consuming way to remove the stain.
Here’s an additional method you can use with a product called Odor-Z-Way:
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use wood stain on concrete?
There might be situations where you actually want to stain your concrete surfaces. In this case, wood stain, technically can be a solution.
However, I wouldn’t recommend it, as using wood stain would be the equivalent of using paint. The stain will stick to the concrete surface and can scrape off over time.
You can use acid stain instead for better results.
Can I use a DIY solution to remove wood stain from concrete?
If you don’t want to use any of the methods listed above AND the stain is fresh (meaning it hasn’t had time to set) you can use a DIY method:
- Blot the stain with paper towel to absorb as much as possible
- Spread baby powder or kitty litter on the stain (both work to draw stains out of concrete)
- Cover the stain with plastic wrap, tape down the edges to make it tight, and let it sit for 24 hours
- Remove the wrap and sweep up the kitty litter or baby powder
Keep in mind, this method isn’t as effective as the other methods mentioned in this article.
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to remove wood stain from concrete.
No one likes unsightly stains on their concrete driveways, pavers, and other concrete surfaces.
With that said, you can use the methods listed above to remove the stain completely.
As a preventative measure you should consider putting sheets down whenever you’re using wood stain around concrete surfaces.