How to Stain Wood with Household Products

Have y’all ever “shopped your house” to find a little wood stain? I can’t believe I’ve been refinishing furniture for years and NEVER tried some of these household products to stain wood! I’m sure ALL paints and stains used to come from ordinary household products, especially way back when you couldn’t run up to the hardware store for paint. Grab your glass of wine, a cup of coffee and a couple tea bags because we’re going to have a staining party!

How to stain wood with household products

There area so many ways to stain wood today and so many staining products on the market that it’s almost overwhelming! I’ve previously posted about how to apply wood stain over wood stain and how to use wood stain vs. wood dye, but this post is all about staining wood with natural household items.

ALL NATURAL wood stains

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase from one of these links I will receive a small commission, but rest assured you won’t pay any more for the product.

I want to start by saying that every type of wood will stain differently. If you are serious about using one of these methods, you always need to test the stain first to make sure you get the desired result.

How to stain wood with household products;

For this post, I’ve used a piece of birch wood.

How to stain or lighten wood with Bleach

Let’s start with Bleach. I’ve only used bleach to stain or lighten wood a handful of times. One thing I’ve learned……. it takes quite a few applications to really see a difference. A few tips on bleaching wood:

  • Use a peroxide based bleach. DON’T use a laundry based bleach as it will NOT discolor your wood (I’ve learned the hard way on this one).
  • Apply the bleach with a soft rag or paint brush to DRY WOOD.
  • Sand the wood after each coat of bleach to create a smooth finish.
  • Continue to bleach until you get the desired effect.
Staining Wood with household items

How to Stain or Lighten Wood with Bleach

How to Stain or Lighten Wood with Bleach

Learn how to stain or lighten wood with bleach.

Active Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Difficulty Medium
Estimated Cost 15 dollars

Materials

  • Peroxide based bleach
  • wood
  • lint free cloth
  • sandpaper
  • paint brush
  • sealer or wax

Instructions

  1. Apply the peroxide based bleach (don't use regular laundry bleach) with a soft rag or paint brush to DRY WOOD.
  2. Sand the wood after each coat of bleach to create a smooth finish.
  3. Continue to bleach until you get the desired effect.
  4. Apply sealer or wax

Notes

I've only used bleach to stain or lighten wood a handful of times. One thing I've learned....... it takes quite a few applications to really see a difference.

DON'T use a laundry based bleach as it will NOT discolor your wood (I've learned the hard way on this one).

How to stain wood with Coffee

How about that old cup of Jo? I’m sure we’ve all spilled a little coffee at some point in our lives and we all know the result; coffee stain. Coffee can stain fabric, but can it stain wood too? Absolutely.

To stain this piece of wood all I did was take a soft rag, dip it in a medium blend roast of coffee, and wipe WITH THE GRAIN on the piece of wood.

I did three different applications of coffee stain to get this look.

Staining wood with household products

How to stain wood with coffee

How to stain wood with coffee

Learn how to stain wood with coffee.

Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10 dollars

Materials

  • Brewed Coffee
  • lint free rag
  • wood or furniture piece
  • Sealer or wax

Instructions

  1. Dip a soft lint free rag in a medium blend roast of coffee
  2. wipe WITH THE GRAIN on the piece of wood
  3. Let it dry and continue applying coffee until you reach the desired finish
  4. Apply a sealer or wax

How to stain wood with red wine

Red wine stains anything! Am I right? If it will stain your lovely marble countertop, you know it will stain a little wood.

How did I use red wine to stain wood? The same way I used coffee to stain wood. I dipped a soft rag in the red wine and applied it in the direction of the grain with three applications. You can see the finished product below.

staining wood with household products

How to stain wood with red wine

How to stain wood with red wine

Learn how to stain wood with red wine

Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10 dollars

Materials

  • Red wine (any brand will do)
  • lint free rag
  • wood or furniture piece
  • sealer or wax

Instructions

  1. Dip a lint free rag in red wine
  2. apply it to the piece of wood IN THE DIRECTION of the wood grain
  3. After first coat is dry apply another until you are pleased with the finish
  4. Use a sealer or wax

How to Stain wood with vinegar

I want to talk in length about staining wood with vinegar. There is a right way to stain wood with vinegar and a wrong way. I did it the wrong way. I was told by someone that vinegar BY ITSELF will darken wood just a little bit- WRONG. You can see below that the vinegar did nothing to the wood.

Staining wood with household products

Vinegar by itself won’t do anything to wood. You have to add steel wool. The vinegar allows the iron in the steel wool to rust thus giving the solution that dark grayish tint.

How to make a vinegar/steel wool wood stain solution:

  • Add a super fine steel wool and vinegar to a mason jar and don’t cover it!
  • Let the solution sit for a couple of days. This is KEY! The darker you want the stain, the longer you need the solution to sit.
  • After the solution has reached the desired color, stir it really well.
  • After you have mixed your solution, it should be a brown color.
  • Use a coffee filter or paper towel to pour the solution through to get rid of the excess pieces of steel wool.
  • Apply your vinegar stain!

I’ve seen so many lovely vinegar stained wood pieces! I think I’m going to make this my next furniture staining project. Stay tuned.

How to Stain wood with vinegar and steel wool

How to Stain wood with vinegar and steel wool

How to stain wood with vinegar and steel wool

Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10 dollars

Materials

  • Super fine steel wool
  • vinegar
  • lint free rag
  • mason jar or cup
  • wood
  • sealer or wax

Instructions

  1. Add a super fine steel wool and vinegar to a mason jar and don't cover it!
  2. Let the solution sit for a couple of days. This is KEY! The darker you want the stain, the longer you need the solution to sit.
  3. After the solution has reached the desired color, stir it really well.
  4. After you have mixed your solution, it should be a brown color.
  5. Use a coffee filter or paper towel to pour the solution through to get rid of the excess pieces of steel wool.
  6. Apply your vinegar stain in the direction of the wood grain.
  7. Use a sealer or wax

Notes

Vinegar by itself won't do anything to wood. You have to add steel wool. The vinegar allows the iron in the steel wool to rust thus giving the solution that dark grayish tint.

How to stain wood with tea

Last but not least is how to use tea to stain wood. Since the pigment in most tea’s aren’t quite as dark as coffee, tea stained wood will look a little lighter than our coffee stained wood.

I used a generic regular black tea bag and let it sit in a cup of hot water. I stirred it real well and then used a soft cloth to apply it to the wood. I applied three applications. Below is what it looked like.

Staining wood with household products

How to stain wood with tea

How to stain wood with tea

How to stain wood with tea

Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10 dollars

Materials

  • Brewed tea (make sure it's a dark tea)
  • lint free rag
  • wood
  • sealer or wax

Instructions

  1. Make sure to stir the tea really well
  2. Dip a lint free rag in the tea and apply IN THE DIRECTION of the wood grain
  3. Wait for each application to dry and add another until you reach the desired finish
  4. Use a sealer or wax

Notes

Since the pigment in most tea's aren't quite as dark as coffee, tea stained wood will look a little lighter than our coffee stained wood.

I know I mentioned on every product to add a sealer or wax after the stain is dry. I don’t think there is a right or wrong sealer to use. The main deciding factor is what kind of use the furniture piece or wood will get. You can see previous posts about how to use furniture wax and how to seal furniture for a high traffic finish.

I hope y’all have learned a little bit about how to stain wood with a few household products.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Lindsey**

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