How To Get Alcohol Stains Out Of Wood | A Complete Guide

Act immediately by drying the alcohol with paper towels and wiping the spot with dishwashing soap and warm water mixture. Next, rub the spot with wax to eject the stain from the wood grain before applying bleach. 

My friends and I had a house party over a weekend a couple of months ago. There was food, games, and lots of booze. Someone poured alcohol on my mahogany table along the line, and we laughed it off. In minutes, the alcohol dried off, but the stain came later on. We really thought we had wrecked the table till someone used this method I would be explaining in the article. And voila, the table was back to brand new!

Now, here’s the thing — when alcohol pours on a surface, it evaporates immediately without leaving a trace. Still, the other ingredients in the drink, such as coloring, dye, juice, or sugar additives, leave stains on the wood. 

The other thing to note during an alcohol spill is that the wood itself is not damaged, but it can seep into the wood pores and damage the surface finish. Without further ado, here is how to get alcohol stains out of wood:

how to get alcohol stains out of wood

Method 1: Use Bleach To Get Alcohol Stain Out Of Wood

This method of bleaching wood is for alcohol stains that are proving hard to eject.

Step 1: Dry Out The Spot With Paper Towels

Use paper towels to dry the liquid quickly before it sets and dries. You should dab (not wipe) the spot gently but firmly with the towels. Wiping would force the dye to go deeper into the wood finish. Also, avoid tilting the furniture as this will cause the stain to spread. 

Note: Avoid using other materials with dye, like magazines and newspapers, to dab, which may leave ink stains on the wood. You definitely don’t want to add more stains to the wood – that’s another problem on its own. 

Step 2: Wipe The Spot With Dishwashing Soap

Mix dishwashing liquid in warm water and wipe the stained spot with the solution. This step would eliminate sugars, flavoring, and other dye-related ingredients in the alcoholic drink. 

Step 3: Rub Wax Into The Finish

Apply wax onto the spot and rub to remove the alcohol residue left in the wood. If the wax is unavailable, you can make use of linseed oil. Rub it until it gets into the grain of the wood. This should get your table back to brand new. However, if the stain has gotten deep into the wood, you may need to use bleach and sandpaper to get rid of the stain.

Step 4: Bleach The Stained Spot

Apply a household bleach to the affected space. Let it sit and wait overnight to generate positive results in the morning. If there is still slight discoloration, try out the next step.

Step 5: Sand With A Sandpaper

Sanding an already bleached stain makes it more effective to remove a stain that has gotten deep into the wood grain. Simply sand the spot with sandpaper until the stain disappears and cover the spot with a fresh finish.

However, applying a finish may require the service of a trained and skilled worker. 

Step 6: Restore The Surface

Speaking of fresh finish, you may need to apply furniture oil depending on the extent of the damage. Simply squeeze a little dot of oil onto a clean piece of rag and rub it in the direction of the wood grain. Keep applying and rubbing until it matches the initial color. 

For dried-out stains, after sanding the spot, make a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone in equal proportion. Rub with a clean rag in the direction of the wood grain. You can also mix baking soda and lemon oil in equal proportions and rub them into the wood grain. Polish the spot with furniture wax to make it shine uniformly. However, applying a finish may require the service of a trained and skilled worker. 

Method 2: Wipe The Spot With More Alcohol

This may sound counterintuitive, but immediately rubbing the stained spot with clear alcohol can help remove the stain. Alcohol is often used as a cleaning agent and can remove drink flavoring or coloring. However, it is essential to note that you should only use alcohol without coloring or flavoring. If this method does not work, the stain has begun percolating into the pores, which requires another approach. The next method might just be right for you. 

Method 3: Use Cooking Oil To Get Alcohol Stain Out Of Wood

Use Cooking Oil To Get Alcohol Stain Out Of Wood

For this 3-step method, you will need cooking oil and a clean rag.

Step 1: Dampen Cloth With Oil

Dampen the cloth with a few drops of oil, preferably olive oil, lemon, coconut, or canola oil.

Step 2: Rub Dampened Cloth On The Stained Spot

Rub the cloth gently on the stain. It may take several minutes of rubbing for the stain to disappear completely. Dampen the cloth with more oil if required.

Step 3: Wipe With A Dry Cloth

Once the stain disappears, wipe the spot clean with a dry cloth and allow it to dry. You can choose to leave it in your room or take it out under the sun for faster drying.=

FAQs About Removing Alcohol Stains From Wood

Is alcohol a suitable cleaning agent for wood?

No, not in the long term. It can mar the wood finish long-term because it liquefies the wood finishes and harms its integrity and value.

How do I protect my wooden furniture from alcohol damage?

Keep bottles away in a tray to protect wooden surfaces in case of a spill. Replace their corks when you are not drinking from the bottle to prevent accidental spills. 

How can you remove discoloration caused by baking soda?

If you discolor your wood with baking soda, you have to sand it down and reseal it to cure it.

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