Wood stains can be incredibly difficult to remove from your skin. The worst thing is, even wearing gloves and a long-sleeved shirt isn’t always enough to stop you from getting splashed. So, what exactly should you do if you find yourself covered in unsightly wood stain splodges? If you catch the stain in time, you might be able to remove it with nothing more than some soap and water. If you don’t, you’ll have to hit the chemicals. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get a wood stain off of skin.
The Soap and Water Method
As Wikihow notes, if you notice a wood stain before it dries, you might be in luck. After it’s had time to soak in, removal can get tricky, especially if it’s an oil-based wood stain. Until it does, you still stand a chance of getting it off with nothing more than some good old-fashioned soap and water. Here’s what to do.
Add some dish soap, laundry detergent, and warm water to a bowl and stir the mixture slowly. If the stain is on your face or you have sensitive skin, skip the laundry detergent and stick to unscented soap only.
Dip a towel or brush into the soap mixture and use it to scrub the stain. Keep dipping and scrubbing until the stain is gone. If the stain starts sinking into the towel, switch to an unstained section before you continue.
Rinse your skin under lukewarm water. Apply a moisturizer to the affected skin to help soothe any irritation resulting from the scrubbing.
The Next Steps
If you didn’t manage to catch the stain in time to remove it with soap and water, it’s time to approach things from a different angle. Before grabbing the first can of chemicals you find and getting busy, do as woodworkingclarity.com suggests and take a moment to work out exactly what kind of stain you’re dealing with. When it comes to wood stains, you’re likely to be looking at one of two types: a water-based formula or an oil-based formula. Usually, the formula type will be spelled out for you on the original container. If it’s not or if you aren’t able to access the container, there’s a couple of easy ways to find out. Dampen a cotton ball with some rubbing alcohol and rub the stain. If the stain begins to transfer to the cotton ball, then the chances are you’re dealing with a water-based wood stain. Otherwise, add a few drops of water to the stain – if the water starts to bead, take it as a sign of an oil-based stain. Once you’ve worked out exactly what kind of stain you’re dealing with, you can set to work getting rid of it with the following methods.
How to Remove a Water Based Wood Stain from Skin
Removing a water-based wood stain isn’t quite so tricky as removing an oil-based stain, but it’s still going to involve some chemicals and elbow grease. Before you start, grab your supplies – you’re going to need a small metal bowl or container, a clean white cloth, and some rubbing alcohol or acetone. Acetone is the main ingredient in nail varnish, which is usually the most cost-effective way of approaching the method. These are the steps.
Add some rubbing alcohol or acetone to a small metal bowl. If you have very sensitive skin, use rubbing alcohol, which is slightly less harsh on the skin (although not quite as effective on stains) than acetone.
Dip the corner of a white, clean cloth into the acetone/rubbing alcohol. Rub the cloth against the stain, working from the outside of the stain inwards. Rotate the cloth as it becomes stained so you’re only ever rubbing with a clean section – if the stain is particularly large, you might need to use several cloths. Continue to rub until the stain is gone.
Rinse your skin under some lukewarm water to remove any trace of the rubbing alcohol/acetone before cleaning the affected area with normal soap. Rinse again, then finish off by applying some moisturizing cream to help reduce any irritation or damage.
How to Remove an Oil-Based Wood Stain from Skin
As sawshub.com notes, oil-based stains are more difficult to remove from the skin than water-based stains. These kinds of stains include drying oils that can bind tightly to the surface of your skin. Once they do, removing them becomes extremely tricky. Unfortunately, until you do manage to remove them, you can expect some discomfort – whereas water-based stains simply look unsightly, oil-based stains will shrink on the skin as they dry, leading to discomfort and irritation. Fortunately, there’s a way to remove them. Here’s how to do it.
Pour some mineral spirits into a small metal container. Be sure to use a bowl that isn’t painted or varnished, as the mineral spirits will begin eating in to the coating. As mineral spirits are highly flammable and can release toxic fumes, exercise caution and use them in a safe, well-ventilated area away from any source of fire.
Take a clean white cloth and dip a corner of it into the bowl of mineral spirits. Gently blot the stain with the solution before proceeding to rub the cloth into the stain, working from the outside of the stain inwards. As the cloth becomes stained, rotate it so you’re always working with a clean section; if the stain is particularly large or stubborn, you may need to utilize several cloths before it’s fully removed.
As you work to remove the stain, stop every few minutes to flush the affected area with water. Mineral spirits are extremely corrosive and can cause severe irritation and even burns if left in contact with the skin for an extended period. Rinsing the area frequently will help prevent any issues. Continue to blot, rub and rinse until the stain is removed.
Once the stain has gone, rinse the affected area thoroughly with lukewarm water to ensure no trace of mineral spirits remains. Unless your skin is already showing signs of irritation, wash the area with soap and rinse again. Finish the process by applying moisturizing cream to help prevent any irritation or skin damage.