Exterior wood and other wood surfaces deteriorate over time. Foot traffic, mold, and UV rays take a toll on protective wood stains, causing the surfaces to crack.

If want to breathe new life into wood furniture, you must remove the existing stain with paint strippers. Wood stain strippers remove paint and varnish, clean the wood surfaces and enhance paint adhesion.

However, if you don’t use the right stain stripper, you could wind up with a mess on your hands. So, what is the best product for stripping stain?

Keep reading to find out!

Our Top Picks

Best Stain Strippers

  1. DEFY Exterior Wood Stain StripperBest Clear Stain Stripper
  2. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain StripperBest Liquid Wood Stain Remover
  3. 1 Deck Wood Stain StripperBest for Removing Semi-transparent Stains
  4. OXALIC Acid 99.6% 5 Lb. DeckBest for Removing Rust and all types of Stains
  5. Smart Strip Advanced Paint RemoverBest Eco-friendly Wood Stain Remover
  6. Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Stripping GelBest Exterior Wood Stain Stripper
  7. Wood Cleaner & Wood StripperBest For Removing oil-based Stain

Best Stain Stripper for Wood Reviews

When picking the best product to strip stain from wood, we considered the following

  • Ease of application
  • Type of stain remover (caustic, solvent, biochemical
  • Odor
  • Nature of project (decks, furniture, floors, etc
  • Biodegradability and eco-friendliness

1. Best Clear Stain Stripper – DEFY Exterior Stain Paint Remover

DEFY Exterior Wood Stain Stripper, 1 Gallon
  • WOOD DECK STAIN REMOVER STRIPS WORN FINISHES – Easy to use stain stripper removes weathered, clear or semi-transparent wood stains. Simply spray on with a pump-up sprayer, and rinse with a power washer. Note: Will not remove paint, solid color stains, or other film-forming finishes.
  • RESTORES WOOD’S NATURAL BEAUTY – In addition to removing weathered deck stains, this product will also remove dirt, mill glaze, and stains, creating a clean, like-new wood surface.
  • READY TO USE – This product comes ready to use. Simply pour in a pump-up sprayer and spray on any wood surface that needs to be stripped.

We consider Defy exterior wood stain the best wood stain remover because it has exceeded our expectations performance. You use it to remove a clear finish and a semi-transparent stain.

Using this paint stripper is not stressful. Just apply with a sprayer and then rinse with a good quality power washer. Please remember that this deck stripper will not do away with paint, solid color stain, or any other film-forming finish.

Defy exterior wood is a super wood deck paint remover that excels in cleaning the wood furniture and removing mill glaze, clear finishes, dust and paint chips, and dirt. It restores the natural wood color even if it is old and weathered.

This exterior wood stain stripper is ready to use formula. You do not have to go through the trouble of thinning it to achieve the desired consistency.

For best results, use Defy wood deck brightener after using this stain stripper to neutralize the wood surfaces and open all the wood pores. This item is ready to use.

Simply fill a pump-up sprayer with the solution and spray on outdoor wood and other wood surfaces that need to be stripped. You can use the product regardless of the wood you need to strip since it is compatible with all wood surfaces.

What We Liked Most

  • Compatibility with all wood species
  • Works excellently
  • Easy to use
  • Superb coverage

What Could Be Improved

  • It does remove a solid stain

2. Best liquid wood stain remover – Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper

Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper
103 Reviews
Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper
  • Removes most clear, transparent, semi-transparent, and semi-solid coatings.
  • Strips and restores wood surfaces.
  • Powdered formula makes 5 liquid gallons when mixed. Extremely cost effective. When mixed, the cost is less than $12 a gallon.

Some stains can be as stubborn as a mule. No matter your best efforts to get them off the surfaces, they just won’t yield. Removing wood stains that won’t come off without putting a spirited fight will not be stressful if you use this wood stain remover.

Restore A deck is a powdered deck stain stripper that easily, quickly, and affordably removes stubborn stains. It removes clear, transparent, semi-transparent, and semi-solid coatings.

This stain stripper will not remove stubborn stains such as solid-color stains, thick paints, polyurethanes, or overly applied acrylics. This powdered formula yields 5 gallons of liquid when mixed.

As a result, this varnish remover quantity is five gallons. So, for a measly $7, you can easily remove stains and restore your wood furniture. The wood stain stripper is environmentally friendly and poses no danger to pets or humans.

For best results, use a pump sprayer. Alternatively, if the finish you need to remove comes off easily, inject it into a pressure washer and start the stripping process.

For professional results, follow the instructions on the can keenly. Spray it on with a top-quality pump sprayer and wash it off with a power washer.

Spot clean the worse sections and apply the second coat with a brush. Your surfaces will look as good as new.

What We Liked Most

  • Affordability
  • Works as marketed
  • Clear and straightforward instructions
  • Best liquid stain remover for wood

What Could Be Improved

  • You’ve to wear a chemical respirator

3. Best for Removing Semi-transparent Stains –  1 Deck Wood Stain Stripper

#1 Deck Wood Stain Stripper - 1 Gallon - Ready to Use, Wood...
  • Removes existing, weathered, semi-transparent stains and sealers
  • Ready to use, fast and effective - covers 100-150 sq. ft. per gallon
  • Deck stain remover strips worn finishes off decks, fences, and wood siding

If you need the best stain stripper that gets semi-transparent stains from your wood surfaces, this could be a good match.

It removes old and new stains from wood surfaces such as siding, fences, and decks. It is ready to use and provides excellent coverage. The coverage range for each gallon is 100-150 square feet.

The benefit of using this paint stripper is that it improves stain adhesion while restoring the natural beauty of wood furniture and other surfaces such as masonry surfaces.

It also aids in the prevention of wood rot. Rinse with a pressure washer for professional results. Please note that this product will not remove paint. Use a pump sprayer and carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

For professional results, clean the wood surfaces with this Deck Stripper on a cloudy day to prevent the surface from drying out!

To avoid causing damage to the wood, use a pressure washer with a 40-degree spray nozzle, and you will enjoy your surfaces as they’ll look as good as new. Pressure wash the surfaces to remove the stain.

The old color will peel away, revealing a lovely bare wood. This stain stripper works excellently on horizontal surfaces as it permeates more uniformly than on vertical surfaces.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s easy to use
  • Works fast without a fuss or muss
  • Works excellently on horizontal surfaces

What Could Be Improved

  • Does not do well on vertical surfaces

4. Best for Removing Rust and all types of Stains – OXALIC Acid 99.6% 5 Lb. Deck, Wood Stain Remover

OXALIC Acid 99.6% 5 Lb. Deck, Crystals, Metal Cleaning- Rust...
  • OXALIC ACID 99.6% PURE (Dihydrate)
  • Deck, Crystals and Metal Cleaning
  • Rust Removal, Wood Stain Remover and More!

This product is for you if you need to remove stubborn stains from multiple surfaces. Use it on PVC fencing, landscaping rock, patio blocks, sidewalk, etc. The beauty of this product is that it could give you the exact value for your hard-earned cash.  

Because you can mix the solution yourself and modify its strength to suit the job at hand, you can save a lot of the material by combining it mildly for jobs that don’t demand a lot of power. You can make it a little more potent for tough jobs.

If you need further clarification on anything regarding the product, reach out to the manufacturer, and the company will get back to you in the shortest time possible. Another significant benefit of this product is its low cost.

On a per-gallon grounds, this is one of the least expensive products on the list. So, while it may be a little more challenging to use, it will undoubtedly save you money.

This wood stripper works better than a wood bleach. Wood bleach blotch the wood and whiten it to the point where it appears whitewashed and no longer natural.

Oxalic acid in its purest form is highly corrosive. It’s not as dangerous as sulfuric or nitric acid, but it can cause severe damage if you mishandle it. It contains harsh chemicals.

When working with this paint stripper, always wear chemical-resistant gloves, goggles, and breathing protection. Please keep it away from kids and pets!

What We Liked Most

  • Low-cost stain remover with lab-grade purity
  • Customization is possible with mixing.
  • Removes all types of stains

What Could Be Improved

  • Not safe for babies and pets

5. Best Eco-friendly Wood Stain Remover – Smart Strip Advanced Stain and Paint Remover

Dumond 027691033322 Smart Strip by Peel Away One Sample...
3,522 Reviews
Dumond 027691033322 Smart Strip by Peel Away One Sample...
  • REMOVES UP TO 15 LAYERS OF PAINTS & COATINGS - Strips Acrylic, Latex, Oil, and Water-Based Paints, Varnishes, Stains, and Coatings in usually a Single Application!
  • EFFECTIVE ON ALMOST EVERY SURFACE - Wood, Brick, Stone, Metal, Marble, Terra Cotta, Granite, Terrazzo, Concrete, Plaster, Cement, Copper, Tin, Enamel, Slate, Cast Iron, and More!
  • EASY TO USE WITHOUT CAUSTIC CHEMICALS - Contains NO Methylene Chloride or NMP. Apply to surface and check every 90 minutes for up to 24 hrs. Remove with scrapper or pressure washer. No fuss, no muss!

Smart strip is also the best paint stripper safe for the user and the environment. If you’re looking for the best professional paint remover, look no further than this product.

This deck stripper is unrivaled in its ability to work as advertised. Because it does not contain methylene chloride, it is safe for pets, people, and the environment.

This water-based paint stripper removes multiple layers of paint up to fifteen coats of urethane, lead paint, oil-based stains, and other coatings with ease.

So it doesn’t matter what kind of stain you used on the surface before because this deck stain remover will attack it head-on. Because it is water-based, it contains no VOCs and emits no unpleasant odors when used.

The wood stain stripper is simple to use, so even a novice DIYer can use it effortlessly and get professional results. You only need to follow the self-explanatory user instructions on the can, and the rest will be history.

You can use a high-quality brush, roller, or a traditional airless spray to apply it. Allow the stain remover to sit on the coatings for four to twenty-four hours, depending on the number of coats and paint or stain you need to strip.

This is one of the best wood stain removers available for your project. It will stay wet for an extended period, and peeling away paper may not be necessary.

After an appropriate dwell time, use a scraper to remove the peeling paint. Remove any leftover paint with a power washer or a sponge and clean water. This exterior wood stain stripper is Ph neutral. You do not need to neutralize the stripped region.

What We Liked Most

  • It removes multiple layers of paint at once and is suitable for indoor and outdoor surfaces.
  • Ecofriendly
  • Simple soap and water cleanup

What Could Be Improved

  • You may need more coats for tougher stains

6. Best Wood Stain Stripper for Outdoor Wood – Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Citristrip® Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel, 1 Quart
  • Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel
  • Citrus scent

If you require the best paint stripper that can work on different surfaces without causing you undue stress, this is the product you’ve been looking for for a long time.

It’s one of the best deck strippers on the market. The varnish remover stays wet for up to twenty-four hours, allowing you to remove multiple layers in a single step.

This saves you time, enabling you to move on to the next paint stripping stress and finish the work in record time. It is a good wood lacquer remover, varnish, latex, and oil-based stain.

It contains no harsh chemicals and is suitable for interior use. Use the stain remover to remove paint. The all-purpose gel is excellent for removing multiple layers of stains.

Use it to remove epoxy from wood. You can also use it on masonry and metal surfaces. It produces a citrus smell that will not upset you when using it.

It is non-toxic, and you won’t worry about it irritating your skin if it comes into contact with your body. If you are trying to strip oil-based paint from a surface, you need to apply a heavy coat, cover the area with a plastic sheet, and give it four days.

This way, you’ll be satisfied with the results. This is a more environmentally friendly gel that works exceptionally well. There is no fuss and no commotion. Apply it, scrape it off, and repeat as required. It’s simply lovely. Here’s more on how to use citristrip stripping gel.

What We Liked Most

  • It is non-hazardous
  • It performs as advertised
  • You can use it on various surfaces

What Could Be Improved

  • It is most effective when used indoors

7. Best For Removing oil-based Stain – Wood Cleaner & Wood Stripper for Wood Decks

Wood Cleaner & Wood Stripper for Wood Decks, Wood Fences,...
  • CLEANS & CONDITIONS WOOD FOR STAINING - Ideal for both new & weathered wood decks, fences, siding, and log homes.
  • REMOVES DEAD GRAY WEATHERED WOOD CELLS - Unprotected wood that is exposed to direct sunlight will quickly loose its natural color and turn gray. You can easily remove the old grey wood and expose the fresh wood beneath.
  • BUFFERED TO PROTECT THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF YOUR WOOD - proper surface preparation is the key to any successful wood restoration project. Only Woodrich Brand restoration products are buffered to protect the natural sugars and oils that give your wood that rich, fresh cut look.

Removing wood stain will not be stressful if you use the right products. This is an excellent fit if you have been searching for a wood cleaner that can also remove oil-based stains and sealers.

Note that this product will not remove the solid water-based stain. Use this stuff within a few hours of mixing time. Sadly it loses its effectiveness as a stain stripper after that. When storing the powder, keep it dry.

This dry powder has a shelf life of six months. This stuff is incredible because it will clean wood surfaces and make them look brand new even if you have not cleaned the surfaces for over a decade.

Mix it in a gallon of hot water and apply it with a stiff brush. You do not have to break your back hard scrubbing it. You slop it on. Let it sit for three to five minutes before rinsing it off.

You can apply a transparent stain, and voila! The wood will be in excellent condition once again. We wholeheartedly endorse this wood cleaner.

It may take some effort if you need to remove a dark stain, but all the effort will pay off since you do not need to replace the deck anymore.

If your deck is splotchy from the old, scratched stain, and there’s loads of mildew underneath the rails and around the edges, grab this product, and you’ll be satisfied with the results.

For best results, wet the surface, and This stuff, along with my pressure washer, did an excellent job. It’s good to wet the deck and let it soak for a few minutes before applying the product.

Allow it to sit for fifteen minutes, and pressure wash everything clean.

What We Liked Most

  • Ease of use
  • You can use it on various wood surfaces
  • It’s the new deck stain remover that works as marketed

What Could Be Improved

  • It does not remove a water-based stain

Best Stain Remover for Wood

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Stripper for Stain

You can’t go wrong with paint strippers if you want to remove paint from wooden surfaces, walls, or furniture. The best paint stripper for wood will quickly break down old paint and topcoat in one go.

When buying wood strippers, it is good to get everything right the first time to make your efforts worthwhile. Here are some of the factors to consider before buying a wood stripper.

Wood friendly

You do not want to damage the wood in the paint stripping process. Some stain strippers can be harsh on the wood. Before investing a dime in any paint stripper, ensure it is compatible with your wood to avert wood damage.

Better still, go for a wood stripper that can work on all wood species. Also, follow the instructions on the can keenly to preserve your wood.


Mind about the environment even when buying wood strippers. The environmentally friendly stripper contains no caustic or harsh toxins, has zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and is biodegradable, odor-free, and water-based.

If possible, buy biodegradable paint removers because bacteria and living organisms will break it down, and it won’t pollute the environment. These types of stains are affordable and equally effective.


The method you use when applying the wood stripper determines your results. Before buying a stain remover, think about its application procedure and see if you need to purchase additional tools. Go for a stain stripper you can efficiently work with.

It can be frustrating to buy a wood stripper only to get home and notice you can’t use it right away, either because it’s challenging to work with or you lack the necessary tools.


Some paint strippers emit pungent odors when used. Opt for an odorless paint stripper or ensure you have the right gear to protect yourself from the strong fumes.

Safeguard your eyes, skin, and lungs by wearing splash-proof eye protection, long sleeves and trousers, chemical-resistant gloves, and a natural vapor facemask with new casings.

Have a bucket of cold water and rags on standby to wipe away any stripper that may land on your skin as you work. If at all possible, work from outside. If you must work indoors, leave as many doors and windows open.

What you want to remove

What’s the nature of your project? Do you need to strip paint, stain, shellac, etc.? Your project determines what wood stripper to settle for.

Some paint strippers can only remove paint, while others only remove wood stains. Understand your project well before investing in a wood stripper.

Read More: How to Remove Wood Stain From Cement

Types of Wood Stain Removers

Paint strippers are classified into three categories. They are caustic, solvents, and biochemical. Always read labels to make sure that you are purchasing the correct product.


These paint strippers convert the topcoat into soap; the chemical changes involved soften the paint from the surface, making removal simple. The caustic strippers contain either caustic potash or caustic soda as lye.

Such strippers do away with latex and alkyd paints from the wood surface; however, you must allow them time to absorb the surface thoroughly for the best outcomes.

Caustic solvents have the disadvantage of darkening the wood, so if you intend to use them on your wooden surface, you may want to bleach them first.


These paint strippers use chemical solvents to dissolve the bond between paint and wood or stains to eliminate color. The coatings scrape off as a result of this.

Methylene chloride is one such substance that you can use for this purpose. If you use it, be cautious and take safety precautions.


Biochemical-based paint removers for woodwork in the same way as chemical solvents, but they use solvents derived from plants.

The most common are lactic acids derived from corn sugars, citrus terpenes, dimethyl sulfoxide derived from paper reaction products, citric acid, and soy oil.

These compounds pose only minor risks. They can irritate your skin; therefore, use them in well-ventilated areas.

How to Strip Stained Wood

A new paint job or stain is an excellent way to boost the appearance of wood — from your home’s walls to floors or an old piece of furniture.

However, before you begin applying any new paint or stain, it is critical to get rid of old paint from the wood so you’ll have a clean and fresh surface to work on.

Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to strip stained wood. You will need the following materials for this project:

  • A mask that shields you from dust particles and vapors
  • A brush for applying the paint stripper
  • Clothes made of microfiber
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint stripper of your choice (Best paint stripper method for wood).
  • Gloves resistant to chemicals
  • Paint strippers or scrapers that you can use on the go

Step 1: Check to see if the wood beneath is worth exposing

If you’re going to remove old paint from furniture, flooring, door cabinets, and other items, ensure the wood below is still usable after you remove the paint. This is particularly important if you plan to stain or clear-coat the wood.

Find a small area out of sight where you can scrape off the bottom layer and see if the wood was initially varnished and will look good when you expose it.

Step 2: Ascertain if you need the assistance of a professional

DIY projects can be enjoyable, but some paint stripping will necessitate the assistance of a professional who has special tools that can speed things up while remaining safe.

If you have lead paint in your home, you may need to hire a professional.

Step 3: Get all of the tools and safety equipment you’ll need

It is crucial to have the proper tools for the job. First, choose your preferred brand of paint stripper, then gather the necessary tools, such as paintbrushes for applying the paint stripper, cloths for cleaning, and scrapers and sandpaper for removing the paint.

Finally, buy safety equipment such as masks, glasses, and gloves.

Step 4: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the paint stripper

Most of these paint removers only require a few minutes of exposure. If you’re stripping paint from a vertical surface such as a door, use a paint stripper with gel or paste stability to prevent it from dripping down the surface and damaging the floor.

Step 5: To scrape off paint, use sandpaper or a paint scraper

To avoid damaging the wood, strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines and apply only light pressure. If the paint stripper didn’t strip it all out the first time, you might need to re-do some areas, especially the hard-to-reach spaces.

Step 6: Remove any excess paint or paint stripper

Finish by scrubbing away any remaining paint and paint stripper with sandpaper or abrasive brush and cleaning the surface with a microfiber cloth.

After that, you want to know how to dispose of old paint and stain properly.

How To Remove Water Stains From Wood

Did someone forget to bring a coaster to the party? Your lovely coffee table now has an unappealing white ring. You have various options for removing the water stain using everyday household items, which is a blessing.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Use a hairdryer, and remove water rings

This technique is most effective for freshwater stains. As soon as you see a water ring, go to your bathroom and take a hairdryer. Hook it up and set it to its highest setting.

Aspire the hairdryer at the freshwater stain and hold it there until it disappears. Turn off the hairdryer. Use furniture oil or olive oil to polish the surface.

Use a warm iron

First, place a clean, dry cloth over the ugly mark when removing water stains with an iron. To avoid mark transfer to your surface:

  1. Use a cotton cloth with no prints.
  2. Ensure the iron is dry, and then set it to the lowest temperature.
  3. Once the iron is warmed up, place it on the mark for a few seconds.
  4. Lift the iron and the clean cloth to inspect the stain after seconds.

If the spot remains, repeat the steps until the stain disappears.

Also, learn more here on how to get water stains out of unfinished wood effectively.

Benefits of Using Wood Finish Stripper

Stain strippers remove wood stains, varnishes, sealers, and paint from wood and other surfaces. You can brick back the wood to its original state by removing the initial texture and color, allowing you to start over on a new clean slate.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of using wood strippers.

Paint removers opens wood pores for maximum absorption

Deck strippers penetrate wooden surfaces to remove previous coatings and open wood pores. This is useful if you plan to apply a new coat of finish to a wooden deck.

Wood strippers help you spread the stain more evenly for optimal absorption. As a result, the stained wooden surfaces will be visually appealing.

Enhances curb appeal

A deck stripper can enhance the general appearance of your home’s exterior wood and thus increase its resale value. This is especially true if your home has a beautiful wooden deck porch in front of it.

Homemade Wood Stain Remover

Wooden furniture and floors are typical in many households. Though le wood is an ageless material, it is prone to staining. However, you can remove water, heater, and dark stains on wood floors and furniture and keep them elegant for ages using a homemade stain remover.

Not only do wood stain removers remove paint and varnish, but they also clean the wood with little effort. You can use a commercial wood stain remover to remove water stains from wood or make homemade wood strippers and remove stains from wood surfaces. Here’s how to go about it.

Here are a couple of the best homemade wood stain removers.

Make your wood stain remover by mixing vinegar and olive oil

Mix uniform parts of vinegar and olive oil in a tiny bowl. Apply your mixture to the water stain with a clean, lint-free cloth. Wipe the stain following the direction of the wood grain. The vinegar will aid in stain removal, while the olive oil will play the role of furniture polish. Finish by wiping the surface with a clean, dry cloth.

Mix equal parts of baking soda and water

Make a paste out of uniform parts of lukewarm water and baking soda. Circularly rub the stain until it goes away. Clean up the baking soda with a clean, dry cloth. Water and baking mixture effectively removes water stains from any wood surface.

Related read: How to remove furniture stain from carpet.


What is the best way to remove stain from wood?

You can use commercial cleaners or make a homemade wood stain remover and remove stains from wood. The type of stain you need to remove determines the wood stripper you go for.

What wood stripper works best?

There are excellent products you can use to remove paint and wood stains. The secret is to settle for a product free of methylene chloride but can successfully remove layers of stains and paints in a single application and works on different surfaces.

Can you strip a solid stain from wood?

You can remove solid stains from wood using wood strippers and a power washer. Apply thin layers of solid deck stain remover and let it sit for fifteen to thirty minutes before washing it with a pressure washer. The newspaper and detergent method should suffice if you deal with the stain immediately. 

How to remove oil-based stain from wood?

As soon as the oil stain appears, wipe it away with an old newspaper. Make a mild detergent solution in a bowl. Apply the foam only to the stain. Using a scrubbing brush, aggressively scrub the stain and dry the wood extensively with a soft clean cloth. Here is a more detailed guide on how to get oil stain out of wood.

How do you remove dark stains from wood furniture?

  • Soak a few paper towels in white vinegar and place them on the stain.
  • Allow the soaked towels to sit for thirty minutes to let the stain permeate.
  • Wipe the stained part with a clean moist cloth and allow the wood furniture to dry for half an hour.

Best Wood Stain Stripping Products Verdict

You may be eager to get started after purchasing your wood stain. Nevertheless, take your time and adequately remove the previous finish or paint.

The best stain stripper should remove wood stains from wood and other surfaces hassle-free, affordable, and work as marketed.

Our top pick wood stripper is DEFY Exterior Wood Stain Stripper. It checks all the boxes in ease of use, effectiveness, affordability, and versatility.