Woodworking By LPI - How T Get Wood Stain Off Skin

If you work with wood and wood stains you will eventually get wood stains on your hands, arms, face, and elsewhere where the skin is exposed. Ironically even if you wear gloves you will eventually get wood stain on your skin.

Getting wood stains off of your skin isn’t difficult. You can remove it with natural oils, home remedies, and even washing soda. The key is to know how your skin will react. Try a small spot to test. Know what works best for protecting your skin when using wood stain in the future to minimize exposure.

Working with wood is great and has all the benefits of creating something from a piece of wood material. If you work in woodworking and wood stain long enough you will get a stain on your skin. Although it will fade over time, can you remove it quickly and safely?

The answer is yes and quite easy. We will look at several solutions for removing wood stain from your skin so you can leave your wood shop and go out for a wonderful evening without the wood stain on your hands.


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Wood Stain Formulas

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To understand how to remove the wood stain from your skin I wanted to provide a little information and background on why it seems so difficult to get the wood stain off your skin.

The wood stain has different formulas and I won’t go into great depth on what is in the wood stain formula but to just describe why it stays on your skin. You may know, but the wood stain has several formulas. The two well-known ones are oil-based and water-based.

In general, the solvents are clear and will not stain your skin. The one that causes the stain on your skin is the dye and pigments mixed in with the solvents.

Water-based wood stains. You would think that because it is water-based it would wash away with general soap and water. Even with the water-based wood stain the dye and pigments mixed in the wood stain cause stains.

Busting the problem as to why wood stains remain on your skin, how do you remove it. Let’s look at ways to prevent the wood stains from getting on your skin and then several solutions and methods which will work for you.

How To Prevent Wood Stain From Getting On Your Skin

Woodworking By LPI - Clean Hands

If you use wood stain eventually you will get some on your skin. You can however take measures to prevent this from happening.

Wood stain in general has dye and solvents which are used to color the wood for which it is applied. This is the goal of wood stain. However, it is not the goal to get it on your skin.

Below is a list of things you can do to help prevent getting wood stains on your skin.

  • Eye Protection – Wearing eye protection in the wood shop is a normal thing and should be done to prevent any eye injury. It will also provide protection from the splatter of wood stain
  • Clothing – Wearing protective clothing during your staining process is beneficial to protecting your skin. Long sleeve shirts are recommended with collars which will aid your skin not getting stain on it.
  • Face Covering – Wearing a face covering or sleeve will provide the best protection from the splatter of wood stain.
  • Gloves Gloves are always good to use while staining your wood. Nitrile gloves in particular are the best at keeping you hands free from wood stain.
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Gloves are the most prevalent use in the protection from wood stains getting on your skin. Here are the gloves we use and highly recommend them.

Woodworking By LPI - Nitrile Gloves

You can purchase the Nitrile Gloves in different sizes here from Amazon!

Can Solvents Safely Remove Stains From Skin

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It may be ironic but solvents do remove the stain from your skin. Examples of these would be paint thinner and mineral spirits. However, there are problems with this method and it should be obvious. The problem is the effect on the skin.

Most of the solvents you may use will be highly flammable and would really irritate your skin. This would be bad. Other solvents such as rubbing alcohol and acetone are better for your skin and work really well at removing the wood stain.

To complete the process you will need to apply the rubbing alcohol or acetone generously on a cloth and rub on the areas where the skin has the wood stain. Following the removal of the wood stain with the solvents you will need to wash your skin with soap and water.

This may be a great solution if this is the only way you can remove the wood stain. However, there are other options without the risk of the solvents on your skin.

Natural Oils To Remove Stain From Skin

Woodworking By LPI - Olive Oil

Natural oils have the ability to break down the dye and pigments contained in the wood stain. Looking at more natural solutions to removing wood stain from your skin what options are there. Ironically there are several options that may help you.

According to Wikihow, you can use either canola oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. You would need to add salt to the mix to provide an abrasive mix. Place these natural oils in a bowl and soak your hands. Then using a brush you can remove the wood stain from your hands.

Follow this method with a normal soap and water washing to cleanse your hands.

Home Remedies To Remove Stain From Skin

Woodworking By LPI - Shocked

We all have home remedies we have heard over the years which solve everything from chewing gum being stuck on furniture to removing stains on furniture.

During my research, I was a little taken aback by the home remedies I found which will remove the wood stain. Do they really work?

Diving into the makeup drawer you can find some solutions to remove wood stain from your skin. Make-up remover is very effective in removing wood stain from your skin. Much like the solvents mentioned above you can use a make-up remover or fingernail remover (acetone) to remove the wood stain.

Apply generously with a cloth and then scrub with the cloth or a brush. After you scrub use soap and water to finish the process.

Washing Soda To Remove Stain From Skin

Woodworking By LPI - Washing Hands

If you have an Arts and Crafts background this is not new to you. However, during my research, I found that the washing soda used by Arts and Crafts folks really works well.

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Washing Soda, also know as Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate), works very well at removing wood stains on your skin. You would need to mix one part Soda Ash with three parts water. Generously place on a cloth and apply to the skin where you have the wood stain on your skin.

Scrub with the solution with either the cloth or a brush, depending on the amount of stain, and then wash with soap and water.

A bonus for this solution is it is Safe on the Skin, Hypoallergenic, & Non-toxic.

Washiing Soda

If you would like to look at Washing Soda and purchase you can purchase here from Amazon!

Food-Safe Products To Remove Stain From Skin

Woodworking By LPI - Baking Soda

Let’s look at a solution that does not include any solvents if you have concerns about anything which may cause concerns for your skin.

A food-safe solution is a great alternative. Baking Soda and Plain White Vinegar are great solutions from the kitchen. To use the Baking Soda add water and make a paste. Apply the paste to your skin to remove the wood stain. Follow up with washing with soap and water.

If you would like to try the Plain White Vinegar you would use it by itself. Simply apply generously to a cloth and rub it on the skin where the wood stain is. Follow up with washing with soap and water.

How Do You Get Varnish Stain Off Your Hands?

Woodworking By LPI - Varnish

I thought since I was doing the article about removing wood stain from your skin I would also include varnish. Many woodworkers utilize varnish on their wood projects.

Wood varnish much like wood stain will stain your skin. The biggest difference between the removal of wood varnish versus the wood stain is the sticky residue.

You can apply all of the removal methods and solutions from the wood stain process, however, you need to add one step prior to applying your cleaning solution.

Peanut butter is the key. A common home remedy for removing any sticky residue is to apply peanut butter. The acids in the peanut butter will break down the sticker residue and allow you to use one of the methods for the wood stain removal from above.

It is a great solution and allows you to clean your skin from the wood varnish!

Can You Permanently Stain Your Skin With Wood Stain?

This is a question I have seen a lot of and wanted to address in this article. Wood stain is for the purpose of staining wood and has dye with solvents to apply to the wood. So naturally, if it would get on your skin it will stain your skin.

The big question is will it permanently stain your skin. Through all of my research, the answer is no. If you just wash your skin with soap and water and do not use one of the methods described here it will not remove all of the stains on your skin.

However, the skin naturally exfoliates over time and the stain will go away. The downside is this is not a fast process and depending on the amount of wood stain you have on your skin, it will take quite a while for it to go away.

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