Bleaching wood furniture is not a new concept but it is definitely trending in home decor right now. Simply put it’s just a process for lightening wood. I creates that beautiful, blonde type vibe that can easily be mixed into rustic decor, modern aesthetics and everything in between.
I am especially fond of it bringing out the natural beauty in wood rather than covering it with paint. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time and place for painted pieces but this process is perfect for those heirloom type pieces that you want to preserve or maybe you don’t want to go through all the work of painting.
Household Bleach Method
My first wood bleached project was this tater bin gifted to me by my mom. It wasn’t a piece to be passed down or anything special so I thought it was the perfect project to try my hand on. After it was completed I was hooked. I have since bleached a set of coffee tables and a mantle for the shoppe.
If you’re new to the idea of wood bleaching, let me just say there are a few ways you can go about it to get the effect. I personally like using things I already have on hand, especially if I trying out the technique for the first time. Typical household bleach is what I personally reach for if I am working on a flat surface, like the tater box. I have linked a few different methods along with the images below for reference if you are looking for a more in depth tutorial.
Another method that I have read up on but not ever personally tried is this 2‑part bleaching system. It accelerates the lightening process a bit and seems to be more effective than other methods in drawing out red tones in woods like cedar. The images below are clickable so you can read the tutorials before venturing into your own wood bleaching project.
Two Part- A/B Wood Bleach Kit
This side table was bleached using a similar wood bleaching kit.
And the last and perhaps my favorite method for wood bleaching is by using oven cleaner. Yes, oven cleaner. It acts as a stripping agent and works best on pieces that have a stain or varnish. It will not work on a painted surface. It’s a fairly simple process that works wonderfully in those pieces with intricate designs and hard to reach areas.
A couple of my personal takeaways from using oven cleaner are, make sure you are using the name brand Easy-Off Fume Free and not the off brands. They do not have the same stripping power. Be sure to have a water hose handy to hose down the furniture after allowing the cleaner to work its magic. Don’t be alarmed if it isn’t light enough after the first coating. Sometimes a second round is necessary, depending on the project.