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How to Bleach Furniture

There are a few methods I’ll walk you through on how to bleach furniture.  Bleaching wood furniture is a fun way to refinish and remove red/orange tones from older furniture pieces.  Bleaching wood gives a very washed out (beachy-vibe) finish to wood and I am loving this look!  

When choosing to bleach wood furniture it is important to remember, depending on the wood and the finish the results can vary significantly!  Before starting to bleach your wood furniture, you will need to strip the wood of any finish and stain.  There are several methods to do this at well including using a stripping solution and/or sanding. 

These are three different methods that I have tried and used to bleach wood furniture when trying to achieve my desired finish.

Method One: Household Bleach

how to bleach furniture

Using household bleach is honestly my preferred method!  Its just such an inexpensive option and I have had great results! 

To use this method you just use a disposable paint brush and wipe the bleach directly on to your stripped wood.  

I have found that using the sunlight to help in this process is key!  Wipe the bleach onto the wood and then set the piece directly in the sun to dry.  You can repeat this process as many times as you like to continue to lighten the wood as much as you’d want to.  I have found 5 coats to be a good sweet spot. 

After you complete the bleaching process, make sure to neutralize the bleach by wiping on a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.  

Method Two: Easy Off Oven Cleaner

Yes, you read that right!  Oven cleaner! 

Apply the oven cleaner directly to the wood and leave to sit for 20-30 minutes.  Different than the household bleach process, you do not want to set your wood with the over cleaner sprayed on it directly in sunlight – this will dry the oven cleaner too quickly.  

After the 20-30 minutes you will need to scrub and wash the wood surface.  I used a soft scrub brush and a mixture of water with a little bit of dish soap to clean my piece off.  

Once cleaned off, the wood will appear dark since it is wet.  But don’t worry!  Now is when you should set your piece into directly sun light and leave it to dry.  As it dries the piece will lighten. 

methods to bleach furniture

Method Three: Two Part Wood Bleach

How to bleach furniture

If you are looking for a quick option, this is the product for you.  Just as the name states, two part wood bleach comes with a Part A sodium hydroxide solution and a Part B hydrogen peroxide solution.  

This is an easy product to use, you simply wipe on Part A and let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then you wipe on Part B and leave the piece to sit and dry for several hours.  

I have found you will see the greatest change with this method with just one application. 

Quick Tips!

  • Use the sunlight to help in the bleaching process!
  • Follow safety precautions as outlined on each of the different products.
  • Make sure to neutralize & clean your piece after completing the bleaching process prior to finishing with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution. 
  • Lightly sand the wood with 220 grit sandpaper after bleaching and neutralizing. 
  • For best results, always remove the finish prior to bleaching.
  • Remember, results will depend on the wood and the old finish previously applied to the wood.
how to bleach furniture
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Check out this DIY Vanity Flip we did by bleaching the drawers!

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How to Bleach Wood Furniture

Prep Time 1 hour
Build Time 8 hours
Dry Time 1 day


  • Palm Sander


  • Rags/Sponges
  • Disposable Paint Brushes
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper
  • Bleach/Bleach Solutions
  • White Vinegar


  • Strip Furniture of its old finish.
  • Apply Bleach/Bleaching Solution
  • Repeat Step 2 until you reached desired color.
  • Finish the wood as desired!
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