How to Remove Ink From Raw Lumber

Lumber companies place ink marks on wood to provide information about the lumber, including where it was cut. If you are going to paint over the wood with a dark color, removing the ink is unnecessary. For wood with a natural look or light stain, the ink mark should be removed. You can do this in several ways.


Step 1

Create a solution of 1 part water and 1 part of regular household bleach. 

Step 2

Dip a rag into the solution.  Rub the solution into the ink mark on the wood.

Step 3

Allow the solution to sit for five minutes. 

Step 4

Remove the ink with a scrub brush.  Scrub in the direction of the wood grain.

Step 5

Rinse the wood with clear water.  Allow it to dry completely.


Step 1

Pour paint thinner onto a rag.  Rub the paint thinner into the ink marking with the rag.

Step 2

Allow the paint thinner to soak into the ink for 10 minutes. 

Step 3

Sand the lumber in the direction of the grain with a palm or hand sander and fine-grit sandpaper . 

Step 4

Wipe the area clean with a damp rag. 


Step 1

Mix a solution of borax and water.  Dip a rag into the solution and rub it onto the ink mark.

Step 2

Allow the solution to soak into the lumber for five minutes. 

Step 3

Scrub the moistened area in the direction of the wood's grain, using a scrub brush, to remove the ink. 

Step 4

Rinse the area with clear water and allow it to dry. 

Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Rag
  • Scrub brush
  • Paint thinner
  • Sander, palm or hand
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Borax


  • You might be able to remove the ink with paint thinner and a steel wool pad if the ink is only on the surface.
  • Borax is a common laundry cleaner.
  • Repeat any of the above methods multiple times for stubborn or really deep ink marks.


  • Don't sand too long or too hard in the same place. You could remove more wood than you want.

About the Author

John Smith is a writer with over 30 years experience. He has worked at a newspaper, various magazines and websites, and he has interests in a wide range of subjects including sports, politics and entertainment. Smith earned a bachelor's degree in history from the College of New Jersey.

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