How to Remove Oxidized Marks in Oak Wood

The oak tree has played a vital role in man's development from the very beginning to modern day.

Oxidation can leave wood looking gray and faded over time.Oxidation can leave wood looking gray and faded over time.
Used for food, shelter, warships and modern homes and decks, oak displays resilience and strength beyond many other types of wood. However, exposure to the elements, such as sunlight, wind and precipitation, will weather the oak, giving it a dull gray color over time. This process, known as oxidation, can leave small marks or can encompass the entire wood project, ruining the beauty of the wood. Bleaching the wood can remove oxidation marks and spots on the wood, returning it to its original look.

Pour 1 gallon of warm water into a garden pump sprayer.

Mix in 1 gallon liquid chlorine bleach. These bleaches contain a 5 percent sodium hypochlorite solution that will clean the oxidized areas without damaging the wood.

Pump the cleaning solution onto your discolored wood. Allow the solution to sit on the wood for up to 30 minutes. Do not let it dry completely on the wood surface.

Rinse the cleaning solution away with a garden hose or power washer set at or below 1,500 pounds per square inch (PSI). The added power of a pressure washer may help to remove any remaining oxidized marks.

Repeat the cleaning, if necessary, to remove the oxidation marks. The wood should return to its tan or dark brown color. If necessary, scrub stubborn areas with a stiff-bristle scrub brush soaked in the cleaning solution.

Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Pump sprayer
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Hose or power washer
  • Scrub brush

Tip

  • Stronger bleach products, with up to 15 percent sodium hypochlorite, are available through cleaning supply companies, and stronger chlorine solutions can be found at swimming pool supply retailers. Use these stronger solutions only if the weaker bleach fails to clean the wood.

Warning

  • Bleach will discolor fabrics and is harmful if ingested. Keep pets and children away from the bleach and cleaning solution. Do not spray bleach onto plants or grass, as it will kill vegetation.

About the Author

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.