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How to Use Citristrip Stripping Gel

Must read tips and tricks to removing stain from a wood table using citristrip, bleach, and sanding. Removing dark stain can be done, but it is a messy process so just be patient with this project.

Citristrip to Remove Wood Stain Colors

Citristrip worked great to remove paint on my banister, but it was a struggle to remove the residue.

Before I tried using Citristrip gel again, I tried sanding and laundry bleach to lighten the stain on my table.

Sanding was a dusty mess and only removed small sections of stain, so I decided to try bleach.

After researching bleach tips, I applied the bleach then wiped the table with vinegar to neutralize it.

I was left with a squeaky clean table and the exact same stain color that I started with.

Since Citristrip removed paint on my banister, I figured it would be my best option to remove stain from my kitchen table.


How to Use Citristrip Gel

Citristrip gel is not my favorite product to use because it is messy, but it does get the job done.

It will remove your stain, but it will take a while to clean the gunk off.

You may need more than one coat of the gel to completely remove wood stain.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to clean up the gel and remember to be patient.

It is strongly recommend to work in a ventilated area and wear personal protective equipment.

Also make sure to place drop cloths underneath your working space as the Citristrip can drip.

citristrip stripping gel

Remember to use painters tape to protect any areas on the wood that should not be stripped.

Now it is time to grab a paint brush or rag to apply a thick coat of Citristrip to your piece of wood.

Items Required to Remove Stain:

Citristrip Tips

Wearing gloves use a brush to liberally apply the Citristrip gel then leave it for at least 30 minutes or up 24 hours.

Not much will happen in 30 minutes, so I recommend letting the Citristrip sit as long as you can.

After applying a thick coat of the gel, cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying.

Before removing the gel, test a smaller area to see if the stain starts to lift off your project.

I let the Citristrip sit for about 3 hours before scrapping it off frantically with a plastic putty knife.

Removing Citristrip Gel

The reason I was frantic was because I forgot how messy it is to remove the gel.

I was working on this table in the kitchen because it was too heavy to take outside.

My kids needed to be picked up in an hour and I still had Citristrip everywhere.

Clearly I did not think this through because it took me a while to remove all the Citristrip residue.

Luckily I ended up cleaning it all off in time, but the wood stain color only looked slightly lighter than when I started.

I definitely should of left the Citristrip on much longer and gave me self more time for this project.


Tips to Removing Citristrip

After scrapping as much gel and stain from your piece of furniture, you will need a paint stripper wash.

A paint stripper wash removes the residue left behind from the stripping gel.

If the wash did not completely prep the surface for painting or stain, you can try mineral spirits.

Additional Coat of Gel

If you still have large sections of stain that won’t budge, you should try another thick layer of Citristrip.

I had small sections of stain that the gel did not completely remove, but I did not feel motivated to scrape the gunk off again.

Another coat of Citristrip stripping gel would of done the trick, but I decided to give the table a light sanding instead.

Most projects require 2 coats of gel to completely the stain, so be patient because the prep work is worth it.

Sanding Wood Stain

This project was taking much longer than I anticipated and I was really over it.

I was at that point that I was just going to stain the table the same orange wood stain color to fix the table.

After stepping away from this project for a week, I decided to try again to remove the original stain.

I grabbed my hand sander and coarse sandpaper then made a plastic draped tent around my kitchen table.

Sanding was the last option, but I knew it would work with a lot of effort.

wood stain

It took me about an hour to sand the entire top surface of my kitchen table, but it removed most of the wood stain color.

Instead of using a light wood stain color, I decided to go with my favorite 2 part wood stain mentioned above.

Lighten Wood Stain Color with Wood Bleach

If you would rather not use Citristrip, you could try using laundry bleach method.

I built my own kitchen table and it came out great, but the stain was not the right color.

The stain color was more orange than I preferred, so I tried to bleach the wood to lighten it.

After doing a lot of research I decided to try using the recommend laundry bleach to lighten my table.

I carefully followed the recommended instructions to clean the wood then wipe the entire table down with a coat of bleach.

wood bleach

Apply Vinegar and Water

After waiting a few hours, I came back to a really clean table but the table was the exact same color.

Next I had to wipe the entire table down with vinegar and water to neutralize the wood.

I stepped back to look at the table and it didn’t look like the stain color budged at all.

If you had better luck with the bleach method than I did, let me know because I clearly need tips!

Since the bleach didn’t work for me, I decided to try Citristrip stripping gel to remove the stain.

Worth the End Result!

I will be honest, I felt defeated with this kitchen table project because it took me so long to finish.

My table turned out really nice in the end, so it was worth all the trouble.

The table might not be that great, but I really appreciated the effort that went into the project.


Take your time with your project, so you don’t feel burned out like I did.

DIY doesn’t always go as planned and isn’t as easy as the videos you see.

Stick with it and enjoy the process of DIY instead of rushing to get the project done!

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