Tool Tip #27: Removing Iron stains from timber

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 03-10-2017 01:36 AM 3507 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 26: HDPE in the Planer Thicknesser Part 27 of Tool Tip series Part 28: Jointing timber using a bandsaw. »

OK first up acknowledgements to Mark Wilson for educating me on removing iron stains from naills in wood using Oxalic Acid.

I thought I may be able to use common household products according to information I read on the internet so after visiting under the sink I set to work.

I did three tests with the same test sample offcut


results no change. Active ingredients not disclosed apart from not containing any phosphates

Mould Away

Results no change Active ingredients Sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorate

and Toilet Cleaner,

Results no change. Active ingredients Hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid.
( I remember bleaching my hair with hydrogen peroxide some 40 years ago so I thought this would at least work!)

All failed to produce any noticable or effective results, apart from the timber may be cleaner in the test area.

So off I went on the pushie and bought some Oxalic Acid specifically designed as a rust and stain remover on timber and masonry

The Oxalic Acid active ingredients 100% w/w Oxalic Acid

The first test

The first test produced no change so I read the instructions again and repeated the test and left the solution in place for 10 minutes more


The second Oxalic acid test

Oxalic Acid produced the best results, however it did not remove the stain entirely.

It may be that the test sample area was contaminated my me using gunk reported to work on the internet, again inconclusive.

-- Regards Rob

7 comments so far

View tomd's profile


2216 posts in 4370 days

#1 posted 03-10-2017 03:07 AM

Have you tried lemon juice ?

-- Tom D

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2804 days

#2 posted 03-10-2017 07:51 AM

Hello Tom,

I read about it in my “fact” finding exercise on the net along both everybodies favorite Bi Carb of soda but havent got to test it out yet

-- Regards Rob

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2695 posts in 1663 days

#3 posted 03-10-2017 10:03 AM

Incidentaly: You know that Clover-like substance that, mebbees, grows in your yard that you don’t like? That stuff that’s identified on the weed killer labels as “Undesirable Clover”? That’s Oxalis. The very stuff from which the substance is derived.
Oxalis is by far the largest genus in the wood-sorrel family Oxalidaceae: of the approximately 900 known species in the Oxalidaceae, 800 belong here. The genus occurs throughout most of the world, except for the polar areas; species diversity is particularly rich in tropical Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.
Don’t eat it. Or sprinkle the powder on you waffles.

-- Mark

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2804 days

#4 posted 03-10-2017 10:42 AM

OMG its the bain of my gardening life the rotten little weed has a cluster bomb type of seed pod and if you dont get it all out in one undisturbed go its away again.

I am getting on top of it though.

Instead of sending them on a council paid holiday I might just start processing them instead, and put them to good use

-- Regards Rob

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2607 days

#5 posted 03-10-2017 12:36 PM

I wonder if the oxalic acid worked best because you had “pre-soaked” three times with the other products first, which loosened the stain/iron?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3469 posts in 4312 days

#6 posted 03-10-2017 07:33 PM


Have you tried Iron Out? It contains sodium hydrosulfite and sodium bisulfite. It works great on iron stains from well water that leaves iron stains on bathroom fixtures, clothing, etc.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2804 days

#7 posted 03-10-2017 08:20 PM

JoeinGa and L/W

I have no doubt your comment has merit as I found the timber was definately “cleaner” even if the stain did remain unchanged.
The inconclusive part is, was it just water and the detergent properties of the chemicals and nothing else or did they actually do something from the active ingredents.

The other unknown is what secondary effect they would have on surface finishing products, again unknown at this stage.

Thanks for the information on Iron Out, its possibly not available in Australia however after checking around I found a product made here called K2R is so its something you have prompted me to go check out.

Thank you both.

-- Regards Rob

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