Lighten pine wood - how does that work?

The desire to lighten up a piece of furniture or a floor made of pine wood pops up again and again. You can find out in detail how this works and what you can do in this article. In addition, which agents are particularly suitable for lightening pine wood.

Natural shade of pine wood

Pine wood is naturally yellowish to reddish. A special reddish color can be found in the area of the branches and also in the heartwood. The less valuable sapwood of the pine, on the other hand, has a slightly yellowish tone.

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Darkening of pine wood

The so-called "age tint" starts very early in pine, as in all coniferous woods. The darkening of branches and heartwood into a significantly reddish tone is even accelerated by the action of light (for example the floor in a light-flooded room). The sapwood, on the other hand, usually retains its color.

Reasons for lightening

  • Age tint of the pine wood
  • possibly also water stains or color deviations (due to use) on the wood
  • general desire for very light wood

Possible lightening agents

If you want to "bleach" wood a little, you can usually do this with different means. Not all agents get along equally well with pine wood, in case of doubt you should first check the effect on a similar sample. You can try:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Oxalic acid
  • Mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide in equal parts

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a very powerful bleach. In pharmacies you can usually get up to 12% hydrogen peroxide solutions, but you should start carefully with a 5% solution and apply it several times. After the treatment, the residues of hydrogen peroxide are converted into oxygen, so they do not need to be removed.

Oxalic acid

Oxalic acid, also known as clover acid, is also suitable for lightening and bleaching. However, the substance is extremely harmful to health and should only be used with caution. After the bleaching treatment, the oxalic acid must be neutralized by washing it off with warm water.

Mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide in equal parts

When you mix hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, a chemical reaction takes place. At this point the bleaching effect is very strong, after which it decreases significantly. A little more complicated to use than hydrogen peroxide alone, therefore less recommended for household use.

Important when using

  • When using bleach, it is essential to wear gloves, protective goggles and long-sleeved clothing, respiratory protection is recommended for oxalic acid
  • always test the bleaching effect on a test piece first
  • the wood must always be completely sanded down to the wood core beforehand (oiled wood: at least 1 - 2 mm!)
  • Pay attention to a very even application (otherwise differences in brightness are clearly visible, also avoid splashes), preferably with a surface brush
Tips & Tricks With the help of so-called "softwood lye" you can reliably protect pine and other softwoods from darkening - even beforehand. In the case of pine wood, however, such softwood lyes sometimes produce a slightly gray tone in the knot and core area of the wood, which should be considered before use and it is best to first check the result on a test piece.