Reactive stains (also known as “active stains” or “chemical stains”) are considered to be the start of a revolution in color development and application for wood floors. This type of staining technique uses a pigment-free, water-based organic mineral solution that utilizes naturally occurring compounds in wood to create new colors. Unlike pigments in traditional stains, reactive stains use a selection of specific chemicals that mix with (or “react” to) the tannins, extractives, sugars, or cellulose in the wood to alter the color from the inside.

Reactive stains are a great way to make wood look older because they can duplicate the changes in the color of wood after it gets exposed to nature. Also, by harnessing a natural reaction from an organic mineral solution, you can get multiple layers of different colors to give your wood floor a truly stunning, artisanal, and creative look.

It should be noted that in using reactive stains, it can be difficult to predict the outcome. You might not get the same result each time you apply a reactive stain to your wood floor, so you should probably use a reactive stain for all of your hardwood floors at the same time. If you’re not happy with the reactive stains, there are ways you can remove them from your wood floor. It’s a great idea to get professional advice before you attempt to remove your stain, so reach out to the professionals at Unique Flooring, the specialists in floor refinishing and floor installation Carlsbad homeowners trust for high-quality service and expertise.

Before trying any other removal method, it’s a good idea to try sanding off the wood stain first. Sanding is one of the most common stain-removal methods, and it allows you to quickly cut right through the stain and open up a new layer of wood. It’s best to gradually sand so you don’t remove more wood than you intended. Even if sanding doesn’t completely remove the stain, you’ll likely get most of the stain out of the wood, which will often make another type of removal easier to perform.

Sometimes sanding isn’t a viable option. If so, try to strip the wood instead. Stripping is a fast removal method, and it often takes away little or none of your wood flooring. Use a liquid or gel stripper to soak and loosen the stain in the finish. Alternatively, you can use a heat gun. In any event, once the stain has loosened sufficiently, try scraping off the stain.

Before you try to bleach all the wood from which you’re seeking to remove the reactive stain, select a small trial area and experiment there with the bleach. If the bleach doesn’t adequately remove the stain, you’ll have to try a different bleach. Basically, there are three types of bleaches you can use: oxalic acid, peroxide (“two-part” bleach), and chlorine bleach. It’s usually best to start with oxalic acid. The good thing about oxalic acid is that it can remove virtually any discoloration without detracting from the natural color of the wood. If that doesn’t do the trick, try using chlorine. Peroxide should be your last resort.

Using a Rag
Here’s how to remove a stain with a rag in four simple steps: First, you’ll need to soak a cotton rag with hydrogen peroxide. Second, put the wet rag on the stain and allow it to soak into the wood, which will ultimately bleach out the stain. Third, remove the rag, and wipe up any excess hydrogen peroxide. Fourth, let the wood floor dry out.

Many homeowners love the look they get with reactive stain, but it may not be the best choice for every type of hardwood flooring. Carlsbad homeowners should consult with the professionals at Unique Flooring for more information about staining or any other aspect of caring for their hardwood floors. For expert advice, drop by our showroom any time or give us a call at 760-454-1436.