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"Muriatic acid as wood bleach?"

 April 22, 2010

Q. Years ago, when my family moved into a lovely but somewhat rundown home, my father and I cleaned the oak woodwork with what he called muriatic acid.

Do you think muriatic acid is appropriate for this kind of work?

Corinne Anderson
- Lawrence, Kansas

Oxalic Acid /
Wood Bleach

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April 23, 2010

A. Hi, Corinne. It doesn't sound appropriate to me. It was, as you say, years ago and your memory may be playing a small trick. I do believe that oxalic acid is wood bleach though.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 22, 2013

RFQ: I am looking for someone who sells Oxalic Acid in the Boise/Treasure Valley area. And help would work. I have called several places and no one so far. Thank you

John H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- boise, Idaho

^- Sorry, this RFQ is outdated
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March 14, 2015

A. Being a professional finisher for thirty years, spanning this country and Greece, I was taught the finishing techniques that spanned a century. I have used muriatic acid many times, but safety guidelines are paramount. This is a volatile and dangerous material so take care. (See next paragraph: MSDS). The brand and company who make the solvent will send you directions for use and the safety data -- read it all before handling this material.

I am here to say that muriatic acid is a perfect wood bleach to reset the surface and cuticle of the wood to receive your color and finish treatments. Use this material outside and, if inside, must have a professional evacuation system for air because it can ignite inside an enclosed space as well as being a safety hazard to people and animals. Wear rubber chemical gloves, respirator and waterproof suit when handling this material. Also, contact tech support for the brand of material you buy for that specific product of directions/usage and MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet.)

When bleaching of wood is done, clean with lime and water to neutralize the remaining acid residual.

Of course, Cabot (who are the makers of Valspar), make two products that can help you: "Wood Cleaner" [linked by ed. to info on Amazon] and "Wood Brightener" [linked by ed. to info on Amazon].

Good luck.

Jean Ashton
- Traverse City, Michigan

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