How To Make And Use Two Part Wood Bleach

Two-part bleach is easy to use, and usually works very quickly. It can be quite hard to find a shop that sells this bleach, so I have written this article to tell you how make and use it yourself.  The two components of the bleach are labelled “A” and “B” and they are applied separately. Follow the instructions carefully.

What You Will Need:

What Are In The Two Parts?

Part A  Hydrogen Peroxide 3%

Part B “ A Solution containing Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Metasilicate and Borax

Before You Begin

Before you begin to bleach the wood you need to make up two solutions. The first solution is the bleach Part B, and the second is a borax solution which is used to neutralise, and stop, the bleaching process. Below are the instructions on how to make both of these.

How To Make Part B

To make 1 litre of Part B, in 1 litre of water dissolve:

  • 50g Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda)
  • 50g Sodium Metasilicate
  • 50g Borax

How To Make The Neutralising Borax Solution

Disolve 230g of borax in 1 litre of hot water.

Instructions

Try to apply the two solutions in equal amounts.

  1. Clean the wood, taking off any paint, varnish or dirt
  2. Apply Part A with a paint brush and leave it for roughly 10 minutes.
  3. While Part A is still wet, apply Part B with a paint brush and leave it for 1-2 hours.
  4. Wipe the bleached wood clean with a damp cloth, and then neutralize it with the borax solution . Rinse the wood with clean water, and dry it thoroughly.

One treatment usually bleaches the wood completely, but if the wood isn’t light enough, treat it again.

Post-Bleach Treatment

Treatment with any bleach raises the grain of the wood, even when the piece of furniture has already been thoroughly sanded. To prevent the raised grain from affecting the finish, it must be sanded to the level of the wood surface after the wood is dry.

After bleaching, let the piece of furniture dry for at least two days. Then sand the grain down lightly with grade 5/0 or 6/0 sandpaper; be careful not to roughen the surface. Because there may still be some chemical residue in the wood, wear a breathing mask and use a vacuum to remove sanding dust. Wipe the wood clean with a tack cloth.

One other complication of bleaching is that the wood may be left with a whitish or greyish colour. This is not serious; it indicates that the bleach has dried out the fibres of the wood surface. On hard woods, it disappears when the finish is applied. On soft woods, the gray colour may be pronounced and the loose fibres obvious. To remove them, rub the wood firmly along the grain with No. 000 steel wool; rub the entire bleached area, and make sure the colour is even. The greyish cast will disappear completely when the finish is applied.

Tips

  • It is a good idea to apply the bleach to a small area first to see the results.
  • Use protective equipment (goggles and rubber gloves) when creating part b and also when applying the solution as there are very strong chemicals contained in it.
  • Store Part A (Hydrogen Peroxide) in a cool shady area as sunlight will break it down faster into water and oxygen.
  • Use a seperate paint brush for Part A and Part B, as you want them to react on the wood, not on the brush.

Buy Sodium Hydroxide

Buy Borax

Buy Sodium Metasilicate

 

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22 thoughts on “How To Make And Use Two Part Wood Bleach

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  20. eric dockum says:

    excellent article, but one problem. In the EU they have banned Borax on general sale, and now are selling “Borax Substitute”, which is Sodium sesquicarbonate.

    Any idea if this stuff will work, or is it going to be a trial and error? As the Borax is used to neutralise in your wood bleach, I am concerned to have ineffective neutralisation at the end which will effect the finished article.

    Thanks,
    Eric

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