Asked on Mar 15, 2018

How long do you leave stain on furniture before wiping away?

When applying stain how long do you leave it on furniture before wiping away? How long do you wait between coats?

  6 answers
  • Cindy Cindy on Mar 15, 2018

    Hi Venessa, You should wipe the stain off right after you apply it. I would wait at least 8 hours between coats but the directions on the can will tell you exactly. Best of luck to you.

  • Susan Susan on Mar 15, 2018

    For a light stain 15 minutes. For a deeper darker stain, 30 minutes.

  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Mar 15, 2018

    You can put stain on with a brush or a clean white cotton rag (I like to use old cut up t-shirts). I prefer using a rag. Just dip it in the stain and wipe with the grain. Then wipe back and forth so that it looks like a consistent amount on the whole piece. if your’re happy with that then you can let it dry according to the instructions on the stain label. I usually wait about 12 hours and touch it to see if it still feels tacky. If you want it darker you can immediately put some more on until you get the darkest color you want. Let dry per instructions. After drying, I go over with some fine 000 steel wool, because staining a piece can sometimes raise the grain in the wood and leave it feeling a little rough. Wipe off well with a tac cloth, Then coat with polyurethane. You may want to test this on a piece of scrap wood first. The gel stain is also an option. Hope this helps.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Mar 15, 2018

    I always wipe it off right away so that I don't go darker than I want, adding more layers will take time, but you will be sure to get the shade you want.

  • V Smith V Smith on Mar 16, 2018

    Check the color often. Hardwoods absorb stain slower. End grain stains darker.

  • Gale Allen Jenness Gale Allen Jenness on Mar 16, 2018

    I’ve been working with Lacquer stains for a good 40 plus years! Most the time it’s a wipe on and wipe off process right away unless you’re wanting a dark stain? Most people want the color but want to see the grain of the wood as well and the darker you make it the less you see the grain! I suggest start with applying your stain with a rag or brush and cover the whole area as quickly as possible in long even strokes. Then wipe it off immediately and see if you like how it looks? If it’s not dark enough it easy to put on more stain and let it sit just a little longer! Leaving it sit for 10-15 minutes if it’s a lacquer stain will usually make it very dark depending on the species of wood your staining and also how grainy the wood is? Like you can sand two boards cut out of the same long board and sand one with 120 grit sandpaper and the other boards sand down to 220 grit sandpaper and stain both board exactly the same stain for the same amount of time and your board you sanded down to 220 grit sandpaper will always have a lighter finish then the one sanded with 120 will be considerably darker! So there’s really a lot of variables when asking how long to stain? Each specifies of boards are different. Even the same species of boards can stain light on one board and do the same thing on the next board and it can be dark! Why the high quality shops not only grain match but color match their boards when their having to seam boards together to make a wider width! Unfortunately/sadly very few cabinet shops practice this at all and why when you look at their woodworking you can see where every joint is that stands out like a sore thumb. Especially to someone that grain match and color matches their materials on a daily basis!

    Comes down to it there’s no way anyone can give you a right or wrong answer to how long to stain a board. It’s a personal preference you need to decide for yourself how long to leave it on for the desired lightness or darkness you want? Best thing to do is take a scrap piece of wood for wanting to stain and practice with staining scape material sanded the same as your cabinet or other items your wanting to stain. Find what the right time to leave it on for yourself and don’t necessarily just take someone else advice! Otherwise you’ll end up with what they like, but not necessarily what you wanted?

    Also it depends on type of stains you use, whether it’s a lacquer or oil stain? If your a novice at staining? A oil stain is much easier to apply and not end up with light and dark spots from leaving the stain on too long in some areas while wiping the stain off too quickly in others! Lacquer stain takes a bit of practice and skill to get a perfect even color all the same lightness or darkness! It’s really not a stain you just throw at someone and say here do this! If you get you several scrape pieces and sand them up like their going to be a part of your project even though their not! Then practice staining several boards, your going to see exactly what I’m saying about staining with lacquer stains! It’s not as easy as just wipe it on and let it sit then wipe it off method! You’ll learn more practicing yourself then anyone can sit on here telling you to do this or that I promise you! There are no set rules! But remember it’s always easier to darken a stain then it is to lighten it if it’s too dark! Keep that in mind when staining! Once again, your oil stains are much easier to work with and will come out a consistent color in lightne or darkness. If you haven’t ever stained before you may consider a oil stain? If you want to add a glossy finish like a clear lacquer or varnish, etc.? You will want the oil stain to dry no less then 72 hours before applying any clear shinny finish! Where a lacquer stain can be sprayed with sanding sealer and lacquer in the first hour or so after staining Depending on humidity and temperature of the room?