How to Bleach Wood | Beachy Dresser Flip

Heather Cammack
by Heather Cammack
4 Materials
2 Hours

If you have a piece of furniture you would like to bring back to it's natural beauty, you may be interested in using bleach to remove stubborn staining. For this dresser makeover, I needed to remove the residual orange staining to get the lighter coastal vibe I envisioned.

I started out with this red/orange dresser that I picked up from the local thrift store. It was solid wood and in fairly good condition, so it had potential.

After sanding off the finish, the dresser was left this orange coloring. This was not the natural hue of the wood, but rather stubborn staining from the original finish.

I brushed on two even coats of regular Clorox laundry bleach, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Applying the bleach evenly is important to avoid splotching.

Once you are done bleaching, clean off the bleach with a wet rag.

After two coats of bleach, the dresser lightened to a color I was happier with. I added a light whitewash which I wiped off immediately just allowing the wash to settle into the cracks and crevices.

For a protective finish, I applied a water based polyurethane.

New drawer hardware from Amazon gave a nice contrast to the light natural wood.

If you would like to try bleaching the wood itself, you will need to pick up a wood bleaching product. However, to remove stubborn stains and save yourself hours of sanding, try regular household bleach.

Check out the video for the full tutorial.

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Heather Cammack
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  • Shuganne Shuganne on May 12, 2022

    Wow! This is a new technique for me. Thanks for sharing! If I wanted a more consistent wood color, could I add a third layer of bleach just on the darker grain areas?

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  • Gail Gail on May 11, 2021

    Very nice. Good idea. Well done.

  • Creative Moments Creative Moments on May 12, 2021

    love the look and the new hardware!!