How To Get Rid Of Wood Stain Smell [10 Fast & Easy Ways]

In the article, we will tell you how to get rid of wood stain smell or reduce it using various methods. After repairs in a house or apartment, in which paint and wood stain materials were used, the smell remains for a long time.

Steps To Remove Wood Stain Smell:

  1. Open windows and turn on any exhaust fans in the stained room to ventilate odors. Leave windows open as long as the weather permits.
  2. If no exhaust fan, use box fans or air purifiers to circulate air throughout the room and help stain odors dissipate. Place fans in windows blowing outwards.
  3. Fill small containers such as bowls with baking soda and place them throughout the stained area, including on or inside any stained furniture.
  4. Let fans and windows remain open for 8-12 hours. The baking soda and air movement will start absorbing the wood stain smells.
  5. After this time, turn off fans but leave windows open overnight if the temperature allows.
  6. Check back the next morning. If the wood stain smell persists, replace the baking soda with activated charcoal powder or vinegar-soaked cotton balls and let sit for another 8 hours.
  7. Ventilate again overnight and recheck the next day. Repeat the charcoal/vinegar method as needed until the odor is gone, allowing full ventilation between each treatment.
  8. Only apply topcoat or sealant once the wood is completely smell-free to avoid trapping odors.
Important Advice!
One point to remember from now on is that any substance that absorbs wood stain smell must be disposed of!
You cannot reuse the coffee, vinegar or any other natural substance that you use for this task.

10 Ways To Remove Wood Stain Odor

1. Ventilation

One of the simplest methods of removing wood stain smell is to ventilate the room for a long time. If it happens in the winter, you have to leave the house for a few days. Remember to leave all windows wide open. Upon returning, you will be convinced that the stain has completely dried and the wood stain smell has completely disappeared.

The most popular and easiest option is to open all interior doors and windows for a day. An additional advantage of this solution is that the wood stain, which might not have dried completely, will definitely dry out during this time.

The first step is the most obvious: ventilation. Take advantage of all possible openings and open them to force cross ventilation and eliminate the wood stain smell. The fresh air will make everyday life easier in the newly stained house whether it’s hot or cold. 

In an apartment or house, windows and doors are wide open. Windy weather speeds up the process. In case of calm weather, a fan is used. It accelerates the distribution of fresh air throughout the room. Can be installed so that the wind passes through the entire apartment or house.

As we know in winter it is difficult to sleep with the windows fully open, let’s go to the following tips, which can be done with the windows half-open or closed.

If you want to remove oil based stains from wood, this article is the best guide you can follow!

Ventilate using an Air conditioner

The first thing I did was turn the AC unit to the dehumidify setting. This helps pull moisture from the air, along with any lingering stain vapors. I also set the vent to circulate directly over the freshly stained project.

Within a day, I started noticing a difference. As the cool, dry air swept through the room, it seemed to dissolve the sharp edges of the smell. By the second day, the stain odor had softened considerably.

After a few more days of continuous AC use, the smell had faded to a faint hint that was barely noticeable. I was amazed at how well the dehumidifying and air circulation worked.

Please note that the power of the cleaning system in different air conditioners is not the same. If an inexpensive device is primarily intended to adjust the microclimate in an apartment, it can take a long time to remove a strong wood stain smell.

Ventilate using an Air humidifier

When I’ve just finished a large staining job and my workshop is filled with that sharp, chemical smell, I know it’s time to break out the humidifier.

I start by placing a large humidifier in the center of the room. I choose one with a powerful output that can saturate the entire space. Then I set it to its highest misting setting and let it run continuously.

Within a day, I notice a visible difference. The fine mist created by the humidifier seems to grab hold of odor molecules floating in the air. It’s amazing to watch as the humidified air helps scrub away the sharp edges of the stain smell.

Over subsequent days, I keep the humidifier running around the clock. With each passing hour, the smell softens even more. What was once a strong, pungent odor fading into a faint, almost imperceptible hint.

Their downside is that the effect is short-lived. For a long-term effect, a long-term implementation of the methods is required: from a couple of days to a week.

Important Advice!
You should let all of the household remedies presented work for a few hours and, if necessary, renew them if the smell of the wood stain has not sufficiently disappeared. After use, throw away the home remedies.

2. Baking Soda

get rid of unwanted wood stain odors using baking soda

Baking soda is a good absorbent and therefore excellent for getting rid of wood stain smell.

When I’m finishing a project and the room is filled with that sharp chemical smell, I know it’s time to break out the boxes.

I open up several baking soda boxes and place them around the stained surfaces, making sure to get some near any fans or air purifiers that are circulating the air. Then I just let the baking soda work its magic. Being alkaline, it helps counteract the acidic nature of the drying solvents in the stain.

Within a day, I usually notice a huge difference. That pungent aroma has softened, as the tiny baking soda particles work tirelessly to absorb the odor molecules. A few days later, the room smells almost neutral again. By replacing the boxes every couple of days, the smell dissipates even quicker each time.

Once I can no longer catch a whiff of the prior stain scent, I know the curing process is complete. It’s really amazing to me how something as simple as baking soda can be so effective at removing those stubborn smells.

I don’t recommend to sprinkle the powder over hard-to-reach wood places and surfaces, where it will be too difficult to remove the soda later. The baking soda is left all night and should be removed with a vacuum cleaner in the morning.

While working with wood stain did you also stained your clothes ? Following this step by step guide will show you how to remove wood stain from clothes!

3. White Vinegar

It is very fashionable to use white vinegar. It is that it is one of the greatest natural disinfectants, odor neutralizers, lighteners and stain removers. This is due to its acidic components that fight from bacteria to grease and bad odors. 

This household acid works great for treating many of the challenging odors around the house. You just have to prepare 4 bowls and pour half a cup of white vinegar inside them.

Place the containers at key points to better surround the entire piece of furniture. Leave the vinegar bowls there for 2-3 days before doing a smell test to see if the wood stain smell has been removed.

Let’s see how to use vinegar to remove wood stain smell:

  1. Find several small wide-mouth containers.
  2. Pour enough white vinegar inside them, it can be pure or mixed with water.
  3. Disperse them by placing them in various areas of the house where the wood has been stained while opening the windows.
  4. Wait all day for this smell to dissipate or leave them there overnight.
  5. After there are no traces left simply throw them down the drain.

4. Coffee

Using Coffee grounds to absorb wood stain odors

Coffee grounds absorb odors very well, especially those of paint and wood stain. All you have to do is put some on a plate or other container, and place it in the center of the repainted room. 

If the room is very large, pour the marc into saucers, which you will place at the 4 corners of the room. In both cases, renew the contents regularly, until the complete dissipation of odors. 

  1. Start by putting on some gloves to work and don’t leave any leftovers.
  2. Find a bag of pure coffee beans of the best you can get.
  3. Using a grinder (or a coffee bean grinder) crush and separate the beans until they are finely ground.
  4. Using two or more bowls (depending on the width of your painted room) pour in the half-pulverized coffee pieces.
  5. These coffee grounds should be placed in the corners of the newly stained rooms.
  6. Leave them overnight or until the wood stain smell dissipates..
  7. Then dispose of this coffee in a landfill.

You can also stain your wood using coffee. It’s an easy way to darken your furniture and here is how you can do it!

5. Onions

This method may sound strange, but it has been used successfully for generations to remove stain odor. Start by cutting a whole onion into quarters and placing each piece into a container. 

Next, fill these containers with a cup of water and place the bowls around the piece of furniture that smells like stain. The bowls have to be in the room for 2-3 days so that they absorb all the unwanted odors. 

Once this time has passed, do a smell test to make sure the smell is gone, then remove the bowls.

If you want to stain your wood surface like a professional follow this easy step by step guide I have created for you!

6. Salt

eliminate wood stain smell using salt

Another way to get rid of unwanted wood stain odors is to use regular table salt. It is used as follows: salt is thickly diluted in basins or buckets of warm water, and then containers are placed throughout the house.

Salt water absorbs unpleasant odors and helps to avoid a prolonged stench of stain in the room. If you put pots of salt water in the room in advance, even before the start of staining, the unpleasant wood stain smell will be much weaker.

7. Citrus Peels

using citrus peels to remove stain smell

Orange Peel

Just like onions, oranges do a good job of removing stain odor from furniture. Peel two oranges and place the peel into two separate bowls, then place them on the sides of the cabinet. 

Leave the orange peel-filled bowls for 48 hours before returning to the furniture piece to check if the wood stain smell has disappeared and remove the bowls.

Lemon Peel

The citrus scent seems quite light and unobtrusive, but at the same time helps to cope well with the unpleasant smell of wood stain. 

Several fresh lemon fruits should be thinly sliced, put on flat plates and placed along the walls around the room, the lemon will absorb the chemical stain smell and at the same time be able to flavor the room.

Lemon is unlikely to help cope with the strong aroma of fresh wood stain, so it is better to use it when the main odor has already disappeared. Most likely, you will have to use citrus fruits for 2-3 days in a row – as the slices dry out, they will have to be replaced with new ones.

Important Advice!
Attention! When purchasing aerosol or gel odor absorbers, carefully study the packaging. Often, ordinary fragrances are sold under the correct names and will not help to get rid of the smell of wood stain.

8. Activated Charcoal

To get rid of wood stain smell, use activated carbon or charcoal for the barbecue. You don’t need to do anything special with it, just divide it into containers or wide bowls and place them around the stained area of the house. Like water, this material has absorbent properties.

Even simple charcoal is ideal for getting rid of the wood stain smell in your house. For this procedure, you break up the charcoal into small pieces, place them carefully on a damp piece of kitchen roll and place everything together in a bucket. 

You set this up in the freshly painted room and leave it there overnight. In the next morning, the annoying smell of stain and paint is a thing of the past. The amount of charcoal you need depends on the size of the room. 

And be careful not to get too close to the freshly stained wood with the charcoal. Otherwise you will need to start over.

Lacquer can be easily removed from wood by following this step by step guide I’ve created!

9. Silica Gel

Best of its kind litter for cat litter in the form of granules, perfectly fighting unpleasant stain odors.

The plan of action is the same as in the case of charcoal. Silica Gel granules are distributed in containers and placed on the stained or painted area.

After the complete disappearance of the wood stain smell, the silica gel granules should be poured into the toilet and washed off.

10. Essential Oils

Essential oils are also a great solution to get rid of the smell of wood stain in a room or bedroom. 

It is very simple to use them: you need to soak several cotton pads with oil and distribute them throughout the stain furniture. You can also add a few drops of essential oil in some containers of water, or drop a few drops into the liquid for a humidifier.

We recommend mint or eucalyptus oil essences, as they are refreshing and discreet. 

The best idea is to use this tip along with one of the previous ones, as the oil is more efficient at covering the stain smell, not so much at eliminating it. They are perfect for living rooms, as they offer a pleasant aroma to the environment.

If you try to remove the strong smell of fresh wood stain with essential oil, it will give an ambiguous effect, most likely the stain smells will mix and lead to a headache.

Speaking of oils, maybe you want to remove linseed oil from furniture. In this case I have for you the best step by step guide how to do it!

Tips for Preventing Wood Stain Odor

  1. Choose the Right Stain – Water-based and low VOC stains will emit less smell compared to oil-based varieties. Look for stains marked as “non-toxic” or “low odor.”
  2. Work in a Well-Ventilated Area – Whether outdoors or inside with windows open, good airflow is key to preventing smells from lingering. Use fans to circulate air if needed.
  3. Use Proper Personal Protective Equipment – Gloves, respirators, and eye protection block inhalation and absorption of odor chemicals through the skin when staining.
  4. Apply Thin, Even Coats – Heavier applications will emit a stronger smell as they dry. Use a brush or rag to distribute a thin, even layer of stain.
  5. Allow Adequate Drying Time – Following instructions ensures the stain fully cures before additional coats. Rushing can cause the smell to intensify.
  6. Clean Up Spills Immediately – Wipe or scrape excess stains from surfaces and tools right away to avoid lingering odors setting in.
  7. Choose a Fast-Drying Finish – Topcoats like polyurethane, lacquer, or shellac that harden quickly help seal in smells from the stain layer.
  8. Test Small Area First – Trying a sample allows you to check for odor levels before tackling a large project. Make adjustments as needed.

How To Avoid Toxic Wood Stain Smell

You can avoid the spread of a strong smell of wood stain by following rules:

  • Much depends on the type of stain, so be careful when choosing a stain. Give preference to water-based wood stain products. They don’t smell as strong.
  • Tools used to stain the wood surface should be cleaned outside the home.
  • Carry out all staining work with windows open to minimize the negative effects of fumes on the body.
  • Store wood stain in a shed or basement. If this is not possible, tightly close the jars and wrap them in cellophane. You can store them in the bathroom or toilet, on a closed shelf.
  • It is easier to remove the stain smell in the house if textiles, clothes, and upholstered furniture are removed from the room before that. 
  • And what cannot be removed should be carefully wrapped in foil.


There are both simple, household remedies and more specialized products that can effectively remove lingering wood stain odors. Some options that work well include ventilation, baking soda, lemon juice, coffee grounds, charcoal, and commercial odor eliminators.

What’s nice is that many of these methods can be combined for better results. For example, placing bowls of baking soda around a room alongside trays of activated charcoal. Proper ventilation is also key, so be sure to air out the space before and during the odor removal process.


How long does it take for wood stain smell to disappear?

Depending on the type of wood stain you have used it will take more or less 72 hours for the smell to disappear. Wait at least 72 hours to return to a room that has been freshly stained, even if you can no longer smell wood stain fumes. Use an air purifier to help reduce VOC levels in the air.

Is the wood stain smell harmful?

Yes, the smell of wood stain is harmful to your health and can cause adverse effects, some of which may even take a major form in the long term. The greater the exposure to the toxic smell, the greater the effects. Inhalation of stain smell can lead to headaches, dizziness, vision problems, respiratory disorders.

Can I speed up the process of removing wood stain odor?

Yes, using techniques like ventilation, activated charcoal, baking soda, or air purifiers can help accelerate the dissipation of wood stain smells.

Can I re-stain the wood to cover up the smell?

Re-staining might not effectively cover up the smell. It’s advisable to address the root cause of the odor using methods like ventilation and odor absorbers before considering re-staining.

Adrian Tapu

Adrian is a seasoned woodworking with over 15 years of experience. He helps both beginners and professionals expand their skills in areas like furniture making, cabinetry, wood joints, tools and techniques. Through his popular blog, Adrian shares woodworking tips, tutorials and plans related to topics such as wood identification, hand tools, power tools and finishing.

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