One of the most frequently asked questions is about changing the color of the furniture, table and any wooden home appliances. Usually, women are the main target audience in this segment due to their interest in this type of changes. We’ve prepared a great article on how to darken wood without stain.

In such cases, people who have problems with the colors of their wooden appliances, will search on the Internet to find a solution related to this subject.

The wood stain does not just change the color of wood, but it also helps to protect the surface from watermark, scratches, environmental damage and highlights the lovely natural grain of the wood.

But do you know how to darken wood without buying commercially available stains? Well, we have an answer to this question.

Understand the Type of Wood

Suppose you are one of the people who have problems with this and want to change the color of your wooden home appliances. To begin with, you need to know what kind of wood you’re going to change the color of.

MDF, Natural Wood or Plywood? What is the type of wood (Hardwood & softwood)? If it is MDF, is it a painted raw MDF or laminated one? Understanding wood types can help you determine the type of stain.

Natural Staining Wood

Chemical and commercially-prepared stains are costly and some may even contain harmful ingredients like solvents and VOCs, so these are unsafe for men, kids, and even pets. In addition, they will only harm your lovely wooden furniture pieces.

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This article shows you how to make wood paint from natural materials which can be found in your own home. They are not only very effective in staining the wood but they are quite usable and very affordable.

These stains are as durable as commercial stains and you can easily darken different wooden projects.

The Materials and Tools You Will Need

You can use different natural-colored materials like tea and coffee for staining wood. Some of these methods can be found on the Internet. But the problem with this method is that if it’s exposed to sunlight, they may fade away and do not have the required quality. Here we show you a method that uses a combination of acid and metal that won’t get you through the problem we just mentioned above.

The materials and tools you will need are:

  • Steel wool pad
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • White vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Rusty nails
  • Glass can with lid
  • Paintbrush
  • Clean Rag

How to Darken Wood Without Stain – Using Natural Household Stain

Here we show you how to darken wood without stain. You need to do the following steps for staining the wood with natural household stains:

#1: Prepare the Surface of the Wood

If the wood surface is already painted, you need to clear the previous color. There are two ways to do this:

  • Use white vinegar: Do not forget gloves, glasses, and masks. Apply the white vinegar with a brush, and after about two minutes or as soon as the paint has softened, wipe off with a spatula or soft wire brush. Once the paint has been cleaned, the raw structure is ready to apply any color you want.
  • Clear color using sanding: In this way, you should have devices such as Random orbital sander, or sandpaper and using these tools, clear the primary color. In this way, sandpaper will usually lose its effectiveness very soon. In other words, there is no choice if you don’t have a random orbital sander, you have to use sandpapers even if they lose their effectiveness soon.

#2: Making The Stain

At this step, you need to start making the stain. To do this, you need a metal material such as a steel wool pad or rusty nails.

Find a glass or plastic can and pour the steel pad or rusty nails into it. Then add the vinegar to the can to completely cover the steel pad. Close the lid of the can and let the chemical reaction to proceed slowly.


Wait until twenty-four hours and then take the steel wood pad out of the can to stop the reaction. You’ll see that the color of the solution is completely dark. However, if you leave the steel pads soaked in vinegar for a longer time, you get a darker stain.


#3: Staining

Brush the mixture on a piece of wood to test it. Let it to completely dry for a day to see the effect. If you find that the stain is lighter, apply another one. Use a clean brush or a soft, dry and clean rag to apply the wood stain. Keep in mind to apply the stain when the weather is sunny so you can take out your wooden home appliances to dry completely.

The Science Behind Natural Wood Stain Techniques

Here, let’s talk a little bit about the science behind the natural-staining of woods. This method uses a chemical reaction to make the stain. Iron materials dissolve in vinegar (acetic acid) and form a soluble substance called iron acetate.

When this colored soluble is applied to wood, the iron acetate reacts with the natural tannins (a class of astringent, polyphenolic biomolecules that bind to and precipitate proteins and various other organic compounds including amino acids and alkaloids) found in the wood, producing a variety of shades of dark colors such as brown, gray and black.

See what is wood made of?

This is more than just a physical changing in the wood. Therefore, two chemical reactions are being used in this method:

  • A chemical reaction between iron and acid to make the stain
  • A chemical reaction between stain and wood


In this article, we explained that you can darken wood without using commercial stains and just by using natural products like vinegar and steel wool pads or rusty nails.

There are two advantages to learn how to darken wood without stain:

  • Creating a non-toxic dark and environmentally safe stain
  • Saving money on buying commercial stains


  1. Pingback: 3 Cheap DIY Wood Headboard Ideas | Wood Dad

  2. Well this was click bait. All the options involved some form of stain which is stain. What about sunlight exposure, heat etc.

    • Mostafa Dehghan Reply

      Yes, you are right, we mean commercial stain

  3. Terri L Ebidon Reply

    Do you need to use all 3 types of vinegar or just one of them? If all 3, what is the ratio?
    thank you

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