Reclaimed wood is gorgeous, full of character – and usually very dirty. The first step to using reclaimed wood in a DIY or woodworking project is to get the wood in tip-top condition and clean reclaimed wood so it glows. And that means cleaning it well. Reclaimed wood looks stunning when it’s treated right. Find out how to clean your reclaimed wood so you get the best results from your reclaimed wood project.
All you need are a few cleaning supplies, some energy, and a little time. Have fun cleaning your reclaimed wood!
Look at Your Wood
Take a look at your pile of old wood and see if there are any nails in the wood or any tacks. Take out the nails as a first step if the wood is littered with them. Or take out the nails individually as you clean them if there are only a few. Of course, you may want to leave tacks and nails in the wood as this can add character to the finished project. Make sure you knock nails right in and sand down tacks if you are leaving them in the wood.
Collect Your Cleaning Supplies
You need a scrub brush with a comfortable handle, a toothbrush or a special grout brush, a bucket, some dishwashing detergent, rubber gloves, garden hose, a pair of sawhorses or something to rest planks on, and a surface for drying.
Set Up Your Work Station
Put your reclaimed wood onto sawhorses or use something else to hold them above the ground and level. Find the place where you will dry the wood – it needs to be semi-level and relatively clean. And finally, make sure you clean your wood on a sunny, dry day. Wood dries much better in the sunshine and you don’t want wood to stay damp for long as this can cause warping. Set up your planks of reclaimed wood on the sawhorses.
Mix Your Cleaning Solution
Use around one cup of dishwashing detergent mixed with enough water in the bucket – usually around 5 gallons in the typical bucket. Make sure that the mixture is soapy enough to really get rid of all the grime.
Scrub Your Boards
Dip the scrubbing brush in the solution and the scrub all over the reclaimed wood. Pay attention to all sides. Make sure that you re-dip the brush often, paying particular attention to the tongue and groove parts – here is where you can use the toothbrush to get into smaller, more difficult to reach places. It is best to rinse the boards off as soon as possible after you have scrubbed them. Get rid of all the soap. Then place the boards onto the drying space or the drying rack and hope for a sunny spell to dry the wood.
Drying the Boards
It takes around two to six hours for reclaimed wood to dry in the sun, although this will depend on how hot the day is. Be careful not to let the boards bake in very hot sun for a long period as this will cause warping. Store your wood in a cool, dry place indoors once the planks are dry. Keep the wood off the floor with blocks if you are storing it in an outhouse in order to prevent damp seeping into the wood. You don’t want the wood to get moldy.
It’s simple! That’s the process of how to clean reclaimed wood. It really just takes a little elbow grease and your wood will look amazing. Get started today with your reclaimed wood so you can turn reclaimed wood into interesting wood projects.