how to darken wood naturally
Kristina Davis

Are you looking to know how to darken wood naturally? Are you stuck between choosing which ones to use and which ones not to?

Now, you should not. This article intends to lift you from that dilemma.

Darkening wood naturally is not an impossibility. In fact, you can do it yourself without having to dip into your pockets to pay anyone.

It is such a slight task with the right ideas and procedures to guide you through.

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This article highlights 10 Do it Yourself tips to guide you through darkening wood naturally without the aid of any artificial means that may be expensive and not durable.

To darken wood naturally, you can use coffee/tea, or use a blend of vinegar and metal

Why Would You Darken Wood?

why darken wood

At some point, it will be necessary that you darken your wood if you are to get the best user results out of them.

Wood may be exposed to destructive conditions and one way to ensure it remains of good quality is by darkening it.

Below are reasons that provide for darkening wood.

To Prevent the Wood from Rotting

The main reason why people darken wood is to prevent it from rotting.

Darkening wood adds a protective coating or sealing to guard it against being eaten by termites, molds, and mildew.

Rotting exposes the wood to the danger of collapsing if used in construction. Darkening is the ultimate treatment to prevent rotting and make wood visually impressive.

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Cost-Efficient for Walking Surfaces

cost efficient

The wood used for flooring can be darkened to promote its color.

Darkening this wood removes the obvious timber color to make it shinier and appealing to the eye.

Protects the Wood from Sun and Moisture

If wood is left exposed to sun and moisture, this could be detrimental. Moisture promotes rotting, while excessive sunlight quickens the drying rate of the sun.

Note: Darkening the wood puts a protective layer between the darkening element and the wood to protect it from the effects of these conditions.

Necessary if the Wood Is to Be Used for Construction

Builders prefer to darken the wood used in roofing to prevent wood eaters from eating up the wood.

Darkening wood increases the lifespan the wood is supposed to be in use, which could go to over fifty years.

It is also advisable that the wood be darkened regularly if the existing paint wears out.

How to Darken Wood Naturally – Step-by-Step Guide

steps on darken wood naturally

Now, do you wish to darken your wood? You have to. Darkening wood comes with a lot of advantages.

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There are more reasons to darken it than to leave it without the dark painting. However, it is better to use natural means than other commercial ones.

Below is a list of ways to darken wood naturally. Would you love to know how to stain wood darker naturally?

Although there are several ways you can apply to darken wood naturally, this blog post presents two of the most viable methods. Methods we have tried, tested, and approved.

They are as follows.

Tip: These natural ways of staining woodwork better than the commercial ones.

Use a Blend of Vinegar and Metal

You will need the following products to darken your wood using this method.

blend of vinegar and metal
  • A vacuum
  • Spatula
  • Paintbrush
  • Clean rug
  • Rusty nails
  • Protective hand gloves
  • Safety mask
  • Sand
  • Paper
  • Vinegar, either cider, pineapple, balsamic, or white.

Vinegar is made up of acetic acid, which reacts with iron to create a staining product that can be easily created at home.

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It would be best if you caused chemical reactions between the metal and the acid in order to utilize these two things.

This includes soaking an iron object in vinegar, a steel wool pad or a ball is preferred.

The resultant solution is iron acetate, it darkens the color of the wood by reacting with organic molecules and any other natural component.

Tip: It is not necessary to sand your wood before darkening

Steps to Follow with This Method

steps to follow

First, look at the wood you intend to darken. Has it been darkened before or not?

Step #1: Determine What Timber It Is

If the timber is new, you will have to sand its surface using medium-grit sandpaper in order to erase every surface irregularity before finishing with fine-grit sandpaper.

Sanding the wood surface should assist in smoothing it out and preparing it for staining.

Make sure the wood dust is vacuumed or removed with a dry natural bristles paintbrush. Using a tack cloth, wipe away any sanding dust left.

If the surface had a previous finish, sand it off or use white vinegar to remove it.

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Before you begin this darkening activity, make sure you have on-hand gloves and a protective face mask if you have access to one.

Apply enough white vinegar to the painted surface of the wood using a brush and let it sit for 2 minutes. Use a soft wire or spatula to spread the paint once it has liquefied.

Step #2: Dry the Wood
dry wood

After sanding, the wood is likely to need a little time to dry when you are done cleaning it with a moist towel or tack cloth.

Dissolve a rusty nail or steel wood pad in vinegar while the wood dries in order to prepare the iron acetate solution.

Place the steel wool pad or rusted nails in a glass or lidded plastic container. After inserting the metal inside, pour enough vinegar to completely cover the ball of steel wool.

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After that, shut the lid and leave the setup for 24 hours.

The iron substance will react with the acid that is contained in the vinegar to generate iron acetate during this period.

The darker the resultant solution becomes, the longer the iron is left in the vinegar. Nonetheless, the reaction normally takes around 24 hours to end.

Step #3: Filter Metal Shards

When the reaction is finished, filter out any metal shards in the solution using cheesecloth or a mesh strainer?

filter the metal shards

Apply iron acetate to the wood with a paintbrush dipped in the solution.

Before using it on your project, I recommend testing it on a scrap piece of wood in order to see how the iron acetate will react.

Allow at least one day for the pigment to dry before inspecting the finished product. Your job is over if you’re satisfied with the color.

If you think the color is too light, apply a second coat in the same manner as the first. Allow for complete drying.

Tip: Always use a face mask while darkening wood, the smell released by these products may affect your health.

Darken with Coffee or Tea

Coffee & tea contain black tannins which can discolor the wood’s original color.

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Regardless of if you have a pine table or maybe any other wooden appliances in the home that you want to darken, any of these beverages will play you the trick.

Make sure that the wood is light-colored to get the desired results with coffee or tea. Coffee or tea is suitable for chestnut, ash, oak, and other light-colored woods.

Coffee should give a much better result than tea. If you want a darker hue, thus we recommend it.


popular questions

What Oil Darkens Wood?

If you are looking to darken your wood using oil, then Tang wood is the best option you have got. Tung wood enhances aesthetics and enhances wood protection.

How Do You Slightly Darken Wood?

You can slightly darken wood by applying the above darkening agents mildly. You can also achieve this slight darkening by not brewing a so strong darkener.

Tip: To slightly darken the wood, limit the use of the darkening agent.


How to darken wood naturally should not give you sleepless nights. Do it slowly and use your time while at it.

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The results you get from natural darkening are way better than those you would get if you used those artificial techniques.

Note: Most commercial and artificial wood darkening techniques tend to be so costly and ineffective. 

But these natural strategies guarantee you quality darkening of wood to prevent it from destructive properties.

This article has highlighted two of the best techniques on how to naturally darken wood. Although there are many, those two have the best results.

Additionally, you can use other techniques such as applying oil from the Tung plant and boiling linseed to extract the oil. Which of these techniques would you use to darken your wood naturally?