7 Best Wood Deck Stain Stripper- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2021

Image of one of the best wood deck stain strippersThe first step in renewing your old deck is by stripping off the previously applied stain. Deck stains have an excellent look when new, but eventually, even the best wood deck stain will flake and wear away. With the best deck stain stripper, you save yourself the need to use pressurized water, a paint scraper, and sanding.

If you are working on large deck surfaces, a deck stain stripper is a perfect choice to save time and energy.

Stain stripper works just right on semi-transparent or solid deck stain. It can eliminate algae, mold, mildew, dirt, and grease. Deck strippers contain sodium hydroxide as the main chemical component that makes them penetrate deep into the wood, breaking down and emulsifying the previous staining.

Keep reading to get more information regarding different wood deck stain removers you can get out there:

Best Wood Deck Stain Stripper Comparison Table

Best Wood Deck Stain Stripper Buyer’s Guide

Shopping for the best deck stripper can be pretty daunting. However, if you know what to look for, then it will be easier for you. Below is a breakdown of some essential elements worth considering.

  • Price

One of the first things most buyers look out for is the cost. Is the product within your budget? Don’t be duped into thinking that the most expensive product is the most effective. 

There are many products out there that are cheaper and don’t compromise on quality. Be sure to check the details, characteristics, and features of the product compared to the price. 

  • Quantity

You don’t want to be in a crisis where you’ve run out of stain remover during your project. Similarly, purchasing more than you need is a wastage of money. 

Therefore, read the manufacturer’s recommendation for the amount of space a stain stripper will cover in most cases.

  • Health and Safety

Biodegradable products are safe to use around kids, pets, gardens, and marine life without posing adverse health effects. However, most of them are not able to remove stubborn stains. 

For this reason, other non-biodegradable products will help remove stains. However, most of these products are corrosive and potentially harmful. Therefore, take caution while choosing what best fits you, and ensure you observe the safety measurements detailed on the product.

Ensure that you are using protective gear such as masks and safety glasses while applying these formulas.

  • Type of Stain

Some of these deck stain strippers remove specific stains types, and others will not eliminate certain types of stains.

Therefore, if you are shopping for a stripper, ensure that you go for those that will work effectively to eliminate your specific stains, be it transparent, semi-transparent, or solid color stains.

 Types of Deck Stain Strippers

Generally, deck stain removers fall into four major categories—caustic, solvent, biochemical and zero-VOC strippers.

Caustic deck strippers contain corrosive chemicals that break down the finish, such as sodium hydroxide (lye) or sodium chloride. 

They effectively remove water and oil-based paint and stains from some wood. However, they can erode and blacken hardwoods. 

Caustic strippers are alkaline (containing a high pH) so, you must neutralize the stripped surface by rinsing it with a water and vinegar solution

Caustic strippers are highly corrosive. However, they’re considered safer and lower in VOCs than solvent strippers.

Solvent deck strippers are the most versatile stain and paint strippers. They work by dissolving the bond between the wood and the finish.

Solvent deck strippers effectively eliminate water and oil-based stain, epoxy, and polyurethane from wood without discoloration. 

Most contain methylene chloride, which has a high VOC content. High-VOC products generally have smellier fumes and pose a health hazard, unlike other strippers. 

Directly inhaling these toxic fumes can damage the brain or reproductive system. Therefore, ensure you wear a respirator in addition to your protective gear when handling these types of deck strippers.

Another type is the biochemical deck strippers, and unlike caustic and solvent deck strippers, they contain a combination of plant-based solvents. 

They effectively eliminate water and oil-based stains but are ineffective at removing epoxy resins and polyurethane coatings. In addition, though these deck strippers have a low VOC content and lesser fumes, they contain NMP, which can still irritate the skin and damage the respiratory and reproductive systems. 

Therefore, use a respirator, chemical-resistant gloves, and skin-covering clothing such as woodworking aprons when handling them.


Consider using zero-VOC stain removers if you have concerns regarding using the above deck strippers due to their potential health effects. 

Zero VOC wood deck strippers do not contain methylene chloride, lye, or NMP. Instead, they contain naturally occurring solvents like benzyl alcohol that help break down water and oil-based paint resins. 

While they may be considered the safest, direct exposure to this product can irritate the lungs. Therefore a respirator and the proper protective equipment are recommended when using them. 

VOC-free stains strippers are also less effective at removing epoxy and polyurethane from wood. 


Best Wood Deck Stain Stripper Products

Below are the very best paint stripper that you can use to remove stains on your deck. Each product comes with distinct features, advantages and disadvantages. Study each keenly before settling on one that will serve your need the right way.

1. #1 Deck Wood Stain Stripper

True to its name, this is arguably the best wood stain stripper you can purchase. It is a ready-to-use liquid that eliminates most oil and latex-based finishes, including clear film-forming varnishes, polyurethanes, and semi-transparent stains. 

This water-based stain stripper is effective in removing penetrative stains and sealants. However, it will not remove solid colors, paint, or film-forming finishes. 

One impressive feature of the #1 Deck Wood Stain Stripper is that it is biodegradable. As a result, it has zero environmental impact and is safe for use around kids, pets, gardens, and marine life. 

Similarly, it is safe for use on all types of wood. However, as with most stain strippers, you will need to moisten the deck before applying. 

It is easy to apply by using a pump-up garden-type sprayer or a car wash type brush. You’ll need to allow it to penetrate and break down the stain for about 30-60 minutes before rinsing using a pressure washer. 

The Summary of Top Features#1 Deck Wood Stain Stripper - 1 Gallon - Ready to Use, Wood Stain Remover Strips Weathered, Water-Based and Oil-Based Finishes

  • It’s a water-based stain that removes clear wood sealers and penetrating semi-transparent stains.
  • Restores the natural look of wood decks
  • It comes in a one-gallon container that is good for 100-150 sq. ft coverage.
  • This formula is biodegradable leaving zero environmental impact.
  • It is not suitable for removing solid stains or paints.
  • Effective in eliminating water-based or oil-based stains


  • It is eco-friendly.
  • This formula is safe for use on all types of wood.
  • Easy to apply.


  • Not suitable for removing solid stains, paint, or film-forming finishes.
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2. DEFY Exterior Wood Stain Stripper

If you plan on renovating or selling your home, having your deck in top condition will add value to it and leave your home attractive. 

The DEFY Exterior Wood Stain Stripper is sure to restore your deck to its former glory by removing old, faded, weathered, transparent, and semi-transparent wood stains. 

Not only will it eliminate weathered deck stains, but this product will also remove dirt and stains due to mold and mildew, creating a like-new wood surface.

Among other factors that make this product ideal for stripping is that it is safe for any wood species. Moreso, its ease of application is unparalleled. 

Pour it into a pump up sprayer and apply it to your deck. Since the formula comes ready to use, no mixing is required. For excellent results, leave the stain remover on the deck for about half an hour before rinsing with pressurized water.

Note: This stain does not remove paint, solid color stains, and film-forming coatings. 

The Summary of Top FeaturesDEFY Exterior Wood Stain Stripper, 1 Gallon

  • Restores a weathered deck to its original look
  • Eliminates dirt, mill glaze, and stains caused by mold and mildew
  • This formula penetrates deep into the wood to get rid of the old stain.
  • It is ready to use. No mixing is required.


  • It is easy to apply.
  • The formula comes read-to-use.
  • Compatible with all types of wood.


  • It does not remove solid stains, paint, or film-forming coatings.
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3. Woodrich Heavy Duty Wood Stripper

Ideal for removing solid color and stubborn stains, the Woodrich Heavy Duty Wood Stripper is another product you should consider if you are looking for the best wood deck stain stripper. 

Suppose you’ve tried most products, but you still feel they cannot eliminate tough stains and color from your weathered deck. In that case, this unique formula provides the heavy-duty strength necessary to strip wood decks off of any transparent, semi-transparent, or solid color stains. 

This product is suitable for all species of wood. Though easy to apply, you should ensure you wear protective gear always as it is corrosive. It comes in a powdered form in which you have to mix with water, producing roughly 5 gallons of deck stripping solution, enough to cover up to 750 sq. feet of deck area. 

Finally, in terms of quality, this product is as effective as it can be. Professional contractors and discerning DIY enthusiasts have trusted the Woodrich Brand for over 15 years.

The Summary of Top FeaturesHeavy Duty Wood Stripper & Wood Cleaner for Wood Decks, Wood Fences, Wood Siding, and Log Cabins - HD80 - Woodrich Brand - Moss, Mold, Mildew, Sealer & Stain Remover - Covers up to 750 Square Feet

  • Effective in eliminating transparent, semi-transparent, and solid color stains.
  • It is easy to apply; however, wear protective gear as it can be corrosive.
  • You can use it on all wood types.
  • The formula comes in powdered form enough to cover up to 750 sq. feet of deck area.


  • It works perfectly to restore an old weathered deck.
  • The formula is user-friendly for DIYers. 
  • You can use it to remove tough stains and solid colors.


  • There have been complaints from users that it burns your skin. Use protective gear when applying. 
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4. DeckGeneral – Downstream Injectable Deck Stripper

If you are hate struggling with nylon brushes or rollers to apply deck strippers on your vertical deck and are looking to save on time and effort, the DeckGeneral-Downstream Injectable Deck Stripper is what you need. 

It’s easier, faster than using brushes, more convenient than using rollers, and safer for your body since you don’t have to bend down all the time. 

When it comes to getting the job done, this formula is highly reliable. It removes both oil and latex finishes, clear coatings, old stains, water sealers, discolored varnishes, wood fibers, mildew, and water stains, without damaging the wood, preparing your deck or outdoor furniture for a new treatment.

Besides, this product is eco-friendly. Unlike other toxic wood strippers, the DeckGeneral Down Stream Injectable Deck Stripper is formulated with biodegradable ingredients making it safe to use around humans, plants, and marine life.

The Summary of Top Features

  • Downstream injectable deck stripper formulated for fast and easy wood stain removal.
  • The formula works as a powerful solvent to remove even the most stubborn oil, latex, clear coats, waterproofers, and more.
  • It contains low VOC content thus safe for use around humans, plants, and marine life.
  • Easy to apply. 

 AdvantagesDeckGeneral - Downstream Injectable Deck Stripper 4167 - Water-Based Alkaline Wood Stain Remover - for Stripping Paint, Varnish, Sealer & Stain from Patios, Fences & Outdoor Furniture - 5 Gallon Pail

  • Highly effective in removing even the most stubborn stain.
  • It is eco-friendly and safe to use.
  • You will save on time and effort. It is easier, faster, and convenient than using rollers and brushes.
  • It is non-corrosive.


  • It is a bit pricey.
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5. OXALIC ACID 99.6% Wood Stain Remover

Another fantastic product to consider if you are looking for the best deck stain stripper is the OXALIC ACID 99.6% Wood Stain Remover. This formula contains Oxalic Acid, which acts as a reducing agent for metal oxides. 

It is very effective in removing tarnish, rust, or ink stains. With this product, you will be able to eliminate stubborn paints and solid coatings.

In addition to its effectiveness, the OXALIC ACID 99.6% Wood Stain Remover is preferred by most woodworkers as it is cheaper than most deck stain strippers but still gets the job done.

Note: Oxalic Acid is highly corrosive. Always ensure that you wear safety protective gear when handling this stain remover. Do not use this product around kids, pets, or marine life. It is pretty toxic.

The Summary of Top Features

  • This formula contains 99.6% Oxalic Acid.
  • Very effective in the removal of stubborn stains and solid paints.
  • Eliminates rust, tarnish, and ink stains
  • It is highly corrosive.

 AdvantagesOXALIC ACID 99.6% 2 Lb. Deck, Crystals, Metal Cleaning- Rust Removal, Wood Stain Remover and More!

  • The product is inexpensive.
  • It is ideal for removing solid stains. 
  • You can easily use it on most wood surfaces or metals.


  • Not safe for use around kids, pets, or marine life
  • The product is highly corrosive.
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6. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper

For the eco-conscious DIYers and environmentalists, this is your most ideal product. The Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper is a biodegradable formula that quickly removes worn finishes.

With this user-friendly product, you will get rid of most oil and latex-based finishes, including clear, transparent, semi-transparent, and semi-solid coatings, along with collected dirt, mold, mildew, and mill glaze.

This formula comes in a powdered concentrate that makes five liquid gallons, enough to strip 500-1000 sq. feet when mixed with water. 

Among other factors that make this formula, the best deck stain stripper is the cost. Most professional woodworkers and DIY homeowners love this formula because it is significantly cost-effective. When mixed, the price is less than $7 a gallon.

The Summary of Top Features

  • The formula is eco-safe. You can use it around humans, pets, gardens, and marine life.
  • It works perfectly for restoring old wood. It eliminates most oil and latex-based finishes.
  • You can use it on various exterior wood surfaces,
  • This product is highly cost-effective.

AdvantagesHeavy Duty Wood Stripper and Wood Cleaner Kit for Wood Decks, Wood Fences, Wood Siding, and Log Cabins - HD80 & Citralic Restoration Kit - Woodrich Brand - Covers up to 3000 Square Feet - Easy to Use

  • The formula is easy to apply using a pump sprayer.
  • You can use it on all types of wood.
  • It is cost-effective


  • This product will not eliminate solid color stains, paints, polyurethanes, or excessively over-applied acrylic-based coatings.
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7. Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Here is another excellent wood stain remover that you should consider for your deck. 

Suppose you are looking for a product that is easy to use and that will remove dried latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac from your deck and leave it looking as natural as possible. In that case, I recommend you try the Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel.

This product stays wet and active for up to 24 hours, allowing stripping multiple layers in one step. For example, it removes five layers of dried latex paint in under one hour. 

One impressive feature that you’ll love about this product is its fragrance. 

It has a fresh citrus scent that is quite pleasant. Besides, it is user-friendly and safe. It doesn’t have methylene chloride or NMP.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It can stay wet and active for up to 24 hours, allowing stripping multiple layers in one step.
  • This product is ideal for removing dried latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac.
  • It strips multiple layers from wood.
  • The formula does not contain any methylene chloride or NMP.
  • It is user friendly and safe to use

 AdvantagesCitristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel, 1 Quart, Red

  • It removes five layers of dried latex paint in under one hour.
  • You can use it on all types of wood.
  • The formula is easy to use.
  • This product contains a fresh citrus scent that is quite pleasant.


  • Though refreshing, the citrus smell is a little bit concentrated.
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Deck stripping can be the most tiring job to do especially if you have to do it the hard way. By the hard way I mean the physical way such as the use of metal strippers and sanding using various wood sanders.

Chemicals compounds presents the best way to remove stains from wood. They are easy to apply and take less efforts unly the afore mentioned methods. With the best wood deck stain stripperes, you stand  a chance of getting your job done within the shortest duration possible.

I hope that the products as well as the information that I have provided in the article will help you make the best decision on the stripper to use for your projects. If you have any question, please reach out to me through the comment section below. Meanwhile, enjoy your shopping.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.