How to Clean Driftwood

Updated February 21, 2017

Before using driftwood in your home, business or aquarium, it is important to clean the wood properly to remove dust, dirt and debris. It is also important to remove any tannins, a natural compound present in the wood's fibres, from the driftwood. Distilled water will be your main cleansing agent.

Place a piece of plastic sheeting on a flat surface, table or ground; place the driftwood on the sheeting.

Scrub the driftwood thoroughly with a scrub brush to remove any dust, dirt and debris. Wear latex or work gloves to keep your hands clean. Turn the piece of driftwood over and continue scrubbing until the wood is clean.

Place the driftwood in a large bucket or tub; completely cover the wood with distilled water. Let the driftwood soak in the water for two weeks to remove any tannins and remaining debris.

Change the water whenever it becomes dark. Remove the driftwood and pour distilled water over it. Drain the dark water down a storm drain or outside drain. Place the wood back in the large bucket or tub; fill it with fresh, distilled water. Continue to let it soak until the two-week period is complete.

Remove the driftwood; pat it dry with a clean towel or rag before placing it in your home, business or aquarium.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Scrub brush
  • Latex or work gloves
  • Large bucket or tub
  • Distilled water
  • Towel or rag
  • Burner or stove (optional)
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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.