How to bleach knotty pine

Knotty pine is a common type of panelling that was used in households years ago. It can range in colour from a dark orange-brown to lighter shades. When remodelling your home, you may be inclined to toss out the old knotty pine items and replace them with more modern items. Before you do, try lightening them with bleach. Bleaching knotty pine will give the items a fresh, up-to-date look saving you the cost of replacements.

Examine the knotty pine for scratches or defects. The surface must be smooth before beginning the bleaching process. Sand the knotty pine with a grit sandpaper until it is smooth.

Remove any sanding residue by wiping the pine down with a damp cloth.

Wash the knotty pine with full-strength household bleach. Use a sponge or cloth saturated in the bleach and wipe down the walls.

Allow the knotty pine to air-dry overnight.

Combine the A/B bleach--or two-part bleach--in a container. A/B bleach comes in separate containers; if used individually, the parts are ineffective. However, when combined, the A/B bleach will remove the natural colour of the wood.

Apply the A/B bleach to the knotty pine with paintbrushes.

Allow the knotty pine to air-dry overnight.

Wash the knotty pine with clean water and a sponge or cloth.


Wear rubber gloves when working with bleach. Open doors and windows to provide adequate air ventilation. If the knotty pine is not as light as you would like, reapply the A/B bleach.

Things You'll Need

  • Grit sandpaper
  • Three cloths
  • Household bleach
  • A/B bleach, or two-part bleach
  • Container
  • Paintbrush
  • Water
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About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.