My sweet hubs, Trav, got this mirror for me last Christmas. He even went out shopping by himself at a consignment store. What a guy! He knows me and exactly what I like!
*affiliate links in this post
I had been wanting to strip the stain off, to lighten it up a little. I decided to try oven cleaner again. I had tried oven cleaner several times on previous projects that were larger, and it worked but was costing too much because I had to use so much. I never ended up finishing a project that I had started with oven cleaner because of that reason. I always ended up switching to furniture stripper. For smaller projects, like this, it’s great and goes super fast!
Update: I have (since this project) used it on a lot of larger furniture and it’s worked amazingly well on so many pieces, but I do still have times when it doesn’t work as well. It’s tough to tell sometimes whether or not it’s going to work great or not. For myself, if I’m planning on stripping it anyways, I would rather try oven cleaner before trying furniture strip because it’s less goopy and goes faster.
See how dark that stain is? It’s amazing to me how much lighter it got, just by stripping with two coats of the oven cleaner! I have seen people do this with paint as well. I haven’t had the best of luck with using it with paint. I think it depends on the type of paint and how thick the paint is as to whether or not it will work good or not.
It’s a super simple process and goes fairly quickly. I sprayed it on and let it sit for 20 minutes (or can sit longer)… even the “fume free” is stinky, so work outside if you can, with a mask, goggles, and gloves.
I taped off my mirror because I didn’t want to take off the back and remove the mirror before I sprayed it down. I ended up taking the plastic off halfway into the process because it was falling off and the oven cleaner wasn’t ruining the mirror anyways. I just wiped the mirror clean when I was finished and it cleaned up great!
I applied a nice heavy coat of the oven cleaner, and then, like I mentioned, let it sit for 20 minutes. I then scrubbed it with my pot scrubber and a couple drops of Dawn dishwashing soap mixed in with warm water.
I rinsed it off, wiped it off with a lint free cloth, and then let it dry completely before applying another coat of the oven cleaner…and then again went through the same process. I just wanted to make sure that I had all of the old stain off. I love how it looks with the old wood character left behind!
Sanding can take away a lot of the old character color. I love how using furniture stripper leaves a lot of the old wood character behind, but it’s so annoying to strip things! This process with the oven cleaner was nicer to use than furniture stripper on this smaller piece, in my opinion, and it went super quick!
I didn’t want to spray it off with the hose because the mirror was still attached with a backing. If it was just the wood frame, I would’ve sprayed it down with the hose water. I wiped it down with paper towel or a lint free cloth to dry it after.
Update: Since doing this mirror project, I have also done several other mirrors with the oven cleaner and used the hose after to spray it off after. If I feel like I got water in between the mirror and the backing, I remove the mirror and let it dry and wipe off the excess in between the mirror and the backing. Just make sure not to get the oven cleaner on the back side of the mirror because it could possibly take off the mirror part. I also thought that I would never spray anything with a hose that has wood veneer, but I have done it now and it’s been fine. I have noticed that if the wood veneer is cracked or bubbling before I do it that it can get worse, fyi. I have never noticed an issue with spraying down wood with my hose, it can expand when wet, but mine has always gone back to normal when it’s completely dried out. Never let wood sit in water, but I haven’t had an issue with it getting wet and letting it dry…but there is always a possibility of something such as wood expansion, etc when the wood gets wet. I have done many large furniture pieces now without a problem though.
I am so in love with how it turned out! I will be using the oven cleaner on many projects in the future!
I find that when removing stain from older pieces of furniture, the wood grain shows so much better! I love seeing all of that character shine!
Wouldn’t it be cool if this mirror was 6 feet tall?!
I have another mirror that is solid wood sitting in my closet that I will using this technique on.
I love all of the ornate detail! It’s so gorgeous!
I would love to hear in the comments below if this is something that you think you might try! It’s such a fun process to see the before and after!