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Homemade Vinegar and Steel Wool Wood Stain


  • strong black tea or coffee
  • vinegar
  • 1 piece steel wool


  • Fill a jar with vinegar.
  • Pull apart the steel wool and stuff it into the jar.
  • Depending on the type of vinegar you use, the reaction may not begin for a few days.
  • When the vinegar has darkened, apply strong tea to the wood. Let it dry.
  • Apply the vinegar rust stain to the wood.
  • For a darker finish, repeat applying tea or coffee, allowing it to dry and applying more stain.


  1. Several people told me they have used nails, screws or steel shavings in place of the steel wool.
  2. Open the jar of vinegar and steel wool occasionally to release gases.
  3. The first coat of stain darkens the wood dramatically. Subsequent applications have a greatly reduced effect.