Can You Stain Mango Wood? — Oil, Water, And Gel Stains

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Mango wood is a highly sought-after hardwood for furniture and decorative items due to its unique, stunning grain pattern. However, its natural light color can be too bland and dull for your home decor. So, can you stain mango wood to add character to it?

In this article, I will guide you in choosing and using the appropriate stain for your mango wood.

Is Mango Wood Easy to Stain?

Staining mango wood is a project I’ve tackled a few times, and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty straightforward. Mango wood has this medium-to-coarse texture and an open grain that just soaks up stain like a sponge.

However, mango wood has a range of natural colors and variations of grain patterns, making it challenging to achieve consistent and even color. But with proper and meticulous surface preparation, you can ensure an even stain color on mango wood.

With this, it is important to clean the wood surface thoroughly and apply a high-quality wood conditioner before staining the mango wood. Sanding the wood surface in between coats can also promote better stain absorption.

Staining mango wood

This will help the stain pigments to deeply penetrate the mango grains and distribute evenly without creating any streaks or blotches.

What I love about mango wood is how versatile it is when it comes to finishes. You can go light and subtle, or you can crank it up and go for some really rich, deep hues. Below are the color variations you can achieve after staining your mango wood.

Overall, with meticulous preparation and attention to detail, staining your mango wood can be a straightforward process that can provide optimum protection and enhance its aesthetic appeal.

 

Most Recommended Stains for Mango Wood

You can use several types of stains on mango wood as this hardwood is very receptive and easily absorbs stains, so you have many options. Below are my recommended stains that you can use on mango wood.

applying oil based stain

Oil-based

It is the most popular stain used on mango wood. It can penetrate deeply into the mango wood and enhances its natural grain patterns. Oil-based stains are also easy to apply and more durable compared to water-based stains.

After undergoing complete curing, it forms a solid and safeguarding coating, which serves as a barrier against scratches, moisture, and various external elements, averting any potential harm.

I would recommend this for your exterior mango wood pieces like furniture and other structure which are exposed to harsh elements.

Applying oil-based stain on your mango wood can help you achieve a range of colors, including lighter and more subtle colors or warmer and more vibrant colors.

Most importantly, it’s very versatile, so you can apply it on both unfinished and previously stained mango wood.

water based stain

Water-based

This type of stain is an eco-friendly and low-VOC alternative to oil-based stains. It dries faster and cleans up easier with soap and water, giving you a quicker turnaround time for your project.

However, water-based stains may not penetrate deeply into the wood compared to oil-based stains and may require more coats for a uniform finish.

But, if you need more stain colors to choose from, water-based stains are available in a wider variety of colors than oil-based stains, so you will have options to achieve the desired look for your project.

Gel-based

Another good option for staining your mango wood is using a gel-based stain. It is thicker than traditional liquid stains, providing a more uniform and controlled application.

I highly recommend this type of stain for porous woods like mango wood, which can absorb stains unevenly.

Although it dries slower than liquid stains, it can be an advantage when working with a dense wood like mango. The slower drying time allows the stain to penetrate deeper into the mango wood, resulting in a more even and consistent color.

gel based stain

When it comes to the application process, the gel-based stain is easier to apply compared to liquid stains since it doesn’t drip or run as easily, helping you achieve a smoother finish.

Popular Stain Products for Mango Wood

It is important to only use high-quality products in staining your mango wood to ensure a beautiful, and durable finish. Essentially, you can stain mango wood with the following user-friendly and top-quality finishes:

General Finishes Oil-Based Gel Stain

Most woodworkers highly recommend using this type of stain on mango wood due to its exceptional ability to produce beautiful and vibrant colors.

Unlike traditional stains, this gel stain remains on the surface of the wood rather than penetrating deeply, resulting in a smooth and glossy finish on the wood. But if you put the gel stain too thick on wood, the end result may vary. 

Below are some of its remarkable qualities:

general finish gel stain

It does not only enhance the natural color and shine of your mango wood, but it also creates a protective layer that helps to shield the wood from damage against harsh elements.

It creates a barrier that repels moisture and water, which may cause rot and decay. Therefore, I recommend this for your outdoor furniture and other exterior structures.

Below are the stain specifications of this oil-based gel from General Finishes:

Type

Oil-based gel

Color

Light colors, darker colors, natural colors

Applications

Mango wood floors, cabinets, and furniture

Drying time

24 hours

Ready Seal Exterior Stain and Sealer

If you’re looking for a more durable stain for your exterior mango wood structures, this sealer and stain in one from Ready Seal can be the best option for you.

It adds aesthetic appeal to your mango wood while giving optimal protection against weather variations, insects, moisture, and water damage.

Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain And Sealer For Wood

It is particularly formulated with UV inhibitors that provide protection for mango wood against the harmful effects of UV light. This helps prevent the wood from cracking or drying out when exposed to direct sunlight.

Below are some of its exceptional qualities:

This exterior sealer and stain product is popular for its wider range of colors, which match well with your mango wood. Below are its specifications:

Type

Oil-based stain

Color

Darker colors

Applications

Exterior furniture and structures

Drying time

24 hours and cures in 14 days

Minwax Penetrating Wood Stain

If you want to give your mango wood a darker color, this penetrating stain from Minwax can help you achieve that look for your furniture and other mango wood pieces.

Minwax 70012 Dark Walnut

It also protects your mango wood from scratches and other surface damage, extending its lifespan for many more years.

Below are its outstanding qualities:

This stain requires applying a high-quality conditioner first to help better stain absorption and adhesion, resulting in a smooth and beautiful finish. Below are the specifications of the Minwax penetrating stain

Type

Oil-based stain

Color

Semi-transparent to darker colors

Applications

Mango furniture, doors, cabinets, and trims

Drying time

2 hours 

SamaN Water-Based Wood Stain

If you need a quicker turnaround time for your project, this product can deliver results faster than other stain brands. I’ve used this stain for various projects, and let me tell you, it dries ridiculously fast. Picture this: you’re staining a piece of mango wood furniture and you realize it’s going to be fully dried in just two hours. Yes, two hours!

SamaN Interior Water-Based Wood Stain

So, it’s easier and quicker to apply even if you need several coats of stain on your mango furniture and other wood pieces.

Below are its excellent qualities:

Another advantage of using this stain on your mango wood is it only requires a single coating to fully protect the surface against scratches, moisture, and water damage.

Below are the specifications of the SamaN water-based stain:

Type

Water-based stain

Color

All colors

Applications

Mango furniture

Drying time

2 hours 

Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium Wood Stain

Now, if it’s durability you’re aiming for, especially for something like mango wood flooring, then Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium Wood Stain is my recommendation.

Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium Wood Stain ​

I’ve used this on floors that see a lot of foot traffic, and this stuff is tough as nails. Below are some of its extraordinary qualities:

This wood stain also adds aesthetic appeal to your mango flooring by enhancing its color and highlighting its natural patterns and grains.

Below are the specifications of the Rust-Oleum Varathane wood stain:

Type

Oil-based stain

Color

All colors

Applications

Mango flooring and furniture

Drying time

2 hours 

Is Wood Conditioner Necessary Before Staining Mango Wood?

Although most mango wood absorbs easily and distributes stains evenly to the wood pores, some mango woods are dense and porous, which absorbs stains unevenly. This will result in a blotchy finish and inconsistent color of the mango wood.

wood conditioner

In this case, I highly recommend applying wood conditioner on mango wood before staining it to help seal the wood and create a more even surface so that the stain will adhere properly.

When applying wood conditioner on mango wood, always read the label of the product you’re using and follow the manufacturer’s instructions accurately.

Tip:

For optimal results, I highly recommend using the same brand of wood conditioner as your chosen wood finish. This ensures compatibility between the products and helps to prevent any potential application issues that may arise from using mismatched brands.

By using the same brand, you can ensure that the wood conditioner and wood finish will work together seamlessly, resulting in a more even and consistent appearance. Read more about what wood conditioners do to lumbers. 

5 Steps To Successfully Staining Mango Wood

Generally, staining your mango wood is easy and straightforward. But it is important to follow the correct procedure when applying stain on mango wood to ensure that the finish looks beautiful and long-lasting.

Below is the procedure on how you can stain mango wood safely and effectively.

Supplies Needed

Staining steps
Tip

I can’t stress this enough: always, and I mean always, test your stain on a scrap piece of the same wood you’re planning to work on. This saved me more times than I care to admit. You see, mango wood can be unpredictable with its various natural shades and grain patterns. Doing a test run lets you know exactly what you’re getting into. 

This way, you can determine the appropriate approach to staining your mango wood and avoid damaging your main project, especially if you’re a beginner or a DIYer.

Step #1: Prep the surface

Before you begin staining your mango wood, it’s crucial to prepare your work area properly to ensure the best results and protect your health.

You must open the windows or use fans to increase airflow and reduce the temperature and humidity levels in your workspace, creating a more comfortable environment to work in.

This will reduce the risk of inhaling harmful chemicals that are present in stains and other products you will use.

Wood preparation

Also, proper ventilation ensures that the stain can dry and cure correctly. If you work in a poorly ventilated area, fumes can accumulate and cause the stain to dry unevenly. Working in a well-ventilated area is also essential for achieving an even and consistent finish.

Now, you can start cleaning the entire surface of the mango wood to remove the dust, debris, and dirt build-up, which can hinder the absorption and adhesion of the stain.

Get a clean cloth and soak it in warm water with soap, then gently scrub the surface. If you’ve got some stubborn spots, don’t be afraid to give them an extra pass or two.

You may scrub the surface that has tacky stains and thick dirt buildup several times. Once the whole surface is thoroughly clean, let it fully dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step #2: Sand and clean up sawdust

After the wood surface has dried, get sandpaper with a 220 grit, and start sanding to smooth out the entire surface. This will remove any surface irregularities and prepare the wood to better absorb the stain.

sanding surface

Ensure to rub the sandpaper along the wood grains’ direction. Generally, sanding mango wood is easier compared to other hardwoods since most have straight patterns and grain structures.

Apply slight but even pressure when sanding the entire surface of the wood to achieve a smoother finish. Uneven sanding can result in blotches when applying the wood stain.

After sanding the entire surface, use a clean tack rag to wipe away any sanding dust and wood debris. This step is crucial to ensure that the surface is completely free of any contaminants that could affect the quality of the stain finish.

Wiping the surface clean ensures it’s smooth and ready to absorb the stain properly, avoiding an uneven or blotchy finish. Don’t skip this step for the best results.

Step #3: Apply wood conditioner and let it dry

If you’re new to wood finishing or if your mango wood is not in great condition, I highly recommend applying wood conditioner before staining.

This will help your mango wood to absorb the stain easily and evenly. Applying a wood conditioner on mango wood will make the staining process easier and more effective as it reduces the chances of blotching or uneven coloration.

applying wood conditioner

To apply a conditioner on wood, use a brush or a cloth, then soak in the wood conditioner. Apply it evenly on the wood surface and let it deeply penetrate the wood for 10 to 15 minutes or depending on the product label instructions.

Use a clean tack cloth to wipe the excess wood conditioner from the wood surface. Allow the surface to completely dry for several hours or overnight before staining for best results.

Step #4: Stain the wood

After the wood conditioner has fully dried, take a clean paintbrush and saturate it with the stain. Apply the stain carefully and evenly to the surface of the mango wood, using gentle strokes along the wood grains’ direction to ensure consistent coverage.

Do not apply too much pressure as it may cause to darken the stain color. You may apply two to three coats to give maximum protection to the mango wood. However, ensure that the surface is dry and sand the wood surface before applying the subsequent coats.

Step #5: Cure thoroughly and let it dry

Once you’ve covered the entire surface, allow it to dry and fully cure for 24 to 48 hours. This will promote stronger adhesion, preventing the stain to peel or flake over time.

allowing wood to dry

Also, the final color of the stain you used will not come out until it has fully dried and cured. If you rush the drying process, it may result in a lighter or uneven color. Additionally, stains have a strong smell which can be eliminated when it’s fully cured and dried.

Can You Darken Mango Wood Stain?

Yes, you can darken the stain of your mango wood in several ways. One of the simplest ways to darken the stain of mango wood is to apply a darker stain color. You can use a darker shade of the same type of stain you used originally or switch to a different type of stain.

Another way is to apply subsequent coats of the same stain to deepen the color. Essentially, you can apply four to five layers of stain on mango wood to darken its color.

Alternatively, you can apply wood dye to mango wood to darken the color before applying the stain. It can penetrate deeply into the mango wood fibers, resulting in a more intense and deeper color.

Is It Possible to Stain Raw Mango Wood?

Yes, it is possible to stain your raw mango wood. Essentially, staining raw mango wood can help you achieve a more consistent and even color than staining finished or painted mango wood.

However, it requires proper surface preparation to ensure the best results. First, you must sand the rough and uneven spots on the wood surface. After sanding, you must clean the wood surface and ensure it’s free of debris and dust.

staining raw mango wood

The next step is to apply wood conditioner on the mango wood surface to prevent the stain from blotching. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth to remove excess conditioner from the surface, then allow the surface to fully dry.

Once the conditioner has dried, get your stain and either a cloth or a brush—I personally prefer a cloth for better control—and start applying. Ensure to follow the wood grains’ directions to avoid streaks or marks. Wipe the excess stain from the surface and let it dry completely to achieve a smoother finish.

Is It Necessary to Seal Mango Wood?

Yes, it is necessary to seal mango wood to preserve its natural beauty and extend its lifespan. Although mango wood is resistant to insects and rot, sealing it will protect it from stains, scratches, moisture, and other harsh elements.

Ensure to use a high-quality sealer that is specifically designed for use on hardwoods like mango wood. You may opt for lacquer, polyurethane, or tung oil [1]. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the sealer on mango wood for optimum results.

Ways To Eliminate Mango Wood Stains

If you have a tacky or sticky stain on your mango wood pieces like furniture, there are several ways to remove it. Don’t worry; I’ve been there, and there are ways to get rid of these. Two of my go-to methods are mineral spirits and a good old vinegar solution.

Removing old varnish

Get a clean cloth and moisten it with mineral spirits. Gently wipe it on the stains. Ensure to wipe off the excess mineral spirits from the surface and let it dry. Now, this isn’t always a one-and-done situation. Sometimes you have to be persistent and repeat the process a few times, especially with older stains on mango wood.

But maybe you’re not a fan of chemicals and want a more natural approach. You can also use a vinegar solution to remove stains on mango wood. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a container, then blend them well. Soak a clean soak in the solution and apply it on the stained surface.

Let it sit on the tacky area for several minutes, then wipe the surface using a lint-free cloth. Allow the surface to dry for maximum protection.

FAQ

What Finishes Are Best for Mango Wood?

The finishes that are best for mango wood are lacquers, wax, and natural oil. However, you must consider how the wood will be used.

For exterior applications, you must use a durable finish like lacquer. Meanwhile, for decorative purposes, natural oil and wax give a beautiful finish.

See AlsoCan Basswood Be Stained?

Conclusion

Overall, staining can add character to your mango wood pieces. By using the right type of stain, you can enhance its beautiful grain pattern and bring out its natural variations of color and texture.

Additionally, you can stain mango wood to fully protect it against extreme temperatures, humidity, insects, and other harsh elements.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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