How to Draw Moisture Out of Wood (Step by Step Process)

Water can infiltrate your home’s framing, flooring, and other woodwork differently. It can result from floods, water leaking from the roof, faulty pipes, clogged sinks, or invisible insulation issues.

Wood floors absorb moisture, making them swell and wood rot. The longer the visible standing water remains on the wood floor, the more likely black mold will spread throughout your home.

Black mold can have severe health consequences for everyone in your house. This blog post will show you how to draw moisture out of wood to avoid irreparable damage.

How to Draw Moisture Out of Wood Floor

Wood can warp or rot if you do not dry wet wood quickly. Your only option is to dry the water to ensure your property remains intact and to avoid mildew caused issues.

However, drying wet wood requires quick thinking and a little expertise. It also helps to have the right equipment.

Here’s the best method of removing moisture from a wet floor to evade permanent damage.

What you need

  • Scrub brush
  • Wood floor cleaner
  • Wet vacuum
  • Dehumidifier
  • Mop or wood floor cleaning cloth
  • Fans
  • Washing soda
  • Non-subsiding disinfecting cleaner
  • Hardwood flooring nails

Step 1: Remove visible standing water

You must remove standing water that has accumulated on the entire floor due to a flood or a sizable leak. The amount of pooled water determines the drying process.

You might be able to towel it into a corner and scoop it up with a good mop or sponge in some instances, but you might have to siphon it out in others.

A wet vac helps remove visible standing water, mainly when cleaning cabinets. Just empty the water into the plastic container outside the house, and wipe the residue away with a sponge.

The vacuum can also remove the water area underneath cabinets and wall plates. Most local hardware stores will let you hire equipment such as pumps that would be too costly to acquire for one-time use.

If you employ a pump, position it in standing water and run a hose to another location, such as outside, where the stagnant moisture will drain. You do not have to go for a water pump if you need to drain only a little water.

Interesting Post: How to Waterproof Wood for Shower

Step 2: Remove the wet material covering the wood

If your wood floor becomes completely soaked, remove water-soaked items in contact with it. The wood will not dry unless you remove furniture from the entire flooded area.

Remove the water-soaked carpets because they can not withstand excessive water, and also ensure that the entire floor receives air.

Remove the floor covering to unveil the subfloor if you presume water damage. This may seem like loads of work, but if you fail to do it, you risk much more costly repairs shortly.

If your carpets and area rugs are completely soaked and you fail to clean them immediately, You’ll have to throw them away due to mildew concerns. You’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets to replace them.

Also Read: How to Fix Warped Wood Furniture

Step 3: Open doors and windows and turn on fans to improve air circulation

If the weather is dry, open all your doors and windows plus the basement ceiling to let air circulate freely. Switch on exhaust fans and gather as many movable fans as possible. Pont the fans directly at floor level to enhance air circulation.

Mold remediation professionals recommend purchasing or hiring a carpet fan to hasten the drying process. This fan provides a powerful air stream at floor level, where you need it most.

Step 4: Use electric heaters to provide heat to allow water evaporation

Indeed, water evaporates quickly in warm air. So,  the more heat you can apply, the faster your wet wood will dry. Use electric heaters rather than propane heaters. Understand that moisture is a direct result of propane combustion.

So, Although giant torpedo heaters give lots of heat,  they raise the humidity in your room and inhibit the drying process. To help preserve heat during the cold season, keep the exterior doors closed during the day.

However, you can open a few windows for a while to let trapped moisture evaporate. You do not have to worry about sealed floors because they’re already protected from water damage after they’ve dried.

Step 5: Before the floors are completely dry, scrub them with a brush, cleaning detergent, and wood floor cleaning cloth

If your home or office has flooded, mud and silt will most probably be trapped in the crannies and corners of the floor.

Before the floors are visibly dry, extensively clean them with a non-abrasive but sturdy brush, lots of water, and a non-sudsing detergent.

Cleaning your wood floors while still wet saves you from re-wetting them after they have dried. Remove a few boards after a few feet to create room for expansion of other boards to let the subfloor dry faster.

Wooden floorboards swell when wet. You can enable your floorboards to expand without warping or cracking if you remove a handful of floorboards.

Step 6: Run a dehumidifier

A dehumidifier works perfectly in confined spaces. So,  use one if you need to dry wood in the basement, kitchen, or bathroom cabinets. You may not need to use one if a spacious living area.

Inside your cabinets, air doesn’t circulate excellently. Set it at your cabinet’s opening and turn it to the highest setting. Check underneath the cabinets to make sure there are no pooling water or other substances left that would hamper the drying method.

Related: How to cure wood slices

Other Methods to Remove Moisture from Wood

Other substances you can use to remove excess water from wood include:

Cat Litter

Using cat litter to pull water out of a room is effortless. Pour the product into a container and leave it in a room. You can drill holes in the lid or leave it open.

You can also pour cat litter into a sock, tie the sock tightly, and leave the sock in the room where you want to remove or reduce the moisture content.

You can let the cat litter sit in a room for several weeks, depending on the current humidity in the room. Remember to drill holes randomly before placing them in the room you are drying.

Baking Soda

Wood has an incredible ability to retain moisture. Baking soda is a hygroscopic material. It can absorb water molecules from its environs, reducing the moisture content of neighboring surfaces and other substances.

Putting baking soda on wood with a high moisture content absorbs excess water and allows the wet area to dry. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that baking soda has a limited range of applications.

It will only absorb moisture in a tiny space. So, use a wood cleaning cloth and dehumidifier to remove visible standing water. Otherwise, you will need a large amount of powder to get the results, which is not cheap and can be messy.


However, diapers are a readily available and low-cost source of Silica. They come in packets, as opposed to Cat Litter. Also, they do not stain the wood. Pour it over the wood or break it and scatter it over the wood.

Kiln Drying

A kiln is a furnace or oven used to dry and bake materials such as clay or wood. You can easily control your kiln’s temperature, air circulation, and humidity levels, resulting in higher-quality dried lumber.

Kiln drying is a method for hastening the natural drying time of wet wood.

Here is the kiln drying process.

  • Mill up the wood
  • Seal the end grain to prevent the wood from splitting. Air dry lumber for a month or so. Build your kiln. Remember to leave enough room for a regular household dehumidifier on one end and a fan on the other. The fan distributes the air to ensure that it dries evenly.
  • Put the wood in a kiln and let it stay there for three to five months. Place fans blowing directly at the wood to ensure more airflow.
  • Bring the wood into your workshop and let it acclimate for a few weeks before using it for your projects.

Are you using an oven to dry wood? Here’s how to dry wood in an oven effectively

How to Draw Moisture from Different Wood Surfaces

You can get the moisture out of different surfaces without involving an expert and save the wood floor. Here’s how.

How to get the moisture out of the wood table

If water spills on your wooden table, wipe up as much sitting water as possible with a towel, washcloth, or paper towel. If your table has absorbed moisture, take it to a well-ventilated space, possibly even outside, if the weather conditions are favorable.

Alternatively, you can place a fan at the table to further moisture evaporation! Consider applying a few coats of baking soda to the table to help pull moisture away.

If you have a solid wood table, apply a solution of vinegar and olive oil to it after it is visibly dry. Soak a cotton cloth in the vinegar mixture to prevent stains and wipe the wet area with it.

Read: What happens if you stain a wet deck?

How to draw moisture from wood deck

If you plan on refinishing a deck and need it to be as dry as possible, tarp it a few days ahead of time to stop additional water from soaking in. If you’re in a rush, apply baking powder to the wet areas to remove the moisture.

If you need to build a new deck, you can purchase kiln-dried lumber, but it will cost you more money. If you bought green lumber, try to dry it out as much as possible before working with it.

Here’s how to dry green wood before using it for your projects.

Stack it on spacers and store it in a shaded, dry, and well-ventilated area where the air can flow uniformly. After airdrying it for a month, please place it in a kiln to speed up the drying process.

Remove the wood after four months. Let it acclimate for a while before using it to build your deck. If your wooden deck is entirely soaked, start drying it by toweling all the standing water.

Clean it extensively with plenty of water, wood floor cleaner, and a disinfecting cleaner before it is visibly dry. Buy a moisture testing meter to verify that the deck is completely dry.

How to remove moisture wooden door

Wooden doors absorb lots of moisture from the air and swell at the edges during high humidity seasons. Here’s how to remove moisture and dry swollen door.

You can dry a wooden door by using a hairdryer or heat gun. Point the heat gun or a hair dryer at the swollen door, and then the moisture will escape into the air. Be keen to keep the drying tool at least thirty centimeters away from the wood to avoid burning it.

For painted doors, aim a fan at the door. Place fans directly at the door until it is sufficiently dry. If the color starts chipping, you can take the doors down and redo them.

Fastening the screws on the iron wares is one method of repairing swollen doors due to moisture absorption. Hinges and strike plates are examples of these. They sag the doors towards the frame when they become loose, making it difficult to close.

However, painting the door hinges after repairing the swollen doors can not only provide aesthetic benefits, such as matching the hardware to the door’s color or decor, but it also adds a protective layer that helps to prevent future issues caused by moisture or rust.

If tightening the nuts did not work, mark the swollen places with a carpenter’s pencil. Sand these areas with coarse sandpaper, keeping an even keel.

You may also use some of the best floor paints to seal the surface for additional protection.

Tips for Removing Moisture Out of Wood

Removing as much water as possible from a wood floor or furniture following a flood or spill is critical.

Even waxed or sealed floors will not tolerate excessive moisture, and if the sealer has worn away, water might still seep into your wood and cause irreversible damage.

When the wood absorbs water, it will swell,  cup and buckle. When the wood floor buckles, replacing it is the only way to repair it. The tips below will help remove water from wooden surfaces and save costly replacements.

Dry standing water immediately 

After wet floors, urgently dry any visible water. You will be unable to dry any water that has crept beneath the floors unless you remove the carpeting and furniture, which is time-consuming.

Acting faster and drying visible moisture on the floors right away may save you time and effort. Mopping and toweling might be sufficient, but you may need a water pump if the flooding is extreme.

Use fans to increase airflow

Use fans to increase airflow in your home after flooding. Using many fans to circulate the air in the house is one of the quickest ways to aid a wood floor dry out.

For speedier drying, use standard box fans or buy or rent big commercial fans. Point fans directly at the portion you need to dry.

Bring the water-damaged wood and other substances out in the sun if the weather permits.

Measure the amount of moisture in your wood floors

Before refinishing or recovering the wood floors, ensure they are completely dry. You can hire an expert to measure the residual moisture in the wood floors, or you can purchase a moisture meter and do it yourself.

The ideal moisture content should be within five percent of the readings from a portion of the flooring that was not flooded. Moisture meters are available at many hardware stores.

They cost between $30 and $250, based on the brand and functionalities you select. Go for one with pins you can press into the wood for the most accurate readings if you do not mind leaving marks on the wood.


What happens when wood absorbs water?

When wood absorbs water, it swells and deforms and may split when it dries. Different wood types react differently to water exposure, and thicker, denser wood withstands moisture better than lighter woods. No wood is entirely waterproof. The best way to prevent water damage on wood is to seal it with high-quality sealers or paint.

(You may be interested to know do you paint inside cabinets for additional protection now that air doesn’t circulate excellently).

What does water do to wood?

Wood is a porous substance. Moisture or water will penetrate the wood’s membranes with time, causing it to decompose, soften, and fall to pieces. Furthermore, water damages the structural integrity of the wood, resulting in mold growth and costly restoration and replacement efforts.

Does baking soda absorb moisture?

Yes, baking soda absorbs from its surroundings just like other hygroscopic salts. So, it can aid in the dehumidification of your home. It’s also very inexpensive. Pour it into separate bowls and cover with a thin cloth. Please place them in different rooms throughout your home.

How to check the moisture content of wood?

Using a moisture meter is the quickest way to determine the moisture content of the wood. Wood moisture testing meters are available in two types: pin-type and pinless. Both moisture meters work excellently, but if you are working on expensive wood and do not want to leave damaging pinholes, go for a pinless one.

How long will it take to remove moisture from wood?

How long it takes for wood to dry is determined by the amount of moisture present, the type of wood, and whether it is outdoors or indoors. It may take between twelve hours to several weeks for the wood to completely dry.

What is the required moisture levels for wood?

The required moisture levels for wood depend on wood’s application. Wood for outdoor construction projects should be airdried or kiln dried to a moisture level of 19%. However, if the wood is meant for indoor applications, dry it until it reaches the eight percent moisture level so it won’t suffer from moisture-related glitches such as splitting and buckling. 

How to Fix Water Damaged Wood Furniture

If your wood furniture has been damaged by water, there are a few things you can do to try to repair it. First, remove any wet cushions or fabric from the piece. Then, use a dry cloth to blot up as much water as possible from the surface of the wood. If the furniture is small enough, you may be able to place it in a sunny spot to help speed up the drying process. Learn more here.


If your wood items have gotten wet, get the moisture out as soon as possible and dry them immediately to avoid permanent water damage.

Water damage does not translate to permanent damage for products built from solid wood, such as solid wood furniture.

In most instances, the damage will be minimal if you remove the water quickly and dry it out. Though removing water from wood can be easy, it can also be challenging, especially when racing against time.

Even if you know how to draw moisture out of wood, you may need to call a professional for further aid.

Leave a Comment