I recently painted over my doors and frames with Minwax oil-based wood stain. It's been 3 weeks and they are all still very sticky when I touch them. I tried wiping, and wiping with a clean dry rag and the color comes off but not the sticky feeling. I also tried wiping with a damp rag and then a clean dry rag with no luck.

What do I need to do to get rid of the stickiness?

  • Wipe it all off with rags soaked with mineral spirits. The color you are left with is the color it would have been had you not over-applied the stain initially. If it is not dark enough then use a darker stain and apply exactly as directed on the can. Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 16:02
  • It's not clear what product you've used, but stain is not intended to be a finish. Seal it with urethane or varnish.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 14:05
  • Stain is not paint. Keshlam and Craig answers cover my thoughts... you need to wipe the excess stain off by thinning it with solvent (or the original stain), then prepare the wood appropriately for the product you apply (generally sanding to bare wood for a stain), and apply it per the manufacture instructions.
    – Doug
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


If you were using a combined stain/varnish (likely with the Minwax brand), it was probably outdated. They can expire. Removing it's going to be essentially a matter of stripping the wood bare and starting again.

If you were using a real stain, they normally aren't applied like paint -- they're flooded onto a surface, allowed to sit a bit to soak in, and the excess is then wiped off before the piece is allowed to dry. This provides only color, not protection; a layer of varnish/lacquer/shellac should be applied over stain to seal it.


Apply another coat of the stain, let it sit for a little while--not long and certainly not until it "dries"--then wipe away all of the excess. The new stain should dissolve the excess, gummy "old" stain and it should all come up clean. Fingers crossed.

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