Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner prepares bare wood for staining. It penetrates the grain of the wood to promote uniform acceptance of oil-based stains.

Minwax® Pre Stain Wood Conditioner treats the surface with Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner helps prevent streaks and blotches by evening out the absorption of oil-based stains. It can be applied over any wood but is especially necessary when working with soft or porous woods like pine, alder, birch, and maple.

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Application Tool : cloth or brush
Recoat: after 15 minutes, but no more than 2 hours
Dry Time: 15 minutes
Cleanup: mineral spirits or paint thinner, following manufacturer’s safety instructions
Coverage: 14 sq.m. per litr
Coats: normally 1, but additional coats may be applied on highly absorbent woods

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Surface Preparation:

  1. Before staining, apply Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner on clean, raw wood, using a brush or cloth.
  2. Allow to penetrate for 5 to 15 minutes, then remove any excess with clean, dry cloth.
  3. Apply stain within two hours of application of Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. For best results, stain with Minwax® Wood Finish™,Minwax® Gel Stain, Minwax® PolyShades®.

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Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

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Q: What is the purpose of Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner?

Much of the wood used for projects is “soft” wood, such as pine or spruce. But even some hardwoods, like alder or aspen, are porous and tend to absorb stain unevenly. That’s why it’s essential to pre-treat soft or porous woods with Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to help ensure even stain color penetration and beautiful results.

Q: How does Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner work?

Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner penetrates the pores of the wood, reducing the amount of stain the larger pores will absorb. This evens out the absorption of stain, preventing streaking and blotching.

Q: Can Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner be used on hardwoods such as oak or mahogany?

Yes, but more dramatic results will be seen on softwoods. Hardwoods tend to have a more uniform pore structure than softwoods, resulting in more uniform staining. Exceptions include maple, alder and aspen, which have uneven pore structures. Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner should be used on these woods.

Q: What happens to Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner after two hours have elapsed?

The resins in Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner will begin to dry and may inhibit stain absorption. To open the pores again, sand the wood lightly with a medium grit (#120 – #180) sandpaper.

Q: Does Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner need to be sanded before stain is applied?

No. Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is not a sanding sealer and does not require this extra step as long as the stain is applied within 2 hours after pre-treatment.

Q: Is it possible to apply too much Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner?

No, not if label instructions are followed and any excess Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is wiped off after 5 to 15 minutes.

Q: Can Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner be used prior to applying a water-based stain?

No. Since Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is an oil-based product, it should only be used as a pre-stain treatment with oil-based stains such as Minwax® Wood Finish™ stains. For water-based stains, use Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditoner.


Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is not recommended for use with water-based stains. For water-based stains, pretreat wood with Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditoner.

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