Cleaning and Treating new IPE lumber

Tone Sg
last year
last modified: last year

Need advise regarding cleaning and treating (using Messmers UVA +) 2x2" ipe lumber to be used as posts for an outdoor privacy screen. The lumber was pretty dirty and dusty from the warehouse when I bought it so I cleaned it using mild dish soap and water....the wood was originally a light brown, as seen in the photos. Hearing stories about problems related to staining IPE that hadn't been adequately cleaned, and based on my resuIts of test staining uncleaned and brightened wood (when I test stained with Messmers clear and red mahogany UVA + on a soap only cleaned area, both clear and red mahogany stains came out very dark, with little visible can be seen in the pics) I decided to test clean some posts using sodium percarbonate, followed with citric acid..basically what I've seen recommended......

I thought that using the percarbonate and citric acid, I'd possibly get a lighter result from staining.....what happened though, was the posts that were cleaned and brightened, initially got very splotchy, some areas were gray, some tending towards white, with dark areas interspersed - there wasn't a uniform finish, and it didn't look ready for staining.....It's been about five days since I cleaned/brightened the IPE, and today, for some reason, the percarbonate cleaned post has mostly darkened, darker than it was originally, and almost as dark as the test stained areas of the IPE. This can be seen in the pictures. Should I be concerned about staining onto splotchy cleaned and brightened wood? Should I forgo the percarbonate and citric acid and simply stain the soap washed and water rinsed wood, and accept the darkened wood.....especially given that the cleaned and brightened wood appears to, after five days or so, be evening out to a darker color than the wood was originally? Should I clean the wood and wait five days (presumably), for the wood to darken and even out in color - though, as can also be seen in the photos, where the percarbonate cleaned wood had contact with the shelfing, there were light areas,...should I just stain over the lighter areas also?

Test stain on left on soap and water washed wood. Right side is original wood with just soap and water cleaning.

Top wood is original color, bottom is percarbonate cleaned splotchy finish.

Five days after percarbonate cleaning, the wood has darkened almost to color of test stain area to left of lighter spot on wood - where the wood was resting on shelf. It appears that wherever the percarbonate cleaned wood rests on wood, it lightens in color.......can that area just be stained, or will that result in an uneven finish?

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