Standard wood stain typically takes between 18 and 24 hours to dry completely. If humidity levels are high, wood stains can take 48 hours to dry. Improper ventilation sometimes results in longer drying times. Certain formulations of interior oil-based wood stains allow re-coating after two hours.
Additional factors leading to extended dry times include thick coats of stain and cold temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Clear wood stains tend to dry more quickly when applied in multiple thin coats. Applying thin coats also helps prevent flashing, a condition that causes the wood to become shiny and dark in color.