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How to remove water stains from wood, different methods for you to try!

Do you have a nice piece of wood furniture but it has a nasty white or dark stain on it? We’ve all been there. Especially parents! Kids cause a lot of messes around the house, and wooden furniture is not immune to those shenanigans.

I mean, those little white rings that are pretty darn annoying can form from an adult leaving a drink which leaves a water ring on the funiture too.

We bought a nice wooden dining table from the brick a year ago, and during the summer the entire top of it was ruined with white rings. I didn’t use a table cloth for a while and all the drinks we had on the table throughout the summer were “sweating” all over the table.

Naturally, this bothered me a lot so I went researching how to get rid of these white water stains. The first thing I tried was the toothpaste and it actually did not work at all.

The problem was, the water rings were white and not dark, which meant that the toothpaste was not the most effective solution. I don’t actually own an iron, so I couldn’t try the iron method, but the thing that worked wonders was the petroleum jelly. I was really shocked at the results.

Here are some things you can do to remove water stains from wood in your home.

Identify The Stain

Is your water stain a white color, brown or even black? The stain colour will help you decide which method you should use for cleaning.

White: White rings and stains are often caused by “sweating” mugs and cups. These stains are from water resting on a wood surface and cold or hot water pushes into the wood finish which causes the clear layer to turn white or light gray.

Dark: A black or brown stain is a result of water reaching the actual wood, and it a little harder to fix. Sometimes the damage is too much and you might have to take it to a professional to restain the furniture.

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Before you dive into these remedies to remove water stains from wood, please perform a spot test on an area on your furniture which you do not often see to avoid damaging your entire piece of furniture. If you have shellac or varnish on your furniture then these DIY methods will probably not work and you’ll need a professional service to help restore your furniture piece.

How to Clean White Stain

White stains are water marks left on your wood furniture from cold water cups on hot days and steamy hot plates from dinner time. Here are some methods you can use to remove water stains from wood:

How to use an iron to remove water stains from wood

This is a method which works on stains which are new and may not work for stains which have been around for a while. The heat from the iron is meant to evaporate the moisture from the water spot.

Tools needed:
Iron
Dry Towel
Microfiber Cloth

The Cleaning Method:
Make sure your table is nice and clean before starting this procedure. There should be no crumbs or residue on the table.

  • Warm up the iron
  • Lay down the towel on the stained area
  • Iron the stain for 5 seconds
  • Check to see if your stain is gone
  • Repeat if stain is still there

The whole process is short and shouldn’t take long at all. You can try a hairdryer if you do not own an iron and use the same process.

Another tip I have for you is to avoid using a cloth with a print on it which can be transferred to your table. For example, if you have an old mickey mouse shirt that you want to use to iron the table with, the mickey mouse character could potentially be permanently ironed onto your table. That wouldn’t be so good, so choose a plain cloth or towel.

How to use mayonnaise to remove the white stain from wood furniture

You can try using mayonnaise to remove the water stains from wood in your home. The oil in the mayonnaise should displace the lodged in moisture. This method also works when removing crayon marks from your wood furniture as well.

Tools:
Mayonnaise
Cloth
Time

How It Works:

Make sure your furniture is clean of any crumbs and dirt before starting this cleaning process.

  • Dip your cloth into the mayonnaise
  • Apply mayonnaise to the water stain on wood
  • Wait a few hours before wiping the mayonnaise off the stain
  • Wipe away with a clean cloth
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You can leave the mayonnaise over night if you need to.

Use petroleum jelly the very same way if you don’t have mayonnaise at home.

How to use baking soda to remove water stain from wood

Use baking soda to remove the white marks from your coffee table.

Tools:
Baking Soda
Water
Cloth

How It Works:

  • Create a paste with 1tbsp of baking soda and 1tsp of water
  • Dip your cloth into the paste
  • Rub the paste onto the water stain in circular motion
  • Clean the area properly with a dry cloth

Don’t use too much water to remove the water stain from your wood.

How to use salt to remove water stain from wood

You can use salt to remove the water marks leftover from glasses and bottles too.

Tools:
Salt
Water
Cloth

How It Works:

  • Make a paste of 1tsp of salt and a few drops of water
  • Dip your cloth into the paste
  • Rub the paste onto the spot until it’s gone
  • Use wood polish or olive oil to restore the shine and luster

How to use car wax to remove water stain from wood

You have a white ugly ring on the dining room table because someone forgot to use a coaster. Use car wax to remove the water stains!

Tools:
Car Wax
Cloth

How It Works:

  • Dip the cloth into the car wax
  • Buff the stain out
  • Wipe the area clean with a clean dry cloth

How To Clean Dark Water Stain From Wood

When water sits on a wood surface too long the stain becomes dark, and much more difficult to remove. This sometimes happens when planters are leaky and the damage has been happening for months on end. An iron, or petroleum jelly won’t be able to fix this problem. For this tough stain, try toothpaste.

How to use toothpaste to remove water stain from wood

Tools:
Toothpaste
Toothbrush

How it works:

  • Use a cleaning toothbrush and add a dab of toothpaste to it
  • Rub out the stain with the toothbrush. Don’t press too hard to risk scratching
  • Wipe the area clean with a dry cloth

How to use vinegar and olive oil to remove water stain from wood

Always be careful when cleaning with vinegar, there are some things that should not be cleaned with vinegar because it is acidic and can damage your things. Try an area out of sight first if you are going to try this method. The vinegar will help remove the stain and the olive oil acts as a furniture polish.

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Tools you need:
Vinegar
Olive Oil
Cloth
Bowl

How It Works:

  • Mix equal parts of vinegar and olive oil in a bowl
  • Dip the cloth into the mixture
  • Apply the mixture to the water stain
  • Wipe in the direction of the wood grain until the stain goes away
  • Wipe off the solution with a clean cloth

How To Maintain Wood Furniture

Wood furniture requires regular upkeep if you want it to look its best at all times. You should be dusting and properly cleaning your wood furniture regularly.

Citrus oils are designed to prevent the wood from drying out and they add a shine to it too, so it doesn’t hurt to provide your wood furniture with an oil treatment here and there.

To avoid making white and dark water rings on your wood furniture in the future, use coasters every time you have a drink and try placements for dinner time. Heat and sunlight can damage your wood furniture so try to keep it away from them.

Did you enjoy these tips on how to remove water stains from wood? I hope these methods work for you. The method that worked best for me was the petroleum jelly!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Wood

What is the best thing to clean wood with?

To clean wood that isn’t stained you can use dish soap and water. Wipe the wood furniture with a cloth that has water and dish soap on it. Be sure to not over saturate the wood and rinse your cloth out if the furniture is very dirty.

How do you remove grime from wood?

If your wood furniture is full of grime, then you can use a vinegar and water solution to clean it off. Mix a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar into a spray bottle and spray onto the wood. Leave it on for a few minutes before wiping off the grime.

How do you clean old wooden furniture naturally?

You can use a diluted mixture of vinegar to clean your wood furniture naturally.

How do you clean old wood?

Dish soap is the best when it comes to cleaning old wood. Simply wipe the wood down with dish soap and water and watch the dirt slip away.

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