How To Remove Water Stains from Finished Wood

Removing water stains from finished wood is a common task that many people face. It generally occurs when wet cups leave rings or when water is left on a wood surface for an extended period of time. In many cases, the stain is superficial, only occurring on the finished surface.

Remove Water Stains from Finished Wood

Many dining tables, coffee tables and other types of wood furniture feature glossy, finished surfaces. Ignoring the warning to use a coaster often results in a white water mark. Follow these simple steps to remove the water mark or water stains from the wood surface:

  1. Fold a clean, lint-free towel, like a barkeeper's towel or cloth diaper, unitl it is several layers thick.
  2. Place over the water mark and apply a dry, hot iron for five seconds. You can also use a blow dryer set to high heat to warm the towel.
  3. Repeat until the stain is gone.

This method works on many types of finishes, but is especially effective on wood finished with wax. The heat helps to draw trapped moisture out of the finish and wood.

If the water stain remains on the wood

  1. dampen a cloth in salad oil or mayonnaise.
  2. Rub over the stained wood to erase the white marks.
  3. Marks extending deep into the wood may require dampening a clean, dry cloth with several drops of ammonia.
  4. Rub into the stain, following the direction of the wood grain.
  5. Continue rubbing until all marks are removed.

Once a water stain is removed

  1. Apply furniture polish or wax to restore the original beauty of the wood. 
  2. Start at the center of the furniture and work your way toward the edges, buffing the entire surface. 
  3. Buff using a clean cloth to remove excess polish or wax.

Furthermore, if you want to avoid this situation in the long-term, then consider using coasters or getting a runner that would absorb water.