Picture of a dining room table

How to Remove Water Stains from Wood Furniture

If you’ve made the decision to invest in wood furniture for your home, you know how important it is to protect it. Since some types of woods are very soft, your new furniture can be prone to both dents and scratches, and you will need to source protective materials to keep your furniture looking as good as new. If you are the proud new owner of a beautiful wooden dining set, it’s not just worrying about dents and scratches that could keep you awake at night. Water stains on your dining room table could ruin the finish and are unsightly to look at. You could simply cover them over with a tablecloth since out of sight is out of mind. But you didn’t spend top dollar for a beautiful wooden table that you can no longer proudly display. If your wooden furniture is showing the signs of water stains, what can you do to remove them?

What Can You Do Remove Water Stains?

When it comes to items that go hand and hand, two things you’ll want to leave off the list are water and wood. The two do not mix. Water in liquid or gas form causes damage to the surface of wood, particularly if it is untreated. Whether or not you will be able to remove the stain depends on its depth in the wood itself.

Water stains made by steam are most often light in colour and appear as hazy white circles or outlines in the grain. These types of water stains are typically the easiest to treat as they often sit just beneath the surface of the wood’s protective coating. The light colour is an indicator that the moisture from the water is located in the wood’s finish and has not actually penetrated into the layers of wood itself. Darker stains mean the water has reached the wood and are far more challenging to remove.

If your wooden furniture is showing signs of water damage, here are some remedies you can attempt to remove the stains:

  • Make use of an iron.

To remove water staining, it is important to try to figure out how to dry up the source of the moisture. An iron is the perfect tool to get the job done!

Before you get started, you will need to be sure to remove all water from your iron. Allow your iron to pre-heat on low while you lay some cotton fabric over the stained area of your wooden furniture. Briefly apply the iron directly to the fabric in the location of the stain. Remove the iron and lift the cloth to see if the stain has disappeared. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.

Some people report attempting to dry a water stain making use of a blow dryer. This method would greatly reduce the chance of scorching the wood as the heat is not placed directly on the wooden surface. If you attempt to use a blow dryer to remove water stains, you will not need to cover the stain with a cloth. Simply use the blow dryer on a cool to warm setting and point it at the stain, leaving the dryer a few inches away from the wood. 

  • Try some mayonnaise.

Who knew that mayonnaise had more purposes than simply a tasty condiment on a sandwich? The mayonnaise method has been quite effective in helping families eliminate water stains in their furniture.

To give this method a try, apply a small amount of mayonnaise to a soft cloth and gently work it into the stain. Allow the stain to set for a minimum of one hour or for as long as overnight. Should the mixture begin to dry, simply reapply a thin layer of mayonnaise to the affected spot and allow it to set.

Once the mayonnaise has had opportunity to work into the stain, you will need to apply some ashes from cigarettes or your fireplace on top of the mixture and allow it to rest. When set, gently remove the ashes and mayonnaise with a soft dry cloth, and your stain should now be gone!

Many experts agree that petroleum jelly is also an effective medium for this water stain removal process.

Whether you use petroleum jelly or mayonnaise to facilitate this technique, the principle remains the same. The oil in these substances is able to gently penetrate through the finish of the wood and into the moisture. The roughness of the ashes helps to act as a drying agent to remove the liquid, and thus, the stain.

  • See if toothpaste will do the trick.

If you’ve tried it all with no results, the next method just might be the winner. Grab a soft clean toothbrush and your toothpaste. Apply a small amount of toothpaste onto the brush and worth it directly into the stain, scrubbing gently but vigorously. The toothpaste should cause the stain to lighten at the very least but often will remove it entirely from the surface.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Wooden Furniture from Future Stains?

There is no question that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to keeping your wooden furniture stain-free. If you’ve had success removing water stains from wood, the best thing you can do going forward is to make a plan to protect the surface to keep water stains from occurring again.

There are several things you can do to ensure your wooden furniture does not succumb to blemishes from water in the future. The easiest thing you can do is make use of coasters. Coasters come in all kinds of colors and themes. You can have a ball selecting ones that suit your home and your personality to a “T.”

If coasters aren’t your cup of tea and you don’t mind covering up the beautiful finish on your wooden table, you can make use of cushioned pad. These types of pads go underneath your tablecloth and help prevent damage to tables or all sorts by absorbing the heat and moisture to keep it from ever reaching your wooden furniture. Though these pads can be quite expensive, they are an excellent investment and will allow your furniture to remain looking pristine for many years to come.

Got water stains on your wooden furniture?

Try one of our home remedies today to help restore your table to its original glory!

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