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Removing Water Stains & White Rings from Wood Furniture

For wood furniture to last long, you need to handle it with utmost care. To prevent it from getting damaged, most people put placemats, cloth covers, coasters, or even glass and epoxy over it. However, accidents happen and at one point or another, you may get white rings or water marks. These stains occur when any kind of liquid spills or drips onto your wooden furniture. Learning how to remove water stains from wood will help keep your furniture look nice and new.

In most cases, gently buffing the stain with a clean cloth will work. However, this only goes for stains that are new. Old stains may be a bit harder to remove. Listed below are some of the ways you can remove water stains and white rings on furniture.



[box type=”warning”] Always test on an inconspicuous piece of the wood before beginning! [/box]

Method 1: Dry iron:

1.)    Put a cotton or lint-free cloth above the stain.

2.)    Use a hot, dry iron without steam to press down on the cloth for several seconds.

3.)    Repeat until the stain is gone.

Method 2: Mayonnaise:

1.)    On a paper towel, place around 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. For best results, add cigarette ashes.

2.)    Press lightly on the stain.

3.)    If the stain is new, leave the towel for about 15 minutes and check if the stain disappeared. If the stain is old, leave it overnight or for a few hours.

4.)    Repeat until the stain is gone.

Method 3: Toothpaste and baking soda:

1.)    Mix equal amounts of white non-gel toothpaste and baking soda until it has the consistency of paste. If you don’t have both ingredients, either one will suffice.

2.)    Place some of the concoction on a clean cloth.

3.)    Buff the stain by wiping the cloth in a circular motion.

4.)    Clean out the remaining mixture and apply furniture polish.

Unlike other methods, this method can only be used on wood furniture that is highly finished.

Method 4: Bleach:

1.)    Sand the wood’s old finish.

2.)    Use an old brush to apply the bleach on the stain.

3.)    Wait for the bleach to evaporate. This may take a few hours.

4.)    Apply some more bleach and let it stay overnight.

5.)    If the stain isn’t removed yet, use commercial wood bleach or oxalic acid. You can buy this from furniture restoration professionals.

  1. Use a damp sponge to moisten the wood. This will allow better penetration of the bleach.
  2. Combine equal amounts of the ingredients of the wood bleach.
  3. Apply some of the mixture on the stain and let it sit for a while.
  4. Wait for it to bubble and then neutralize the bleach. This should take around 4 hours.
  5. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water.
  6. Dip a sponge into it and then rub onto the bleach.
  7. Refinish your furniture.

Bleach is a chemical that can really damage your furniture. Proceed with caution!

Method 5: Salt and cooking oil:

1.)    Mix some salt and cooking oil.

2.)    Apply the mixture onto the stain and wait for around 15-20 minutes.

3.)    Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off the mixture.

4.)    Polish with furniture polish.

Method 6: Petroleum jelly or Vaseline:

1.)    Use the corner of a dry sponge to put some Vaseline on the stain.

2.)    Let it sit for around 8 hours or more.

3.)    Wipe the Vaseline off with a clean cloth.

4.)    If the stain is still there, repeat the process but this time leaving the Vaseline on longer.



Listed above are just some of the safe and easy ways to remove water stains from wood. As you can see, getting rid of the white rings on furniture is not as hard as it seems. In fact, most of the ingredients used to remove them can already be found in your home. It is important to remember that the stains will not disappear right away. You may have to repeat a method a number of times before you get the results you want. However, there are some stains that may really be difficult to remove. If none of the methods above work, you can always ask the help of a professional.

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