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How to remove water stains from wood

House cleaning product on wood table, blue equipment concept

Your wooden furniture doesn’t need to remind you that you made a mistake of leaving a glass of cold water on it without grabbing a trusty coaster. Those ugly water stains that ruin the entire look of wood furnishing pieces are actually not too difficult to get rid of, especially if you take emergency actions and don’t allow them to sit and set for too long.

Till the water doesn’t penetrate through the finish of your wood furniture, you have time to get rid of those well-known and commonly hated whitish cup rings.

Unfortunately, antique furniture owners aren’t that lucky. They’ll have to address the services of professional furniture repair and restoration contractors in order to bring the ideal look of wooden finish of their furnishing items back.

The same applies to those, who let the moisture penetrate deeper into the wood and dry in it. Thus, they allowed those surface-based water stains turn into stubborn damaging spots, which will remain visible unless the furniture is refinished.

So, if you examined the damage and determined that homemade water mark remedies aren’t going to work for you, go to HireRush.com and post a refinishing/wooden furniture restoration task for our furniture assembly and repair contractors.

Leave your request here

If you managed to catch your water stains on time, try to apply these methods to remove water stains from the wooden surface of your furniture.

5 ways to remove water stains from wooden furniture

1. Mayo and wood polish method

What you need:

  1. some mayo
  2. wood oil/polish
  3. 1 rag


10-15 minutes + polish drying time

How to remove water stains

Apply a generous layer of mayo all over the damaged wood are and let it rest there for about 10 minutes before wiping it off with a damp rag.

The watermark should be almost gone by now. But, in order to make it even more invisible, apply a little bit of wood polish onto the stained surface.

Once the polish is dry, you won’t be able to notice water stains even if you try.

Baking soda and water method

What you need

  1. Baking soda
  2. Room temperature water
  3. A small bowl
  4. A cotton rag


3-5 minutes

How to remove water stains

In a small bowl, mix two parts of baking soda with one part of water. Wet a corner of your cotton rag in this mixture and rub water stains with it.

Continue rubbing the wood surface (gently!!!!) till the water ring is almost unnoticeable.

3. Toothpaste-based white stain removal method

What you need:

  1. regular toothpaste (white one; gel kinds won’t work)
  2. 1 rag


5-10 minutes

How to remove water stains

The actual application process is as easy as can be.

You just need to squeeze a little bit of toothpaste and spread it all over the water stains. However, you need to be quite precise not to leave the toothpaste beyond the actual mark. Otherwise, the water stain will only grow in its size.

Dabbing and rubbing toothpaste into the wooden surface using a rag will increase the effectiveness of this method.

Once you’re done applying toothpaste directly onto the watermark, you need to let it sit there for a couple of minutes.

Some people suggest that you should leave the toothpaste on water stains for several hours. However, being aware of the risk that toothpaste might work against you and leave a bigger mark if you leave it to sit on wood for too long, I’d stick to the 3-5 minute timing.

Once that time is over, remove toothpaste from the surface with a clean damp rag and wipe it dry.

4. Salt and water remedy

What you need:

  1. 1tsp of salt
  2. several water drops
  3. cotton cloth or a sponge
  4. wood polish


5-10 minutes + polish drying time

How to remove water stains

Turn the salt into a thick paste by mixing it with a little bit of water, apply it directly onto the water stains and use a rag to rub in into the surface till the marks are gone.

After that, wipe the salt paste off, dry the wood surface and refinish it with a little bit of polish (if needed).

Paint thinner against water stains on wood

What you need:

  1. paint thinner (odorless)
  2. cotton cloth
  3. paste wax


10-15 minutes

How to remove water stains

Paint thinner works great, but you need to make sure that it doesn’t get rid of your furniture’s top finish along with water stains.

Apply a little bit of paint thinner onto the rag and use it a hidden spot of your furnishing piece to test it.

If everything is all right, rub the water stain with it till it’s gone. Treat the water damaged area with a little bit of paste wax and you’re done!

Note: Don’t raise your expectations too high, as none of the home remedies will make water stains on wooden furniture disappear for good.

Will they make them less noticeable or almost unnoticeable? Yes, for sure. And some of them will do a great job.

But it is scraping the finish of your wood furniture off and applying a new one that will restore the non-damaged look of your furniture.

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