How To Remove Water Stains From Wood

Refinishing a piece of furniture is a great way to save money while update a piece you love. There are lots of tips floating around about how to clean these marks off, some a bit safer for your wood floors and furniture than others. I would also appreciate if you could guess if the cleaning method on this page would work on the stains. If you’re afraid that placing the iron directly onto the table will make the damage worse you can just take the iron and hover over the spots to see what happens. If you’re trying to remove an old finish by hand sanding or with a common orbital finishing sander, you’ll wear yourself out and waste a lot of sandpaper.

Once you’re done stripping and the surface is dry, wipe with mineral spirits using a clean cloth to remove any residual stripper. Whatever method you choose to apply to remove stains from your wooden furniture, the trick lies in being patient and persuasive. Test any of these methods on a section of the wood not visible before attempting to remove the stain. This amazing antique dining table was literally caked with old, crackled varnish so it is the perfect piece to share! This works best on light stains, although it can dramatically lessen heavier stains. However the dark brown salve trestle table from RH was ruined by the 100% tung oil.

As far as going lighter, the only way you would be able to do that is the old fashioned way (or painting)…sanding completely down to the bare wood and restaining. If you can put the table out in the sun, try rubbing it with a suitably colored furniture polish then setting it out in the sun for a while. My wife is an Essential Oils member and she brought in a small bottle of Lemon Essential Oil and placed several drops on the stain.

But however careful we are while cleaning, bleach stains still happen, and when they do, panic tends to set in. Most of us haven’t heard how to remove bleach stains, as we assume that they’re impossible to deal with. Clean and a community of expert house cleaners how to clean and remove the toughest of stains and learn the latest in home cleaning techniques. With the right stain stripper, a few hours and a little guidance from our pros, you can restore wood back to its original unfinished state and turn your smoky-brown bench into a blonde beauty.

You can share your own tips for how to remove crayon stains from various surfaces, including wood, or read other tips already submitted. Then you will want to lightly sand the wood since it doesn’t look like it needs much sanding. Chemical stripping is the best paint stripper for carved wood with hard-to-reach, intricate areas, but in reality you will probably use a combination mechanical and chemical methods for your project, especially if you have layer upon layer of old paint to take off.

It might sound like the makings to your favorite salad dressing, but believe it or not, a little oil and vinegar might be all you need to bring your favorite old wood dresser back to life. White stains occur when water penetrates the surface of the furniture—the finish—but not into the actual wood itself. Q: We are doing a renovation project that has used a lot of wood – poplar for trim, sheets of bead board made from MDF on the walls, and lauan for ceilings. I then rubbed it with lemon oil and unless you knew there had been a spot there you really can’t see it. Thank you so much! I think I cut my teeth on a block of wood and I literally learned to walk in a cabinet shop.

Some of the methods below work better on fresh marks, but it is possible to remove marks that have been there for years. If your dark stain is under varnish, you may have to strip off the varnish layer before you can chemically treat the stain. Bleach is a corrosive, so always use cold, clean water to flush away neat bleach from metal surfaces before it causes damage. This is remarkably easy – just follow the instructions on the label, and test a very small area of the wood first to check whether the stain will give you the desired result.

If mineral spirits doesn’t work, gently wipe the stain using a soft rag lightly dampened with denatured alcohol. These are the types of stains you often get when a planter is left on a wood floor and begins leaking. The alternative is the Peelaway 7 this is a poultice that you can leave on for 24/48 hours and then peelaway to remove the layers of paint.

To remove it, dampen a soft, fine-grade steel-wool pad with more paint stripper and rub it against the wood, following the wood grain, then wipe off the softened stain with a rag. My friend found this website and emailed it to me after I ruined my friend’s table with a hot coffee cup. Simply use the soft rag to apply the mineral oil to the stain and then let it sit like that overnight.


Because it is a solvent, it can loosen and help remove crayon wax, which is a substance not effected much by water, but effectively dealt with by solvents. If you’ve ever thoughtlessly sat a coffee cup or glass down on a wood table without using a coaster, you’ve probably seen how easy it is for those white water rings to happen. It’s also difficult to sand varnish from round or decoratively curved areas such as turned table legs. Whether from a lack of a coaster or a spill that goes unnoticed, the dreaded white ghost mark can mar the look of a piece of wood furniture very quickly.

These cleaners can be a convenient and effective solution for wood surfaces in areas that are frequently soiled, such as kitchens or bathrooms. On the other hand, belt and disk sanders can remove finishes quickly, but since they’re capable of removing so much material, you must be very careful not to ruin the piece by sanding too deeply. The key to erasing the rings is to rub a gentle abrasive cleaner over them until you have freed the trapped moisture. Dark stains are the result of water penetrating the finish and actually making it to the wood itself. There may still be traces of the white mark, but the next step should set the surface right.

I held the dryer about 4 inches from the stain for about 5 minutes and at the same time buffed it with a dry cloth. Bare wood is particularly at risk for permanent staining, as it is just dying to absorb whatever it can. If this doesn’t work, another option would be to rub very gently along the grain of the wood with 000 grade steel wool. Also, for me personally, I like the texture” of wood grain…poly tends to have a plastic” look rather than allowing the texture of the wood to really shine!

Laura and I enjoy entertaining guests and even if you set coasters and napkins out, drinks will end up being left on wood furniture. If you refinish a table with inserts, make sure you strip, stain and finish those at the same time so they will match! If the surface is generally dull or lightly scratched, you may wish to oil the entire surface now. After an internet search, I tried kitty litter, the clumping type, to draw out the moisture.

According to fans of the product, it will not only remove minor scratches and water stains, but will also remove heat stains and even out the finish. On the other hand caustic products usually contain a very strong alkaline which may react with chemicals in the wood resulting in staining or scorching of the wood. You can even cover it by pressing plastic bags into the stripper, to hold it against the wood.

We bought the dark brown salvage trestle table and treated with one coat of the 100% tung oil, after we tested it on an elm wood coffee table-natural color. To remove those last bits of finish, palm sand with medium sandpaper (150 grit) until you see the bare wood. It took them about 20 minutes of applying heat but according to the post, the hair dryer was the only trick that actually worked. For example, if one shade of stain is a bit too dark you can add a lighter stain to it until you get the desired shade.

Generally, these sorts of stains happen beneath plant pots with porous bases, hence they really get ‘established’. They were about $4.00, I think, from Home Depot, and the set had the thick steel that I really needed to get down into the grooves of the palm wood. The heat from this cup of tea softened the finish and allowed the moisture to get into the top layer of finish.

Stripping the wood of the old finish is critical to the project and can be hazardous if you are not sure when the furniture was made and what chemicals could have been used in the process. You can use a wax to remove it, but to time consuming and gets in the divots and can be impossible to get out. It, of course, darkens the table and changes the color, but it doesn’t seem to darken as much or add the amber tone like the Monocoat Oil (linseed) does. Keep in mind too that once you strip all the old finish, you are REALLY going to see the character” (grain) of the wood.

Hi Alicia, it’s hard to say without seeing it. If I really didn’t want to have to sand the entire piece down to restain/poly I would probably try matching that one spot with a bit of regular stain (to match the rest) and then apply the Polyshades over the whole thing. Naturally, the quicker you catch the stain, the easier removal will be. Old stains can be removed as well.

Zinzzer, BIN, Stx (by Inslx, now owned by BM) and many other adhesive and/or oil based primers ( not the same as oil based paint) are so much more effective. The longer the stain is allowed to penetrate, the darker the color will be. However, this only works to a certain extent. It will also remove any tiny raised fibers, making the piece appear smooth and clean. Though it’s a slow process, you should finally see the stain faded into the wood’s original color. I just got myself a Victorian hall chair in an auction and I want to restore the wood finish. Whatever you want to do, you’ll need to get all that rubbish off the surface to reveal the stunning wood beneath.

If the stain is still there, mix equal amounts of baking soda and toothpaste together to make a slightly stronger, yet still mild, abrasive and rub that mixture on the stain. I applied the tung oil without paint thinner and I think my particular table (1900s Boulangerie) is so dry that it just soaked it right up without any problems. White rings are easier to handle, using simple household items not associated with home repair: mayonnaise or a hair dryer.