How to Get Rid of Water Stains on Wood

Oops! Somebody carelessly left a cold drink on your beautiful wood end table—and ugh, they didn’t use a coaster. Now you’re left with an unsightly and unfortunate ring on your table that you can’t seem to get rid of. Before you admit defeat, there are some simple yet effective methods you can try to remove water stains from your wood furniture once and for all.

Before You Get Started

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to dealing with water stains on wood is assuming they need to completely replace or refinish their wooden furniture because of a little water spot. Yes, those stains are unpleasant to look at and they can certainly detract from the look and feel of your space. However, you should always exhaust all your options for getting rid of these stains before taking any drastic measures.

If you can’t stand to look at that water ring in the meantime, that’s okay. Place a lamp, vase, or other decorative items over the stain until you have the time to tackle the stain head-on.

It’s also important to perform a spot test before you try any of the following methods to get rid of water stains on your wood furniture. This is especially important if you’re working with antique wood or wood that has been previously treated with a varnish, paint, stain, or other finish. You can perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area (such as the inside of a table leg) 24 hours ahead of time to make sure there is no damage or discoloration.

Methods for Removing Water Stains

There are a number of tried-and-true methods for removing water stains from most wooden surfaces. However, we’ve picked out a couple of our favorites that we’ve found to be the easiest and most effective. And more than likely, you already have all the supplies and/or ingredients on-hand. If not, you can find everything you need at your local grocery store.

The Clothes Iron Method

If you have a clothes iron lying around, put it to work in ways that don’t involve getting wrinkles out of your clothes! Keep in mind that this method will work best if the water stain you’re dealing with is relatively new. If the stain has been set in for a while, you may be better off skipping to another method.

To try this method, all you’ll need is a clean microfiber cloth, a clean towel, and a clothes iron with no water inside the basin. Begin by wiping the wood clean with a microfiber cloth; otherwise, food crumbs or other debris could actually melt into the wood and cause further staining when heat is applied.

Next, lay down a clean towel directly over the stain itself. With the iron on its highest heat setting, run the iron over the towel for 5-10 seconds. The idea here is that the heat from the iron will evaporate the moisture out of the wood. Lift up the towel to see if any of the stain has lifted, then repeat this process a few times as necessary.

If you’re still left with staining after completing these steps, it may be time to move onto another method.

The Baking Soda Method

Another method that may be worth trying involves the use of baking soda to free moisture that has become trapped inside the wood itself. Just keep in mind that if you follow this method, you’ll likely need to apply a wood wax or sealant to the surface of the wood when you’re done. That’s because baking soda is abrasive and therefore can remove protective sealants and open up the grain of the wood.

To get started with this method, you’ll need a few microfiber cloths, baking soda, and water. You’ll also need some furniture wax or sealant to apply to the wood when you’re done.

Begin by mixing a small amount of baking soda and water together until you have a thick paste. After applying this paste to a microfiber cloth, begin rubbing the stained area of the wood in small, circular motions. Repeat this for several minutes until the stain has completely lifted. As you work, be careful to avoid any unstained areas of wood.

When you’re happy with the results, simply use another clean cloth to wipe away excess baking soda paste and apply furniture wax or sealant once the surface has completely dried.

Preventing Future Water Stains

Now that you’ve gotten those pesky water stains out of your wooden furniture, there are some proactive steps you may want to take to avoid future stains.

Set Out Coasters

Often times, water stains in wood occur when a cold glass is set down on a wood table without a protective coaster. Over time, condensation forms on the outside of the glass, which then drips down and permeates the wood. To avoid these annoying water rings on your wooden tables, make sure you have drink coasters set out for guests (and other members of your household) to use.

Lay Down a Table Cloth

Another option for protecting wooden surfaces in your home is to simply lay down a table cloth or place mats on your wooden table. Many of these cloths and mats come with a waterproof bottom layer to prevent moisture from seeping through. Tablecloths and placemats can also add a nice decorative touch to your space.

Use a Protective Finish

If you have wooden furniture in your home that isn’t finished, it will be more prone to water staining. You can take additional steps to protect the wooden surfaces throughout your home by applying a protective seal in the form of a stain/sealant, paint, wax, or varnish. These products are usually pretty easy to apply (just make sure to apply in a well ventilated area) and can add a layer of protection between your wooden surfaces and the elements.

For More Help Keeping Your Home Beautiful…

The next time you discover a water stain on your beloved wooden furniture, you’ll have a couple of methods in your back pocket to get rid of it. Looking for more help maintaining a beautiful home? Maid Sailors offers a wide range of office cleaning services and maid services to save you time and hassle.

Contact the Maid Sailors team today at (212) 299-5170 to schedule an appointment or find out more about how we can simplify your life. You can also use our quick and easy online booking form to schedule your cleaning service today!

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