How To Remove Water Stains From Wood

April 11, 2016


removing water stains from wood

I have mentioned before that I am kind of a selective perfectionist when it comes to decor. Uneven seams on my hand sewn curtains or painting without priming? Eh. No big. Wrinkles on my bed or crooked pictures on the wall? Big deal. You can imagine how I felt about a having water stains on my wood furniture.

They were a huge deal ~ a real thorn in my side.

Until recently, when I was finally able to remove them. My furniture looks perfect again and I can breathe easier when I pass by and peek at the wood, but for years, they were a source of angst for this decor addict.

Let me set the stage.

A few years ago, my oldest had a problem with her eye. She had a stye that would not go away and along with the antibiotics, the doctor recommended hot soaks. Well...sort of. What he actually prescribed, was a hot potato applied to the eyelid several times a day.

The reasoning behind this method was that the potato held onto the moist heat longer than a compress and would therefore work better to reduce the stye. While this particular remedy did not cure my daughter, she required an awful surgery for that (horrible), there was no arguing that the potato stayed hot for an extended period of time.

As a matter of fact, it stayed so hot and wet for so long that wherever she decided to put it down, also got hot and wet. Not so bad if it was on her bed or the couch or the rug, but truly damaging when she set it on my nightstands, my end or coffee tables.


After weeks of treatment, several pieces of my gorgeous wooden furniture were covered in water stains and I tried everything to get them out with no success.


For years I arranged my magazines, picture frames and candles to cover the branded areas. It was not always optimal when it came to design and I was so frustrated. Not to mention the fact that some pieces were antiques and another was a relatively new treasure made from reclaimed wood.


Grrr.

Then this past winter, I was on Facebook and saw a post from LoveFeast Table, you know, the ladies that sell those fabulous velvet pumpkins? Anyway, they talked about removing water spots with an iron. Hmmm. I hadn't tried that before. I had worked with mayonnaise, vaseline, olive oil and baking soda. The only thing I hadn't tried was heat. I was desperate and decided to give it a shot.

I figured I had nothing to lose.

But those stains.

Here's what I did.

I started with a hot iron, no steam. I grabbed one of my husband's undershirts and starting applying heat in a circular motion over the spot. I was timid at first, but once I could see that no damage was being done to the table, I really dug in.


I had to use a lot of heat to see results, but in no time at all, it disappeared.


No kidding.

I repeated the steps on each piece of affected furniture until all of the water stains were gone...


...and my tables were just like new.

Like I said, I did this several months ago and I waited to share this with you now, because I wanted to make sure that the results would last.

They have.

I also would like to point out that my water stains were old. They had been there for several years and they came out in seconds.

Unbelievable.

I really thought that my furniture was beyond repair, but apparently not so.

It's perfect again.

Of course, more importantly, so is my baby's eye.

Too bad we couldn't have just ironed that problem out as easily.

Have you ever tried the iron method?




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58 comments:

  1. A great tip, Kim, thanks for sharing. And what a relief that the mark stayed gone :-)
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Thanks Amalia! I am happy it's gone, too! :)

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  2. This is good to know! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Wow, I wonder if this will work on my floors. I tried the olive oil method which works pretty good, but it does wear off. Thanks for the info!

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    1. It’s definitely worth a try AnnMarie! Keep me posted! :)

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  4. I have not seen this tip before. It is good to know. Thanks for sharing,Kim. I have a lot of wood and the potential for water stains. I think that I might pin this so that I can remember it when I need it.

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    1. I had honestly tried everything, Lorri and nothing worked. I was so happy to find something that actually did the trick!

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  5. I've heard of toothpaste, but heat?? What a fabulous idea! It does make some sense, assuming the problem is being solved by removing the water. Thanks for passing along a new trick!

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    1. It worked, Nancy...like a charm! Who knew??

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  6. Hi Kim,
    I have not seen this tip before. What a great idea and seems simple enough. Hope all is well with you. Have a great new week ahead.
    Kris

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    1. It was super simple, Kris and I was not a believer until I saw the stain disappear! :) Fabulous!

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  7. Great tip, Kim. I've heard of it but now I'm glad to hear that it really works. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It really works, Kristi…and I am one happy mommy again!! :)

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  8. Now this is a great tip.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Enjoy your day

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan...so happy to share this one, Jan, and maybe help someone out!

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  9. That's pretty amazing! You were brave to try the heat on your gorgeous table. I'll definitely be remembering this trick.

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    1. I was not brave, Stacey, just so desperate. Next step was sanding and staining, so I figured if I wrecked it, I would just have another spot to fix! :)

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  10. Great tip, Kim. I've got this one pinned. Awesome! Hugs, Nancy

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    1. It worked really well for me, Nancy!! I hope you never need it! ;)

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  11. Hi Kim, stopping by to say hi while on a break. This is a great tip for water marks on wood furniture. Thanks for sharing. Hope you're doing well and enjoying some warmer spring days. Have a nice week. xo

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    1. Hi Celestina Marie! Thanks so much and I hope you are having a lovely break and enjoying spring, as well!

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  12. That is so awesome it worked! I've never heard of this method before, but it's one to remember, for sure. I bet you were doing the happy dance when it made your pretty tables like new again! And your poor daughter too...I'm sure that was not a fun thing to deal with. Glad she's all better!

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    1. I did happy dance, those silly marks were a thorn in my side for a long time…and thank you for the comments about my daughter. She was a trooper, it was an awful surgery done while she was awake! I shudder!

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  13. Thank you, a great tip. I have a few water stains to deal with.
    I am glad your daughter is all better too.
    Carla

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    1. Thanks Carla. The trick worked great and I'm happy my daughter is better and that's behind us, too.

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  14. Marvelous . . . wow . . .
    I wonder if a hot iron would take out a green candle wax stain . . .
    It has been there for a long time and I do the "Kim trick" and place magazines or books on that corner to cover it up . . .
    What do you think, should I try the hot iron method?

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    1. Hmm…I don’t know. You could try it. Double up the cloth and go very slow on a small area. I do know that the book/ magazine trick works every time! ;)

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  15. Oh my goodness, Kim, this post is SO right on for me! This past weekend, a hot cookie sheet was set on a towel on my kitchen table, and later, after the cookies had cooled, we pulled the cookie sheet off, and a terrible white mark was left. It is just awful. I was considering my options... painting the table? restaining it? ... You better believe I will be trying your remedy out on this one - a much easier fix if it works! Thanks Kim! Always a joy to visit with you :)

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    1. I hope it works! You'll have to let me know! And thank you...the feeling is mutual for sure! :)

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  16. Thanks for sharing such a great tip!

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    1. Happy to share, Carol. Maybe someone else can use it!

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  17. Awesome trick!!!! I will have to pin this to remember it but seriously, wow!!! I remember trying olive oil, mayo, wood ashes, you name it!!!

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    1. I tried them all too...who knew! Now we do!! :)

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    1. Thanks so much, it was an easy fix...and unexpected!

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  19. I held my breath the entire time! Seriously, you were brave:)
    How awesome!! Thanks for the tip-woohoo!
    Jemma

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    1. Ha! People keep telling me that…but really, I was just desperate!! ;)
      And lucky!

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  20. Now this is new to me ; never heard of it before ...great tip! :)

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    1. Now, I love my iron even more, Deb!!

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  21. This is a Wonderful tip!! I have a few water marks that I will now magically vanish, thanks to you!!
    Now, what do you do for HEAT marks on a kitchen table???? We had spaghetti on hard plastic plates. The placemats were not thick enough to keep the heat from
    damaging the finish. ....boo....
    I have tried mayo, camphor, etc., with no success.
    Thanks again for the hint!!
    Have a good weekend and many blessings to you,
    J

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    1. Oh boy, J...I don't have the cure for that! I have a confession to make. Here I am complaining about my poor daughter who was having a medical issue, messing up my tables. Well, when I was about 11 or 12, I was using nail polish remover in the living room on my mom's brand new Ethan Allen coffee table and well, you can guess the rest. She tried mayonnaise, oil, baking soda, you name it, but nope. We ended up with a doily covering that spot for years. There was no trick for that either!! Oops.

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  22. Hello Kim, I'm so sorry I haven't visited you sooner but I've had a busy week so far. I never heard of this tip but I love it. That is great that the water stains came out! The table looks great!
    I hope you enjoy the rest of the week and weekend.
    Julie xo

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  23. Ok, I have never heard of this but it makes sense. I am definitely gonna try it! Thanks Kim :)

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    1. It worked, Karen. I did it on three separate tables and the stains came out of all. I say try it! :)

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  24. Kim this is such a great solution! I had used contact paper that looked like leather to cover up my boys table. They are bachelors and eat all their meals in front of the tv! I'm happy that you were able to get them out. Now the furniture looks like new.

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    1. It really does look like new now, Mary! Thanks!

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  25. Whew! Sooooooo glad that worked. I think I read about this at some point, but have never tried it. Thank goodness I haven't needed to...yet!

    XXX

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    1. It worked, Doreen! I am armed and ready now! ;)

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  26. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tip, Kim! I have a few water stains that I need to take care of:) I'm glad your daughter is doing better ~hugs, Poppy

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    1. Thank you so much, friend. Eyes and table, all healed up! ;)

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  27. Brilliant result! Looks like your table was solid wood. Q? Did you clean the surface to remove wax etc.? Did you try it on any veneers? Soooooo glad your girl is OK!

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    1. Hi Jane, I did use it on a veneer. The round table is a veneer and it worked! The square table was solid wood though. Worked on both...and thanks!!

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