Fixing Wood Furniture Damaged by Household Cleaners

October 7, 2008

table damaged by cleanerMy husband cleaned our nice wooden table with Pine-Sol? Now it has white streaks everywhere and looks very dull and ruined. Any ideas on how to remove these? Thanks.


Stacey from Stephenson, VA


October 8, 20087 found this helpful
Best Answer

This sounds crazy, but try mayonnaise. I was manager for a cleaning company and a client asked me if I could fix his table. Said been that way long time. It was either watermarks or from heat. Rub in mayonnaise then take a clean soft cloth and clean it until the greasiness is gone. I found this tip in a magazine. Works beautifully!

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22 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

February 26, 2019

How do I repair my wooden table? I accidentally left a cloth that had a mix of water and bleach soaked into it and now there is a white stain. I tried furniture polish, but that didn't work either. It just looks like a white spot. Any solutions that work? Please help.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
February 26, 20190 found this helpful
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Try saturating the stain with mayonnaise. Leave a half hour and buff off. If that doesnt work, the bleach damaged the finish and you will have to strip, sand and stain again.


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February 27, 20190 found this helpful
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If it is just a stain, you may be able to remove it from the methods described below. Or there are tons of YouTube videos to fix a stain.

The issue is usually much more serious in that it ate the finish and got to the wood. So then you would remove the "stain" but see damage underneath it.


When this happens, at least in my experience, it requires stripping, sanding and refinishing.

When I was much younger, I could tackle such projects with ease and did over several "ruined" pieces--a side table, a night table, and a chair.

Now I would not even venture to try it, especially since the other day when I saw a big news story that the stripper I used to use is poison (I guess I always figured, but I was young).

The article has been around for a while, not sure why my local news picked it up this week.

Anyhow, if the finish is ruined, you may want to price out having a refinisher look at it, I don't suggest DIY now.

Post back what you decide. Best wishes!!

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September 4, 2022

How do I get bleach cleaner stains out of an oak tabletop?


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September 5, 20220 found this helpful
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You have probably damaged the tabletop finish so you may have to refinish the top. There are instances where you can just refinish a damaged area instead of the complete top, but this may not be an easy job.


Be very careful with what solutions you experiment with, as some can cause even more damage.

I would suggest that you take several good pictures of your tabletop (complete top, stained area, closeup of stained area) and take pictures to your local Ace or True Value Hardware store and ask for help. I have always found these employees knowledgeable about things like this and they usually have pamphlets with complete instructions.
Be sure you know the name of the cleaning product that caused the damage.

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May 17, 2021

I used degreaser on my painted wood cabinets and now I have orange stains all over them and I can't figure out how to remove them. Please help!

Yellow stains on a painted wall.


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 440 Answers
May 26, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

I think your photo is upside-down 90 degrees, and these horizontally positioned yellow stains are actually dried streaks from a dissolved fat.


It seems to me that you did not immediately wipe off the degreaser and it just dripped down and dried.

Maybe the degreaser has damaged the paint and you will not be able to remove these stains, but it is quite possible that the dissolved fat simply remained in the form of streaks and can be re-dissolved with the same degreaser and removed without waiting for drying. So if you can't remove these streaks in any way, and you already think that only re-painting will help you, then try again spray the same degreaser, dissolve these streaks from fat and wipe them off.

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January 30, 2020

I have a black wooden table top on which I accidentally spilled liquid from some antibacterial wipes. It left a smeary kind of stain that I can't remove.

Any suggestions?



Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
January 30, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you tried mayonnaise? You take some and wipe it or rub it into the table where the stain is and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Now take a clean cloth and wipe away all the grease. Normally this works great for most problems.


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
January 31, 20200 found this helpful
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If the wipes are marked with bleach in them, you'd have to refinish. Did you let it dry all the way? A lot of times when you get liquid on surfaces, when it dries the stain vanishes.

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January 12, 2023

I had a little paint and some sticky stuff like glue residue on my new table. I went to hardware store and was told the product "Goof off" could be used. As soon as I applied to table it took away the color leaving a white spot. Talked with a local wood paint and design company that does refinishing. They said to sand area and see if it's still cloudy or light spot.

My husband did with very fine sand pad 3m. And it is still light spot there. We may need to sand a little further to see if spot does go away. Any advice how to fix without having to do whole table? It's a beautiful wood. But only $500.

A stain on a wooden surface.


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January 12, 20230 found this helpful
Best Answer

This is sad because you may be able to get some of the color but you may not be able to restore it without redoing the complete top.
Goof Off is usually considered 'heavy duty' and Goo Gone is for a milder problem.


I believe your problem may have fallen in the milder category.

I can only suggest you take your picture to your local Ace or True Value hardware store (ACE first) and ask for help. They usually have very good, knowledgeable employees and they may be able to help you find something to at least restore the color to your table top.
Good luck

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April 10, 2016

My wonderful husband tried to help me by washing the table, except he used a dish washing scrub and Palmolive. Now it looks dull, streaky, and horrible.table


I've tried using Murphy's oil soap and it didn't help.
I'm going to use Orange Glo next. I just got this table! Please help.

Cleaner Left Wood Table Finish Dull and Streaky


February 7, 20170 found this helpful

I was told to use polyurethane by a guy who makes tables. You can paint brush it on.
I haven't tried it yet But I need to. I have 3 tables to fix.

June 21, 20171 found this helpful

Old English that you pour into your rag works beautifully and should bring your table back to life.

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June 25, 2011

My daughter sprayed my polished wood table with Windex. Then she proceeded to try and clean it up with a baby wipe. What's left now is the texture/pattern of the wipe embedded in the dried Windex (I think!)

By Karen


June 25, 20110 found this helpful

I found this link on wood finishes...

I was reading about linseed oil and I remembered once reading that linseed oil can self ignite if oily rags are left laying around, I would put them outside in a metal bucket or somewhere where they can dry out and wouldn't do any damage if they caught fire.


As a matter of fact, if you needed to start a fire and couldn't here is a link that tells you how to start one with linseed oil and rags. Wow!

Good luck!


June 25, 20110 found this helpful

Make sure the metal bucket is large, that you dry out the rags in, and they are not stuffed in there with no air, this is a sure way to start a fire.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 450 Feedbacks
June 27, 20110 found this helpful

Actually it was the windex that caused the dammage. You cannot get windex on wood because it distroys the finish. You will have to refinish your wood or have it done. Read the lable before you use any product. Windex tells you not to use it on wood.

October 10, 20160 found this helpful

Sprayed glass cleaner on my coffee table. Left it very streaky. Tried lemon oil and it does not work. What can I do

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May 6, 2013

White cloudy mark on dining table.A bottle of Totally Awesome cleaning product was left sitting on the diningroom table. It must have had product on the bottom, because when I removed it there was a black crusty stain. I worked and got the black off and now have this off white cloudy mark. How do I get the table back to normal? I had put a protective coating on the table in hopes of something like this not ever happening. I have never had a problem with water getting on it. Help please this way my grandmother's table!

By Shirley D.

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August 13, 2017

I used diluted Murphy's Oil Soap, a soft cloth, and elbow grease on the grungy edge of an oak desk top. The finish came up too, so I stopped.

What do I do now? What can I use on the rest of the desk, chair, woodwork, banister, doors, etc?


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
August 13, 20170 found this helpful

I would dilute white vinegar and water. Use a soft cloth to clean the oak desk. Or you can mix a mild dishwashing soap with water to clean your oak desk. Do not scrub too hard because it will leave streaks behind. Afterwards, rinse and wipe your desk with clean water. Allow this to dry.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
August 14, 20170 found this helpful

Old English is very good and they have a product for light or dark wood. I have also used mayonnaise on wood tables and that also worked. Rub in mayonnaise then take a clean soft cloth and clean it until the greasiness is gone. I found this tip in a magazine.

Be sure to test any new product on an inconspicuous area before using it on top. Run gently with soft cloths - no scrubbing.

If your top is dirty try using a Magic Eraser (lightly damp - not wet) before polishing.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 14, 20170 found this helpful

I use Guardsman polish in my furniture and have never had an issue

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July 21, 2016

A bleach bottle was left on the coffee table and now there is a mark from the bottle.


September 6, 20161 found this helpful

I employed a furniture restorer to remove a very nasty stain out of table top just like the one you show in your picture. He told me that the stain was the result of heat from a hot jug or cup. The heat had caused condensation to form under the varnish of the table. Taking the table outside and Wearing appropriate safety gloves etc. He put a very small amount of clear mentholated spirit onto the table stain and set light to it while gently wiping the stain with a dry clean cloth until the flame was out. He repeated the process several times until the stain disappeared before my eyes and the table was as good as new.

September 22, 20160 found this helpful

How do I repair my bleach stain on my wood table

October 31, 20160 found this helpful

We used clorox bleach wipe on wood table. It's stained now. How do I get to stains marks out? Do I have to have it refinished?

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December 13, 2017

So I was cleaning my upright piano one day, and I found some Clorox wipes. Well ya know Clorox wipes cleans about anything, so I cleaned it and now there are white patch looking blotches of something on there.

I have scrubbed it and scrubbed with warm water, but it won't come off. This was my piano teacher's piano when she took lessons. Please help!

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February 20, 2008

I had a household degreaser on my wood dresser. The degreaser leaked from the spray bottle and created a sticky glue like ring. I removed it with cold water, and I noticed that I removed the clear coat and maybe the stain. So now I have a really light ring around the front of my new dresser. Any suggestions?

(Its made of Swirly Wood Veneer with a Carlet Finish. I don't know what that means.)



February 24, 20080 found this helpful

Try rubbing in a little furniture oil and/or furniture scratch remover to see if it helps.

If not, you can always refinish the area that is discolored.

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May 11, 2019

How does one fix a wood side table, after accidentally using oven cleaner instead of furniture polish on it? (both canisters were yellow).

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February 16, 2015

How do I get degreaser off a wood veneer table top that was rubbed in by mistake?

By LaRae

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September 3, 2019

Some chemical ran down my drawer front and stripped the color off where it ran down. Now I have a line running down the drawer. Is there any way to fix besides stripping and sanding.

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September 17, 2013

My husband accidentally set a bottle of wood floor polish on our dresser and left a mark, how can I remove the polish from the furniture?



April 17, 20140 found this helpful

I did the same thing. Help!

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December 4, 2008

A bottle of regular Fantastik spilled on my daughter's white finished wood dresser. We didn't notice the spill until it had already penetrated the surface and stained the area a light purple.

Any way to get it out?

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September 28, 2013

Soft Scrub dripped off the counter and ran down the front of oak drawers leaving a dark line. I tried OOPS and a light sanding, but stain is still there.

By Denise

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September 24, 2013

How do I remove the stain caused by an antibacterial wipe from a wood table top?

By Mike from OR

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August 10, 2018

If the finish on a cabinet is compromised it is possible for cleaners such as oil soaps diluted with water to seep under it. If this has happed to you there are some ideas for solutions in this page.

Damage caused by Murphy's Oil Soap on a wooden cabinet.

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