ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
How do I get water stains off my wooden kitchen table?
By Michele from Ephrata, PA
Thank you for all these hints! I was mortified to find a big water stain on my dark wood table, and it is now completely gone! I was wary to put any substances on the water stain on my table (e.g. toothpaste, butter, mayonnaise) but thought I'd try the warm iron and folded paper towel suggestion. (I was a little anxious because I have ruined another table by leaving a steam iron on it!) but this worked just beautifully! A terrible mark, totally gone, for the price of a few cents of electricity, and a couple of minutes of my time. Phew! Thanks again. :-) (07/19/2010)
The toothpaste tricks works on big, tough stains. But it doesn't clean to thoroughly. What I mean by this is that I put non-gel toothpaste on a hand towel and rubbed it in a circular motion over the stain. It took out the the huge, disgusting parts of it, but there is still a tiny light spot on the table. Any help? (08/27/2010)
I have a water stain on a maple table that I can't remove.
By jean-marie from Ottawa, Ontario
I put a coffee press on my new mahogany coffee table I had spent months looking for. It left a huge cloudy ring. I was devastated. I looked on line for answers. I tried the mayo trick, but it didn't work.
Someone left a water glass on my maple table and I now have a large white water mark. I have tried mayo overnight, but this did not work. Can anyone suggest anything else?
Miss Maggie from Hantsport, Nova Scotia
I read a tip in a magazine recently that toothpaste works, although I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet. (10/31/2005)
I have used this and it does work: Equal amounts of vinegar with olive oil, work it in with finger tips, and let it sit for a couple of hours. Wipe it off with a soft cloth, and voila! (10/31/2005)
By Kinga Duchin
My grandma had a white water stain on one of her old tables and she used a couple paper towels folded in half, and then used an iron on low and ran over the mark a few times, and it seemed to do the trick. I think she might have let the mayo sit on there before she did that then wiped it off before she did the other. (10/31/2005)
Cigarette ashes and saliva work well. Rub it in with your finger, leave a few minutes, and then wipe. (10/31/2005)
I have used JASCO Furniture White Ring Remover. It comes in a small white container with a cloth inside. All you have to do is take the rag and rub it with the grain of the wood until white rings, marks, and minor scratches in finish disappear. It really works! (11/04/2005)
All a water mark is, is trapped water under layers of wax and polish build up. What you need to do is remove all the layers and the water mark will disappear. Spray on polish is bad for furniture and shouldn't be used! So once you have removed the layers, all you should do is dust over the wood with a cloth to keep the dirt off. (11/23/2005)
By Ben Staerck
My father-in-law told me to rub butter on the stain (never margarine), let it set awhile then wipe it off. Polish with a soft cloth. This has worked for me a couple of times. (04/08/2006)
I have already tried the toothpaste method, and it didn't work (but the air does smell rather minty fresh). I hope the iron works. My hubby is going to kill me if he spies the water mark on his grandmother's bookshelf. (01/06/2007)
For water marks, use the JASCO white ring remover cloth. It's only about $4 dollars and works in seconds. I just used it and was amazed! (11/08/2007)
I used pure orange juice. Rub it in vigorously until you see the stain disappear, then wipe clean. The acid in the orange juice releases the moisture trapped under the finish. (02/18/2008)
I tried folding a paper towel in half and running a warm iron over it and it worked! Thanks for the tip! (03/09/2008)
I tried the paper towel trick on a dark wood desk and it really works. Warm iron and folded paper towel. (04/17/2008)
BE CAREFUL WITH IRON: It got rid of the water mark, BUT left small circular white marks either from the bottom of the iron or the markings on the paper towel. Now it looks worse (04/20/2008)
By Chicago Gal
Thanks so much, I have a beautiful coffee table I bought at a thrift store. It's always had a mark on it so I've not really taken care of it and it has gotten really bad. An hour with an iron and some paper towel and it's like brand new. Some really bad rings I never thought would totally come out. I'm sharing this with everyone. (06/19/2008)
Wow! I just did the paper towel/iron trick and it worked in about 30 seconds. There were 3 water stains on a maple desk and they are GONE. Thanks for the tip! (08/04/2008)
I just tried the paper towel and iron on my table that had a bad water stain on it, and in 30 seconds it worked. I was amazed. I didn't think it would work, but tried it. I am so glad, as this is an expensive table I have in my dining room and it didn't look it. Now it's back to being new. Thanks for your suggestion. (11/15/2008)
Just tried the iron/ paper towel trick on a water mark from a hot pan lid. I got rid of an 8" circle on a wood counter in about a minute. Obviously, works on hot and cold water stains. Too good! (11/17/2008)
This works really well! Although, my stain looks better, I still have a slight cloudy mark that the steam iron has made. I'm a bit scared to keep doing it in case it gets worse. (01/02/2009)
I just tried the iron and paper towel on our maple table with heat marks and they've disappeared. Thanks so much for your suggestions! (01/03/2009)
I was just sick when my guest and I found the casserole size water stain on my new coffee table. If I had not tried the iron paper towel thing I would not have believed it. AMAZING! It's gone and good as new without the use of chemicals. Thank you! (01/16/2009)
I just did the iron and paper towel trick on our beautiful dinner table and it works! Now, here is the ironic part; the white areas got on the table from me ironing on it one day when I was in a hurry using steam! Never again. :) Thanks for the tip! (02/12/2009)
By Peanut Butter Joshy
Today I read some postings to remove a water stain mark from my wood table and it worked. Take the advice given here because it's true. I was selling the piece of furniture and I kind of hesitated at first to do it, but I had to because my buyers were coming today. My husband and I were very surprised. It lifted right up and our buyers took it home. They would've never known thanks to this site. (11/14/2009)