How to Get Rid of Water Stains on Wood Furniture

Posted by Sandpaper America on Jun 5th 2020

How to Get Rid of Water Stains on Wood Furniture

We have all been guilty of setting down a beverage without using a coaster. And we all know what happens when you don’t use a coaster: You get water rings! After working so hard to finish or restore a piece of wooden furniture, water stains can be a big deal. To make matters worse, these unsightly water stains seem like they are permanent since they never seem to wipe away completely no matter how much “elbow grease” you use. Fortunately, there are some effective methods of removing pesky water stains that actually work. Best of all, they are safe for finished wooden surfaces and easy to do!

Continue reading to learn what it takes to get rid of water rings on furniture for good.

Two Methods of Water Stain Removal

There are two primary water stains on furniture: white stains and dark stains. A white, or light-colored, stain is a result of water getting trapped in the surface layer of the furniture’s wax sealcoat or finish. These kinds of water stains are less worrisome, since they generally disappear on their own after a few days. If white stains don’t disappear after two or more days, you can choose a few methods to remove them.

Removing White Water Stains

Place a dry, clean, cotton cloth on top of the stain; and then apply a hot, steam-free iron on top a few times over. Do not use too much heat or too much pressure, otherwise you risk damaging the wood or finish. The right amount of heat will evaporate the moisture in the wood and remove the mark for good!

If the iron trick does not work, try dabbing the water stain with mineral spirits. This will remove any wax on the surface that is trapping the moisture inside. Don’t use too much because it can damage the wood. If mineral spirits don’t work, gently wipe the spot with denatured alcohol. Again, don’t use too much or wipe too much or the varnish will soften. Always test a small spot first to make sure it is safe to use on your furniture.

Removing Dark Water Stains

White stains are one thing, but dark stains require a more invasive approach. Dark stain indicates that water has already passed the initial layer of varnish, and has infiltrated deep into the actual wood. For this reason, the only effective method of removing set-in water stains is to strip, sand, and re-treat wood. You can try the above-mentioned methods to remove dark water stains, but in most cases, refinishing the entire piece is the only effective method.

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