How to remove water stains from wooden furniture ?

When they are made of wood, tables, pedestal tables and sideboards are pieces of furniture exposed to the risk of water stains. Overturned glass and overflowing flower pot spoil the beauty of the wood. Indeed, if the piece of furniture is not wiped immediately, the water forms a white halo, and the stain becomes very dark when the water penetrates deeper into the fibres. For remove those water stains, the wood must be treated with delicacy, and ideally with natural products. But some precautions are to be taken.

Remove very recent water stains from wooden furniture

Recent water stains can be identified by their white coloring. They are quite easy to eliminate, in any case much more so than dark stains due to the deep infiltration of water in the wood.


Prepare a mixture of turpentine, cold tea and ammonia then rub the stain after soaking a soft cloth of this preparation. This solution can be used on raw wood or treated wood furniture.

A paste made from salt and water

Here is a product that we all have on hand: fine salt. Place a good spoonful of it in a cup and add a few drops of water to obtain a paste to spread where the furniture is stained.

Sodium bicarbonate, the magic solution to remove a water stain from wood

Definitely, sodium bicarbonate is able to provide many services at home and in the garden. It does not deserve when it comes to removing water stains on wooden furniture whether it is intended for indoors or outdoors. And in addition to being really effective, sodium bicarbonate is very economical.

The ingredients needed to prepare the stain remover paste for wood are baking soda, toothpaste and black soap as well as lint-free microfiber type cloths.

The procedure is simple since it is enough to mix the equivalent of a small knob of toothpaste with a mocha spoon of sodium bicarbonate. Then place this paste on a soft, slightly damp cloth and gently rub the stain in scrupulously respecting the direction of the wood. Place a small dab of pure black soap on a clean corner of the cloth and rub the stained surface again, always respecting the direction of the grain.

The black soap goes to feed the area detached from the furniture thanks to its richness in olive oil. Leave to dry, then wipe a clean, dry microfiber-type cloth over the entire piece of furniture. Theoretically, any halo left by the water should have disappeared.

Removing old water stains from wooden furniture

When the water has penetrated to the heart of the fibers, the wooden furniture presents one or more dark spots. The operation is quite delicate because it consists in treating the material more in depth. This often makes it necessary to tint the furniture afterwards so that it regains its original appearance.

Gentle sanding

Generally, if we don’t act quickly, the water seeps into the fibers of the wood and over time, it ends up leaving a dark stain. In this case, the only way to restore its beautiful appearance to the stained furniture is to carry out a first extra soft hand sanding using medium grit (100) sandpaper.

The operation consists of removing the topcoat and then sanding a second time with 150-grit sandpaper so that no trace of this old stain remains. After having dusted the furniture perfectly with a vacuum cleaner, all that remains is to polish the treated area so that it regains its original color. It is also possible to apply two or three coats of varnish, respecting a drying time between each coat.

Bleach only on light wood

Hands protected by gloves, bleach is applied to the stained part using a small brush. The goal is to fade dark spot. To do this, it is necessary to leave on for a few hours so that the bleach has time to act. All that remains is to remove it with clear water and a sponge, then to dry well with a dry, soft cloth.

Be careful, if the bleach is not completely removed, it will continue to act, which may intensify the discoloration. To prevent the treated area from becoming lighter than the rest of the furniture, it is possible to stop the action of the bleach residue in the heart of the wood fibers with a few drops of crystal vinegar also called alcohol vinegar, household vinegar or white vinegar (these are indeed the same product). Allow sufficient drying time (a few days) before staining the wood to obtain a perfectly homogeneous surface.

white vinegar

Crystal vinegar can also be used with olive oil to remove a water stain, but it is best to only use it if the furniture is rough or light in color. Vinegar is acidic and may discolor dark furniture.

Removing water stains from wooden furniture: precautions

Whatever the solution used for restore water stained wood furniture, it is imperative to perform a test on a hidden area. This will prevent an even bigger stain from appearing in the middle of the sideboard or table. Indeed, we are not immune to this type of disappointment even if we use natural products, especially when they are acidic.

You should also know that dark furniture may discolor. After stain removal, it will therefore have to be re-dyed as in the case ofebony for example. But the precious wood such as the Rosewood should also be treated with special care. If you have this type of furniture, it is better to be content with the softest possible natural products. We ban lemon, vinegar, bleach.

Ideally, one tries to immediately mop up spilled water so that it does not have time to seep into the wood fibers. But if the damage is done, it is safer to contact a cabinetmaker. This professional knows all the particularities of species and can detach precious wood without damaging it.

Preventing Water Stains on Wooden Furniture

To limit the risk of seeping water into the wood, it is better to take precautions. We can for example lay a bulgum covered with a tablecloth on the dining room table before a meal, set up vases and plant pots on a pretty plateau rather than directly on the sideboard or wooden pedestal table. This is essential to protect the furniture and it avoids having to remove water stains and then re-tint or varnish the surface after treatment. Despite all the care taken during the operation, if the appropriate solution is not used, the result may prove to be disappointing.

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