Removing White Heat Marks From Your Table Top

3 Materials
5 Minutes

Our solid wood table is old and has been very well used, it was like that when we bought it on Craigslist about 7 years ago. When we bought it, we had the intention of refinishing it. It's seven years later and I still have not done that. I'm going to try and get it done soon because this trick I use to remove these white heat marks is starting not to work as well as they have been in the past.

Here's another table I refinished and I'm thinking this one will get just about the same treatment.

The table actually had white marks when we got it. The lady we bought it from said that was why she was selling it. I didn't mind because I was already planning on refinishing it anyway. We got the table and chairs for $125. Bargain!

The white marks you see here have arrived over a long period of time. I get to the point where I hate looking at them and then I do the magic trick! I found this idea way back when on Pinterest and it has worked each time.

That big circle mark there is what pushed me to making the spots disappear this time and I thought I'd document it and share it with you in case you needed to know how to magically remove white heat spots from your table. To repair these white marks, all you will need is an iron that has a steam setting and a smooth kitchen towel.

These pots are created by sitting hot items on the table. Yes, I do use pot holders, but sometimes if the item is hot enough and sits there long enough, it makes the mark due to the steamy condensation that builds up in the top layer of finish that is old and breaking down on our table. The finish on our table is wearing very thin from all the use and the heat marks happen more often now. Ironically enough, you also use hot, moist heat to fix them!

You want to use a towel that is pretty much smooth so you don't give the top layer of your finish any texture while trying to repair your white marks. The towel I'm using has been washed to death and is going on thread bare and I now use it for things like this. I've read that you can also use an old t-shirt or wax paper but this old towel is what works best for me each time.

  • Step 1 - Fill your iron with distilled water and set to a medium setting.

  • Step 2 - Lay the towel over the white mark and "iron" using slow continuous motions, don't just hold the iron still over the spot, keep moving. It will take just a few minutes to work, so keep checking often to see if the spot has disappeared.

Totally gone now! The very first time I tried this, I was amazed it actually worked. It's magical!

You can still see some very light spots on there but like I said, the finish on the table is wearing thin and it really needs to be refinished. For now, this method works for me one more time until it warms up enough to be out in the shop!

I've recently read that you can also use a hair dryer to remove the marks too, I might try that next time to see if it will work.

Have you ever removed white heat marks from your table before? What is your method? Let me know! :)

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 19 questions
  • Elaine Mott
    on Nov 22, 2019

    Would this also work on a formica counter top?

  • Jeanette Fluchere
    on Nov 22, 2019

    How do you get the steam effect from a hair dryer?

    • DeeDee
      on Nov 23, 2019

      Hi Jeanette! I've never tried a hair dryer so I am not sure on that method. Sorry! :)

  • Momma Stark
    on Jan 25, 2020

    my table is painted, but I'm sure it has a coating on top. would it work for a painted table?

    • DeeDee
      on Jan 28, 2020

      Hello there! I'm not really sure, Ive never tried it on a painted table. I'd be very careful adding steam to paint though. :)

Join the conversation

4 of 86 comments
  • Tootie King
    on Dec 4, 2019

    I have passed up on buying furniture because of this, and even when it was cheap now i know i will fix and resale or keep. Thanks for the great tip... love it when we can make things look great in no time..

    • DeeDee
      on Dec 4, 2019

      Hi Tootie! You're welcome and me too, thank you for your kind comment! :)

  • Sue Sanders
    on Jan 7, 2020

    This will solve so many problems. Thanks for the tip. Even tho I set protective cup holders around when I have company someone set their glass on my solid wood bookcase shelf and left a white ring. I would guess it was a clueless male. Ha I have looked at that ring for I will try this method to see what repair I can get. Ive covered all accent chests and tables with glass to prevent this from happening again.

    • DeeDee
      on Jan 10, 2020

      Hi Sue, good luck and I hope it works out for you! :)

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