I have an antique oak dresser with a dark water stain- what can I do?

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My grandson set a glass of water on dresser over night. Have tried toothpaste, Vaseline, coconut oil, mayo, no success. And other suggestions.

q i have an antique oak dresser with a dark water stain, home maintenance repairs, painted furniture, ponds water features, repurposing upcycling, woodworking projects
  15 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 06, 2017
    Try opening a walnut and rub that into the stain.

    • Audrey Audrey on Mar 06, 2017
      Thank you Janet, I tried the opened walnut. Didn't work . Will keep trying others suggestions.

  • William William on Mar 06, 2017
    Bleaching is just about the only way to remove black water stains short of totally refinishing the piece. Sprinkle a generous amount of the Barkeeper's Friend cleanser into a glass or ceramic mixing bowl (the Oxalic Acid it contains can discolor metals) and make a fairly thick paste by adding water.

    If you wish, you can first apply a small amount to an inconspicuous area of the wood surface, to make sure it does not have a negative affect.

    You can apply it with a disposable paint brush, covering the entire stain, and then let it sit until it dries out.

    At that point, you can add another application on top of the first one. It generally takes a few applications, although you should see the stain growing lighter each time. In the event you see no change after several applications, might be better removed with hydrogen peroxide, or regular bleach.

    • Audrey Audrey on Mar 08, 2017
      Was so excited to finally get this dark stain off my table (I'm 81 yrs old) so many friends on Hometalk sent me suggestions, & I tried them all. But yours worked. 😊 Do you think I have to re-stain & poly that area? 😟Thank you for your help.

  • Shoshana Hoffman Shoshana Hoffman on Mar 07, 2017
    Bar Keeper's Friend is a good bet. Best of luck!!

  • Sy Berry Sy Berry on Mar 07, 2017
    that is wood mold, use vinegar to soak in, place a paper towel with vinegar , just about the size of the stain, pour vinegar onto the papertowel and let set, keep wet....then after 5 to 10 minutes add baking soda and wipe clean, then use endust to seal the bleached area.

  • Susan Susan on Mar 07, 2017
    Place towel on top and lightly iron it.

  • Lady Suzane Myles Lady Suzane Myles on Mar 08, 2017
    Fold and place a white T Shirt over the stain then iron it with a warm iron

  • Desertcat lady Desertcat lady on Mar 08, 2017
    Rub may o on it let stand a while, wipe off

  • Connie Siebert Connie Siebert on Mar 08, 2017
    Rub mayonaise on it. This was in an old Household book of my Mothers. Others have tried it and it worked.

  • Donna Kitchen Donna Kitchen on Mar 08, 2017
    Have u considered painting? This was my mess....top L if desk..This is my new buffet

  • William William on Mar 08, 2017
    If the area is lighter than the rest of the table use some Old English Polish. Comes in different shades for different wood colors.....https://www.google.com/#q=old+english+polish&tbm=shop&*

  • Mark Alan Donaldson Mark Alan Donaldson on Mar 09, 2017
    Seeing as it is only Water, It should dissipate on it's own after just a few days,.

  • Dianne Christensen Dianne Christensen on Mar 10, 2017
    We always use Howard's Restore A Finish for water marks. Works like a charm especially with recent water marks.

    • See 1 previous
    • Julie Laubenstein Julie Laubenstein on Mar 18, 2017
      What was the product that worked? Would like to try it, have some of these stains on oak, also. A hint, I have an old oak washstand that I use for a bedside table. I pull out the top drawer and put my water in there. Hence, no water stains on the top. Unfortunately, my house guest did not know this trick :(

  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Mar 10, 2017
    I would love to know which option you decided to go with. I love old oak and I would never dream of painting it.


  • Gammaconley Gammaconley on Mar 12, 2017
    My mom taught me to rub cigarette ashes into the stain. The ash is "superdry" and that will pull the trapped moisture out. We just take a soft rag and rub it around in the ashtray and then lightly rub the stain. Voila! No more mark. Works on all woods.

    • D_b8810131 D_b8810131 on Mar 13, 2017
      this is what my family did and it worked. It is neat hearing other peoples ideas too.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 28, 2022

    You need to dry the stain out - not put more wet item onto it. Place clean towl or linen over stain and then use a warm iron or a hairdryer or use something like Shake & Vac on it or other powder to draw out the damp.