How do you get really bad water stains out of a table?

Virginia Ford
by Virginia Ford
I've tried mayo and sanding, nothing works.
  26 answers
  • Lisa Lisa on Jun 21, 2015
    maybe rubbing a walnut on the areas?
  • Melody paik Melody paik on Jun 21, 2015
    mix butter and ashes together and rub in
  • Judy Peters Judy Peters on Jun 21, 2015
    I tried everything on a mahogany buffet. Nothing worked. As a last ditch effort I tried the cleaner for my smooth electric cooktop. It took it off immediately! I was very impressed! Let me know if it works for you!
  • Rachelle Robles Piva Rachelle Robles Piva on Jun 22, 2015
    This works every time!First you need Vaseline or something of a oil base but works best when its closer to a Vaseline,Bag Baum etc. Consistency. Slather it on all the water marks or even dark spots...More is best!Let it sit for about 15-30 minutes,then grab a heat gun(If you don't have a heat gun use a blow dryer,set in sun,or sit overnight by a heater)Aim the heat directly at the spots with your salve still applied.You will see the spots start to disappear.Wipe off and the finish or lacquer should be even toned,if not just repeat the process. So easy.No sanding or harsh stripping chemicals.Also for antique furniture collectors and resell you preserve the original finish which is valued and sought after. My ex partner was a custom cabinet maker and specialized in preserving and refurbishment of old homes and all the built in wood work and original wood floors.We had a shop on our property ,so I was fortunate to learn these tricks of the trade. Passing it on,hope this made sense?Good Luck 😉
    • Wendy DeBiase Wendy DeBiase on Jun 22, 2015
  • Sunshine_Trish Sunshine_Trish on Jun 22, 2015
    Perfect timing on this question :) Thanks. I will be trying this tomorrow.
  • Mellodeeroz Mellodeeroz on Jun 22, 2015
    Use a tee shirt and an iron (set on medium heat). Put the tee shirt over one water spot and iron away for about 15 minutes. It should remove the water spots.
  • When all else fails, color the spots with a magic marker. I did that on a dresser I refinished and it worked great!
  • Allison Puetz-Valentin Allison Puetz-Valentin on Jun 22, 2015
    ok, not sure if it will work on this piece, but we have a coffee table in the front room that is a dark wood, kids keep leaving cups or put hot plate down then we get a ring from item. My husband found a get trick, you use a dry cloth and an iron. You put the cloth down on the table and use the steam from the iron on the cloth, after a few gushes of steam, the rings are gone.
  • Lisa Whitaker Lisa Whitaker on Jun 22, 2015
    I had a pine top wash stand that just would not respond. We ended up sanding just the top and stain to match...if all else fails.
  • Kris Harley-Jesson Kris Harley-Jesson on Jun 22, 2015
    Howard's Restor a Finish,directly apply with steel wool medium pressure,moving with the grain. Worked beautifully for me, and now I'm hooked on it!
  • Leslie Dvorshock Leslie Dvorshock on Jun 22, 2015
    Toothpaste is supposed to work
  • Mary Stanley Mary Stanley on Jun 22, 2015
    Professional Floor Mam told me to try Old English. If that dosent work it will have to be sanded and refinnished.
  • Paige Paige on Jun 22, 2015
    Try ironing it with a table cloth between the iron and the table :)
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Jun 22, 2015
    I would sand off the water stained layer and then refinish.
  • Sunny Sunny on Jun 22, 2015
    Get a stick of Tibetan Almond Oil, inexpensive, lasts a very long time. Just rub into the areas let it sit then buff with soft dry cloth use more layers if needed
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jun 22, 2015
    I agree with Page, iron and a white towel. But the damage is so severe that it probably won't work. It needs to be stripped and re-stained and sealed.
    • B. Enne B. Enne on Feb 27, 2016
      @Mine wasn't as wide spread as this, and I had to do what Sherrie suggested. Nothing else worked.
  • Tegma Tegma on Jun 22, 2015
    I had bad water stains on a DR table for some 8 years, hidden under a mirrored runner. I read about using a hair dryer, tried it, and it worked. Just hold the hair dryer close to the stain and you will see it begin to disappear within a minute or two. The water is trapped under the wood stain, and heating it, dries it out. If it worked for me after having the stains for 8 plus years, it should work for you. Since your stains are quite extensive, it may take a few minutes longer with each spot, but it does work. I tried everything else from the mayo, ironing, you name it! Nothing else worked but the heat.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Jun 22, 2015
    I've never had a solution work for bigger/deeper spots like this. Tablecloth until you are ready to sand them out. Sorry!
  • Judy Judy on Jun 22, 2015
    Try Howard Restore-A-Finish. Then use Feed-n-Wax to seal in the new finish. Weekly use their lemon or citrus spay to dust, and depending on how often the table is used ;use Feed-n-wax to keep that new finish look. I don't work or have any interest in this company,. I am just a big fan of their products - because they do what they promise to do!
  • Judy Judy on Jun 22, 2015
    one more thing with the type of stians you have you will need to apply with OO-steel wool.
  • Eileen B. Eileen B. on Jun 23, 2015
    Try Brasso, our son used it when he was a furniture mover
  • Gretchen Gretchen on Jul 01, 2015
    Strip and refinish it, the old-fashioned way. Sometimes quick and easy is just not going to work as well as starting over. Refinishing is not hard at all - just takes a few days to allow for drying time (depending on humidity). There are tutorials on the web.
  • Radha Radha on Jun 19, 2016
    mix one spoon table salt and one spoon olive oil. scrub well on stained areas and leave them for n hour or so as is. after an hour again scrub and wipe clean. your table top will be as good as new. try it .
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Aug 29, 2016
    I'm with Gretchen. This is a wonderful opportunity for creating a 'new' look for your beautiful table. I would sand, stain, and poly then enjoy your artwork. Best of luck.
  • Dusty Dusty on Sep 04, 2016
    If you apply a high-quality stripper, you'd simply scrape the old varnish off, allow drying time, and sand it down to the bare wood. I find it fun and rewarding, but I'm admittedly a little weird.