How do I remove old water stains?

by Barbara

This side table is all tiger oak. How do I remove old water stains?

  14 answers
  • 1401470 1401470 on Nov 07, 2018

    This is such a hard one -depending on the wood sometimes they can be sanded out with a find sand paper and it's something I actually do by hand instead of using an electric sander.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 07, 2018

    Hi Barbara, I would use Mayonnaise and salt in a paste and rub in in circles - leave and then repeat if necessary. Salt takes out the damp and Mayonnaise feeds the wood! I have done this recently with great success. You might find you want to repeat all over the table too..............

  • Great piece! Love the detail. It also looks extremely dry and needs reconditioning. Scott's liquid gold, Old English products, lemon oil will all do the trick to bring this piece back to life.

  • Jaynie Jaynie on Nov 07, 2018

    My first thought was also mayonnaise and leave it for a while - rub it in circles. Johnavallance82 adds a salt paste - I've never done it, but it probably doesn't hurt.

  • StormB47 StormB47 on Nov 08, 2018

    I had a friend who was in the antique business and he always suggested using Vick's Vapor Rub, the menthol in Vick's draws out the water

  • Rose Tovey Rose Tovey on Nov 08, 2018

    I read somewhere that cigarette ash could be rubbed in to remove water marks. Not being a smoker, I never tried this. I love Liquid Gold (in an old peanut butter lid) adding a few drops of Old English dark at a time, and stir with a q-tip until the color is a match. I apply with a round shoe polish applicator, rubbing in circles. (Clean hands and less waste.)

  • Kitty Galore Kitty Galore on Nov 08, 2018

    I used ultra fine wire wool with metholated spirits on solid oak. Dip a piece of wire wool into the meths and gently rub in circles, wipe off with a rag, repeat if necessary. It will also remove some of the grime accumulated too. I then used a good furniture wax to rehidrate the dry wood.

  • What a pretty piece. My husband and I are antique dealers and have "loved" many pieces back to life. In your case the wood looks very dry so nothing that "draws the moisture out" is going to work for this issue. I agree that fine sandpaper and sanding by hand is the best thing to try. Be sure to sand with the grain of the wood. If most of it goes away you could then try staining the wood a darker color to help hide what is left.

    Fresh "white" water stains can often be lifted by the peanut butter method etc that were suggested above, but in my experience with something this dark and dry the best is the sandpaper method. Be very careful though not to sand too much. I can't tell from the photo if it is a veneer (thin piece of wood over a more solid piece) or not.

    My husband said to remember that antiques are never perfect as they have lived a long life!

    When finished if the ring still shows up put a little decorative pitcher or something over it.

    Good luck and I would love to see what it looks like when you are finished.

  • Mary Baker Mary Baker on Nov 08, 2018

    Mayo wipe into the spot should remove it water spots I use it for this and it work for me

  • Patti Patti on Nov 08, 2018

    The Mayo works, once you are done use Old English scratch repair and go over the area to bring out the beauty in the wood.

  • Barbara Barbara on Nov 08, 2018


  • Judith Heiser Judith Heiser on Nov 08, 2018

    I have used Pledge to remove water stains if the wood is still in good condition. I sprayed heavily with Pledge and let it sit for 24 hours. If the Pledge starts to dry before 24 hrs, spray some more on. When you wipe it off you will see a huge difference...Keep doing this until the water stain is all gone. It won't hurt to give it a try. It worked for me on several pieces. It even worked on a hot food stain on my dining table. Good luck and don't get discouraged...Just keep spraying, waiting and wiping. Judith

  • John Robert Turcot John Robert Turcot on Nov 08, 2018

    I just read yesterday that using an iron with a towel , much like ironing a shirt, takes out the marks.... Haven't tried it yet so check other sites before you give this a try....r

  • John Robert Turcot John Robert Turcot on Nov 08, 2018

    Here's a link to the above suggestion