Quickly Remove Heat Stains From Wood!

by Kasey
30 Minutes
You’ve seen them before. White splotchy heat stains that cover what used to be perfectly pristine wood furniture, and if you’re reading this, you probably have one or two of these marks in your home right now.
But good news! Heat stains like this one are nothing worth crying over, because with only some basic household materials, you can make your wood furniture look good as new within the hour.

That stain from the picture above is from a wooden ottoman that sits in the middle of my living room, and it was taken about 30 minutes ago.

This is what it looks like now:
As you can see, these results speak for themselves, so let’s talk about how you can do this for your own furniture.


For this quick trick, you’ll only need two things.
  • An Iron
Any iron should do. But you’ll want to make sure that there is no water inside before you get started (we aren’t going to be using steam).
  • A Large Piece of Fabric
The fabric you choose to use can be a pillow case, a shirt, or anything really as long as it’s clean, you can fold it over and still cover the stained area, and it is large enough to hold the entire base of the iron.

I used a pillow case myself.

There are a few ways to go about this process, and some methods are arguably faster than what I’m going to talk about here. But the approach I use is simple, leaves little room for error, and is very effective.

After all, when trying to remove heat marks from your furniture the last thing you want to do is accidentally create new ones.

With that in mind, let’s get started.
Step 1 — Get the Iron Ready

Set the iron to its lowest setting, and keep it nearby.

This may not seem hot enough at first, but you’ll want to start low and slowly raise the temperature as we go.
Step 2 — Get the Fabric Ready

Fold the fabric over so that it covers the heat marked area, making sure that it is still large enough room for the iron to rest on.
The folds you make will help temper the heat from the iron, ensuring you do not accidentally burn your wood furniture.
Step 3 — Set the Iron on the Fabric

At its lowest setting, the iron will start to warm and disperse its heat throughout the fabric. The warm fabric, in turn, will begin to remove the heat spots beneath it.
Step 4 — Check and Adjust

Let the iron and fabric do their work, making sure to check if progress is being made every minute or so. You don’t want to leave the iron unchecked for too long, just in case it may be getting too hot for your wood surface.

But if the heat mark remains unaffected after checking a few times, turn up your iron by only one setting at a time and give it another few tries. Repeat until the heat mark begins to fade.

Once you notice any progress at all, that’s the temperature you’ll want to stay at. Keep going, and after a few minutes, the heat mark should be gone completely.

Of course, the most effective heat settings will vary from iron to iron, but keep in mind that it never needs to be very hot. For me, I started to notice significant changes on just the second lowest setting, and after 10 minutes, it was as though the mark was never there at all.
All Done!

It may seem unbelievable at first, but that’s all it takes. With this handy home-keeping hack, you’ll never need to fret about another unsightly wood heat stain again.

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 13 questions
  • Lynn Webb Moore Lynn Webb Moore on Aug 14, 2017

    Does this work on tables with polyurethane ?

  • Joan Joan on Sep 24, 2017

    I have a coffee table that is now 55 years old. It is long (55") The oval Carrera marble center has an alcohol stain that has taken the original top shine off the marble. I would like a DIY to try. Any suggestions?

  • Dco9047949 Dco9047949 on May 23, 2018

    I have an antique treedle cabinet with water marks. How do I climate this?

Join the conversation
3 of 36 comments
  • Krista Krista on Sep 14, 2020

    Yes i am trying this on my Oak coffee table that has a lot of white heat spots. I have used newspaper in place of the pillow case but it take a very long time to get the white Marks out doing this method

  • Jenny Jenny on Mar 01, 2021

    On the same day that our new Indian dark oak coffee table arrived we went out for the evening, our daughter had friends round and you've guessed it, white ring from coffee mug! Wiped it over with petroleum jelly. Hey Preston no ring. Still no ring 35 years later. Give it a try.

    • Karen Karen on Apr 23, 2023

      Thanks a million, found pin awhile ago & was leary to try but today tried it & I'm amazed how it worked after well over 15 years of the stain. As u stated start low & work up. In the end I found #3 on my iron to work & now u can't tell it was even there, even my brothers amazed after seeing stain & when done can't tell.