Home Remedies for Furniture Water Marks

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Glasses of cold water beading with sweat or the steamy hotness of a cup of tea are some of the reasons your mother always told you to put down a coaster. When you don’t have something protecting your wooden tables and other pieces of decor from “sweating” glasses, hot steam, and spills – you’re going to need the help of home remedies for furniture water marks.

What are Water Marks?

Sweaty glasses left on tabletops are one of the most common culprits for water marks on furniture. Ice cold drinks and steamy hot beverages can produce the same unwanted results. Spills of food and liquid (especially when they are overlooked or ignored) also cause damage to wood furniture. The water and other liquids penetrate the finish and causes damage to the wood underneath. The results is discoloration (or water marks) – cloudy or chalky stains that are difficult to remove.

Furniture Water Mark Home Remedies

When trying to remove water stains or marks from your wood furniture, make sure that you gently rub in the direction of the grain. A little patience also goes a long way – you don’t need to forcefully work on the furniture when using one of the following home remedies for water marks:

a) Vinegar:

To remove water rings on leather furniture, dab with a sponge soaked in undiluted white vinegar.

b) Vinegar and Olive Oil:

To treat water rings on wood furniture left by wet glasses, create a mixture of equal amounts of vinegar and olive oil. Use a soft cloth to apply the mixture (while moving in the same direction as the wood grain). To add shine, use a clean, soft cloth.

c) Coasters:

Place your hot and cold drinks on coasters to protect tables and other wooden furnishings from water marks. Substitutes may include tablemats, a Ziploc baggie, piece of corkboard

d) Plastic Lid:

To protect your furniture from spills and drips, place a plastic lid under your cups to collect excess water and prevent damage to wood.

e) Baking Soda:

To remove white marks from wooden surfaces, add one teaspoon of water to one tablespoon of baking soda. Gently rub the spots in a circular motion until it disappears. Just don’t use too much water when following this remedy.

f) Car Wax:

When a dinner guest forgets to use their coaster, white rings from beverage glasses can show up on your furniture. You can use a dab of car wax to treat the stains. Trace the ring with your finger to apply the wax, and then after letting it dry – buff with a soft cloth.

g) Petroleum Jelly:

To remove watermark rings from wood furniture, apply petroleum jelly. Let them sit overnight and in the morning, wipe away the watermark along with the petroleum jelly.

h) Salt:

Watermarks on your wood table can be removed with the help of one teaspoon of salt mixed with a few drops of water. Gently rub the paste onto the ring with a soft cloth or sponge. Work on the spot until it disappears. To enhance the shine of the wood, use furniture polish.

i) Toothpaste:

Rubbing in non-gel toothpaste onto wooden furniture riddled with watermarks can help remove these frustrating blemishes. Use a soft cloth to go over the marks. Wipe off the residue with a damp cloth, and then let it dry before applying furniture polish.

j) Ashes and Mayonnaise [1]:

A combination of cigarette ashes and mayonnaise can be used to treat water rings on wood furniture. Rub the mixture into the stain using a clean cloth.

k) Wipe Up Spills:

The longer water and liquids stay in contact with your furniture, the more damage is caused to the wood underneath the finish. Quickly wipe up spills to minimize and prevent damage.

l) Mayonnaise:

To treat water stains on wood furniture, spread about two tablespoons of mayonnaise on a paper towel, and then place over the white water mark. Press lightly and leave the mayonnaise on the stain for about 15 minutes. Lift the paper towel to check the stain. If it is still there, rub more mayonnaise into it, and check later. The stain should have disappeared, but you can still reapply if needed.


[1] Five Minute Fixes by Reader’s Digest; pg.60.