How can I remove water stains from wood?

Discover the advice of the editorial team

Whether your wood is waxed, varnished or untreated, there are several natural or solvent-based techniques to effectively remove a white or dark water stain.

Bleach, oil, white spirit, vinegar, toothpaste, sandpaper, oxalic acid… Each water stain has its own method.

remove water stains from wood

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Here are all the techniques for permanently removing water stains from waxed, varnished or rough wood surfaces.

Be patient, follow the steps rigorously and put away your wooden furniture, parquet or staircase.

Water and wood: the stain is guaranteed!

First of all, if the water stain you want to remove is on an old piece of furniture, we advise you to consult an expert.

It would be a shame if your wooden furniture lost value because of a water stain!

In any case, the faster you act on a water stain, the more likely you are to save your furniture, your parquet or your staircase.

A spilled or simply forgotten glass, an overflowing pot, a little clumsiness, neglect… and you end up with a stained wooden surface.

Whether it is oiled, waxed, varnished, treated or raw, there are different methods to remove a water stain.

But whatever technique you choose, be meticulous and respect the steps and drying times. Wooden furniture wears out over time – it must be cared for!

Remove white stains from waxed wood

When water has penetrated the wood finish, but not the wood itself, the stains are white and easier to remove.

There are 3 techniques for removing condensation stains from waxed wood. Follow the order to see what works and what doesn’t as you go along.

  • The first technique consists of rubbing the stain with mineral oil with a soft cloth and leaving it on overnight (about 12 hours).
  • If your first attempt with the mineral oil was not successful, you can try the same operation with the white spirit, a solvent that will remove the stain on the wax layer. Don’t forget to protect your hands with gloves! Once the stain has disappeared, you can rub the entire surface of the wood with white spirit to avoid the fogged areas, and then apply a layer of wax again.
  • If your attempts with oil and white alcohol don’t work, you have one last option: mix some baking soda with toothpaste. Put your mixture on a damp cloth and rub in the direction of the wood grain, then wipe the area with black soap. Unlikely but radically effective!

Remove dark stains from the wood with abrasive paper.

If your wood furniture, stairs or parquet has a dark stain, it means that water has penetrated the finish and touched the wood.

Use 100 grit sandpaper and rub gently in the direction of the wood grain to remove the finish on the stain.

Then pass a 150 grain sandpaper over the stain. Dust and then apply several coats of varnish to recreate the initial finish.

Finally, homogenize the old and new varnish with glass wool and wax the wood one last time. So, how new?

Bleach to remove dark stains from wood

If the stain is too deep, the sandpaper may not be suitable: you risk sanding the wood too much.

To avoid disaster, bleach is your last resort. Protect your hands with gloves and apply bleach to your stain with a brush.

Be patient and let it run for a few hours while the stain fades.

Then use a clean sponge to clean the bleach and apply a layer of white vinegar to the stain to prevent the wood from becoming any lighter.

Let it dry and then apply light coats of varnish with a brush to recreate the original look of your wood.

Here again, homogenize the old and new varnish with glass wool and wax the wood one last time.

How can I remove a stain from the raw wood?

Raw wood is usually lighter than waxed or oiled wood, so you can afford to rub the stain vigorously with a healer’s brush soaked in bleached water.

If the stain is actually embedded, sand in the direction of the wood grain with sandpaper to avoid damaging your furniture.

One last option: you can also dilute the wood with oxalic acid, also called “wood thinner”, available in all good hardware stores!

In the raw wood, it will be easier to homogenize the surface after removing the stain.

Use toothpaste to remove water stains on the wood.

For this grandmother’s trick, choose a toothpaste that is not colored.

Apply it to the stain to be removed, then gently rub it in with a clean cloth or sponge (do not use the scraper side of the sponge).

You can also mix it with baking soda to increase the effectiveness of this trick tenfold.

A useful hair dryer to remove stains from wood

Here’s another trick from Grandma who finds her solution in the bathroom! Put your hairdryer in the hottest and most powerful position and pass it a few inches above the stains you want to remove from the wood.

After a few moments, the stain will magically disappear – as long as you do it quickly!

Vaseline to say goodbye to wood stains

Another product found in the bathroom, definitely! Petroleum jelly, better known as Vaseline, is a greasy substance that can be formidable in the fight against stains in wood.

Apply the product to the stain(s) overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours, then wipe off with a clean cloth.

Specific treatments to protect wood from water stains

Instead of having to find a solution after a stain appears, why not anticipate it?

Whether in the bathroom, kitchen or dining room, wood is sometimes put to the test. Fortunately, there are durable solutions that can protect wood over time.

In fact, as we have seen in this article, wood is a porous material that absorbs liquids very quickly and creates stains quickly.

Therefore, use a product that creates a greasy protective film on the surface of the wood.

Liquid, the product prevents the penetration of liquids or grease into the wood creating a pearl effect.

This protective barrier is also useful for your wood. It allows the material to breathe while protecting and waterproofing it.

Before applying this type of treatment to the worktop or furniture, it is recommended to clean the surface thoroughly. This will allow the product to adhere well during application. The wood must then be completely clean and dry, by sanding and dusting.

Other Options:

You can also find some very useful kitchen cleaning products in the online stores of Amazon, WalMart, Costco, Sams Club, Carrefour,  alibaba, eBay, Aliexpress, Zappos, Target, Newegg, Etsy, My American Market, Macy’s, Staples , MyKasa.

Each of these products can be found in great online offers.

In large seasons they put on sale large discounts on household cleaning items, as well as tools for home repairs.

 In addition, you can find free tips apps from Google Play or in  App Store.

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