'Tis the season for holiday parties. But even the best soirée from the hostess with the mostest can have some unfortunate unintended consequences. When a guest chooses to skip using a coaster or accidentally spills their libation, the water stains can dampen your spirits and damage wood furniture.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to remove water stains from wood. Some remedies require only common household items, while others require specialty products. After reading this article, you'll never need to ask how to remove water stains from wood again!
The hair dryer approach works especially well for newer stains. Simply turn on the dryer on its lowest possible setting and point it toward the offending stain. Move it around the water ring constantly so that the wood doesn't overheat. This should dry the wood out quickly. You likely already have a hair dryer at home, but if you don't, lower-end models retail for about $20.
You can prepare another effective, cheap remedy using the humble baking soda. This common kitchen ingredient retails for about $2. For stain remediation, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Then gently rub the mixture in a circular motion over the stain until the stain disappears. Easy peasy.
Steel wool is made of very fine steel filaments and is used to polish wood and metal and to clean windows. It can also be used to remove water stains from wood. This fix will cost about $6 for the two components, steel wool ($2) and lemon oil ($4). We recommend asking your hardware store for the smallest or finest steel wool in stock, since fine steel wool is less likely to scratch your wooden surface.
Once you have purchased the steel wool and lemon oil, carefully rub the lemon oil into the affected wood using the steel wool. It's very important that you rub in the direction of the grain and stay in the area of the stain. Check your work often and stop once the stain looks better.
Another cheap stain-remover that is readily available in every household is toothpaste. Toothpaste can cost as little as $1, so it's a great choice for those who don't want to buy specialty products. Simply rub some non-gel toothpaste onto the affected area with a soft cloth. Then wipe it away with a damp cloth and let the spot dry before completing the next step. After drying, apply a small amount of furniture polish (about $5).
Our next method is considered totally natural and organic. It also involves two items found in most homes: cleaning vinegar (about $3) and olive oil (at least $6). Combine equal parts vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl; we recommend starting with a tablespoon each. Next, dip a soft cloth into the mixture and carefully apply the cloth to the affected area in the direction of the grain. Using a separate cloth, shine up the area. Then it let dry to determine the results.
A convenient remedy that should already be in your home is table salt. To tackle pesky water rings, begin by making a paste of one teaspoon salt and a few drops of water. Then gently rub the mixture onto the stain with a sponge until the spot disappears. For best results, polish with furniture polish afterward.
This fix is great for those who are busy, since it's a "set it and forget it" solution. A jar of petroleum jelly, such as the popular brand Vaseline, costs about $3. Using your hands, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the water stains and let it sit overnight. The next day, using a soft cloth, wipe away the jelly and check out the results.
Numerous products have been specially designed to remove water stains from wood surfaces. The most popular is Old Craftsmen's White Ring Spot Remover, which retails for about $7. To use, apply with a clean cloth, rubbing in a circular motion. Wipe off the excess product with another clean cloth once the stain is no longer visible.
As helpful as it is to have numerous options for fixing water stains, it's better still to avoid damaging the wood in the first place. There are two things you can do to help prevent stains.
First, use coasters or tablecloths to protect your furniture, and encourage your guests to use coasters as well.
Second, use a protective product like Jubilee Kitchen Wax. This coating prevents moisture from coming in contact with your wood. It costs about $13 and so is more expensive than most of the remedies listed above, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.