How to clean water stains from wood: FIVE households items you can use to clean furniture

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Wooden furniture is a timeless classic with everything from hard-wood side boards to dining tables and desks still a common feature in households across Britain. When it comes to protecting the delicate surface of your wooden items, banishing tough stains can be hard to achieve without ruining the wood – but this is how you can clean those hard water stains while keeping your furniture intact.

Watermarks are a common occurrence in almost every household, with cold glasses and spilt drinks being the main culprit.

Coasters are a great way to avoid water stains on your furniture but as many of us know, it’s easy to forget to use them.

Watermarks on wooden furniture are particularly noticeable because of their discoloured appearance in contrast to the rest of the wood.

If you notice lighter or darker rings on your beloved hard-wood furniture it’s likely that you’re dealing with a liquid stain.

Are water stains on wood permanent?

The good news is that the water stains found on your wooden furniture are relatively easy to clean off when using the right products.

While there are specific products made for wooden surfaces which will remove these stains, there are also a few home remedies that you can try yourself.

You’d be surprised what you can use to clean off these stains, with your kitchen and bathroom cupboards offering a host of items which will do the job.

How to remove old water stains from wood

One of the best things about using household items for cleaning, is that they are almost always free of harsh chemicals and abrasive ingredients which will ruin your wooden furniture in an instant.


Look no further than your fridge for this unusual cleaning product.

All you need is a bottle of mayonnaise and a small soft cloth to help you remove hard water stains from your favourite wooden furniture.

Simply squirt a little of this common condiment into a bowl and use a clean soft cloth to dip into it before buffing the wood.

Rub in a circular motion and repeat until the stain is gone.

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Petroleum Jelly

If you’re out of mayonnaise you can always head to your bathroom cabinet for some petroleum jelly as a substitute.

Just repeat the circular buffing process to loosen the stain on your wooden furniture.

If you’re having no luck, leave the mayonnaise or petroleum jelly on the stain for two hours, or overnight for a deeper clean and rub off again the next morning.

Olive oil and vinegar

These kitchen staples made their mark in the world of cleaning a long time ago, but did you know that they can also clean water stains off of wood?

To banish tough watermarks from your wooden furniture just mix equal parts white vinegar with olive oil and stir.

Use a clean cloth to apply the mixture and wipe in the direction of the wood grain until it is gone.

This solution works by using the vinegar as the stain fighting ingredient and the oil to polish the surface – giving your wooden surface a dual-cleanse.


When using toothpaste on wood, always test an inconspicuous area first and opt for non-gel, non-whitening pastes to get a deep clean that won’t discolour the wood.

Cover the stain using your finger and leave for around 30 seconds.

Brush using a cloth or even a toothbrush in the same direction as the grain.

Remove the excess paste using a clean cloth and polish over with a commercial polish or your own natural alternative.


Use your iron on a non-steam setting and set it to the cotton temperature.

Take a fabric napkin or thin tee-towel and place it over the stain on your wooden surface.

Gently run the iron over the top on the fabric covering to lift the stain – doing this intermittently to avoid the wood overheating.

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