How to Remove Water Stains From Wood: Step by Step

You are not unknown to the damages and hazards that water causes to your wooden furniture. But you might not know how to remove water stains from wood & that’s the very reason you are here. These handy homemade efforts can make you tension free from those stained woods.

how to remove water stains from wood

So, let’s get familiar with these reasonable solutions.

At first, have a pretty easy trial like ironing the w​ood stain or soaking in mayonnaise. Or go for scrubbing with toothpaste. If all these handy tricks fail, then you can’t but choose some aggressive components like sandpaper, steel wool to fade away the stains.

​Learn how to remove water stains from wood with handy tactics – updated

  • Method 1: ​use iron to remove water stains from wood
  • Method 2: ​remove water stain from wood with Mayonnaise
  • Method 3: ​remove water stains from wood with toothpaste
  • Method 4: use Aggressive material

Method 1: use iron to remove water stains from wood

The process of draining the iron water

This step isn’t for everyone, as the iron feature differs. Nowadays, the irons have a steamy effect system for which there is a space at the top to pour water. The one owning this kind of metal needs to drain all the waters of the iron.

Get rid of moisture pretty carefully and correctly, or else the water would rot your wood. Move the iron in a counterclockwise direction to check the weather every water drop is missing or not.

Some irons offer you to disassemble and wipe off the water more correctly. Those iron owners should grab the advantage.

The tactic of ironing will give excellent output if you act immediately after staining or sooner.

The method won’t harm any kind of wood. A hairdryer can be your alternative but will take much time.

Science-behind-the-tactic: The heat will cause the trapped liquid stain to evaporate. So, you must have understood that the tactic won’t work for any non-liquid stain, i.e., which is not caused by liquid.

Preheat the iron or dryer.

Preheat your heating material for five to ten minutes at a low temperature. In case of iron, let the heating plate stand right and don’t let it contact any other surface.

Protection to the exterior.

Use cotton to cover the wooden exterior where you will heat. The step will protect the layer from extreme heating. Your protecting weapon could be a rag, towel, shirt, or any other cloth. The thickness of the fabric will determine the time to stain out, but be sure to use the material made of cotton.

Time for action.

Once preheating is done, it’s time for action. Place the iron over the cotton covering the stained area. Avoid the stainless part. Make a circular motion of the iron over the stain within four to eight inches surrounding. Do the job consistently for three to four minutes.

Making a circular motion is a must. Don’t even think of keeping the iron standstill over one place because the result will be burning the furniture. So, don’t let it stand more than 20-30 seconds.

Take a look

Check whether the stain is stubborn enough to stay or have vanished already. Do the work of checking by holding any cold-edge of the cotton.


If the stain is stubborn enough, keep repeating the process.It is normal to take 30 minutes for the entire process, depending on the stain age.

Read More About Types Of Wood Joints

Method 2: remove water stain from wood with Mayonnaise

The amount of mayonnaise

Take mayonnaise for rubbing into a cloth. As for the amount, take 1 or 2 tablespoons that can weigh 15 or 30 grams.

The reminding part is you need to make the mayonnaise sit at the bottom of the cloth, and you fold the other edges for not spreading it out. Rub the mayonnaise at the bottom part of the fabric.

Science-behind-the-tactic: The raw ingredients of the mayonnaise are egg, vinegar, lemon, and oil. Wood polishers and the lacquers have those as they are wood penetrating material. The nature of these raw products is fat, which will end up absorbing the stain moisture of your wooden furniture.

Petroleum jelly can be your alternative, but it may create a weird texture to your wood after cleaning.

Mayonnaise won’t harm any kind of wood but will leave it smelly.

Time to act

Start rubbing the mayonnaise onto the stain directly for 30-45 seconds. Put the center of the cloth over the stain after unfolding it. Make some circular strokes while rubbing. Make sure to rub over the whole stain.

Don’t worry about the wood, rub firmly.

Face the irritating zone

The reason I named it irritating because this phase needs your patience of 1 hour. Exactly, you need to wait for 1 hour for the mayonnaise to soak the stain entirely.

Lift the cloth and leave the mayonnaise behind on the stain. Let the mayonnaise penetrate the stain for over 1 hour. If the stain is stubborn and old enough, leave the mayonnaise for overnight.

The wood won’t damage for leaving mayonnaise overnight, but it would smell funky.

Time to inspect

Wipe the mayonnaise using a clean cloth and inspect the presence of stain.

For some dried mayonnaise, you can make use of damp cloth. But be sure to wipe every drop of moisture.

The last layer of mayonnaise

Which layer of mayonnaise would be the last one that depends on your stain. After inspection, if you witness a partial stain, apply on the second layer of mayonnaise. If you see that the whole stain remains unaffected, then the mayonnaise’s first layer was the last. Now, you need to change the technique.

Partial presence of the stain proves that the method is working, and you need to keep going on the process, again and again, to wipe it out entirely.

Also Read: ​​​​Different Types Of Wood Flooring

​Method 3: ​remove water stains from wood with toothpaste

Type of the paste

Select a paste that is non-gel & non-whitening at the same time. Choose a brush that is clean enough. The non-gel toothpaste is thicker and stronger sufficient to penetrate the wood stain. The non-whitening paste is free of whitening additive and the chemicals that are a good point for your job.

Avoid using paste on antique wood

The tactic is suitable for dark stain and light color wood

Make cloth your alternative to brush if you are afraid of damaging wood grain


Use the back and forth stroke to rub the toothbrush having paste over the stain. Follow the direction of the wood grain while rubbing to preserve the quality of the grain. Make the movements for 5-6 times.

Let the paste stay

Once you are done with scrubbing, wait for 10-15 minutes before wiping the paste off. For wiping job, make use of a dry towel.

Don’t think of keeping the toothpaste overnight or for too long, or it will end up discoloring your wood.

Taking care

Make an extra step of polishing the wood using a soft cloth. It is for resealing your wood after the toothpaste is done with fading out the stain. Wipe the soft cloth having polish over the stain following the wood grain again and leave it for 24 hours.

The way of applying the polish I described is a simple process. But you need to read out the label of your product before using it.

Choose a clear and transparent polish for avoiding the color-change of your wood.

Read Also: ​​​​Ways To Weather Wood

Method 4: ​use Aggressive material

Scraping stains with steel wool

Use steel wool to scrap over the stain after dripping it on mineral oil. For scraping, follow the wood grain. Remember that this method should be the last and only left step, as it may rip your wood layer.

Start scraping gently at the beginning to avoid the ripping. Won’t it be good to get rid of the old stubborn stain without ripping your wood layer?

If the slight pressure works, then it’s all good. Wipe off the extra oil using a paper towel.

Avoid using this tactic over antique wood.

Remember that you will eventually lose the finish of your wood. If the lacquer you used earlier for protecting was a colored one, reapply it.

Using sandpaper

If you have an unpolished, unfinished, or unstained wood, you can use sandpaper to remove the wood layer. Choose sandpaper of 120 grit for the beginning. Then, scrape the whole sheet of wood for staining out. Move the sandpaper in back-&-forth stroke. Use a dry cloth for wiping the wood shavings and wood dust.

This scraping would eventually change the wood-style & pattern.

To keep the uniform pattern of a large area wood, make use of a belt sander to remove the stain.

Oak furniture

In the case of oak furniture, you can lift the wood by using a paint remover. Take paint tray for the remover and a brush to dip into it. Then with back-&-forth stroke, apply the remover over the wood layer. Follow the direction of wood grain for the strokes. After waiting for 4-5 minutes, wipe it up using a clean rag.

Wear rubber gloves before working

Don’t let the remover touch other unstained parts of wood, or it may cause discoloration.

Make a combination of 1-part of the remover and 1-part 5% of bleach for stiffening the paint remover. The application would be the same as before.


​The article will help you to remove water stains from wood without any chemical or market product. So, give the above tactics a try to get rid of any irritating stain of the wooden furniture.

Also Read: remove glue from wood

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