You love that fabulous wooden furniture in your living room. You make sure that it is taken good care of and does not undergo anything that might damage it.

But, as with the rest of the things in life, your furniture’s longevity and beauty aren’t entirely in your hands.

Have you ever hosted a party at your place?

Then, you’d know the struggle.

Though you have handed out pretty little coasters to each of them and casually slid them over their drinks (sighing internally) when in the heated conversation, they forgot to use them.

remove water stains from wood
Water stains on wood

The next day, you see water rings on your favorite furniture and solemnly swear never to host another party.

Anyway, this is one way things can go down, whatever the sad (sometimes, dramatic) story behind that water stains on your wood, now the contemplating part is about finding a solution.

Why Removing Stain Is Very Important?

You’d want to remove the water stain, right?

We know you love your furniture and have decided already upon getting rid of the stain (that’s why you are here in the first place!), here are some reasons why you should remove water stains from wood.

Just to strengthen your motive and give you more inspiration for the task you’ve embarked to join.

  • Prevents Additional Harm: Water stains can cause the wood to twist and swell; removing them quickly can stop further damage.
  • Maintains Its Elegance: Eliminating water stains returns the wood’s original appearance and gives it a polished, well-kept appearance.
  • Increases Value: A piece of flooring or furniture free of water stains has a higher market worth and can considerably raise the value of your entire house (in case, you are thinking of, you know, selling!)
  • Prevents Mold Formation: Unattended water stains can result in the growth of mold, which is hazardous to health and damage wood.

What are The Main Causes of Water Stains on Wood?

Above, we have discussed one scenario which led to the spoilage of your wooden material. But that is not the one and only. Let’s go through the major causes of water stains on wood.

1. Spilled Water

When you/your guests/kid is preoccupied with what’s on TV and clumsily reaches out for something, an accident that involves water spillage is bound to happen.

Wood can become stained when liquids are spilled on it because they can seep through the surface. This can occur with alcoholic beverages like wine, coffee, or soda as well as with common household cleaners like vinegar or bleach.

2. High Humidity

This is where you can throw your hands out and exclaim ‘ I can’t control the weather’. Jokes apart, back to the serious matter.

Wood is a porous material that absorbs moisture from the air. When the air is humid, the wood can swell and cause water stains. This is especially true if the wood is unfinished or has a porous finish.

3. Leaky Pipes or Appliances

The third and one common cause of water stains is leaky pipes. Water might soak into the wood from leaking pipes or appliances, leaving stains.

The kitchen, bathroom, or basement are examples of places where this can occur.

How To Prevent Water Stains On Wood?

Do you know what could have been better in the first place?

I am not spilling the water at all.

Too soon?

Now that you are in this situation, you might also be thinking the same. Before envisioning you with the best and most effective solutions to remove the stain, we will do an ‘old-school’ technique. Of teaching you how you could have prevented it. Now don’t be irked about it. 

1. Properly Sealing Wood Surfaces

remove water stains from wood

By preventing liquids from entering the wood, sealing your wood surfaces with a non-porous finish helps to guard against water stains. A polyurethane sealant, wax, or specialty wood stain are a few options for doing this.

2. Using Coasters & Placemats

remove water stains from wood

You may easily prevent water stains on your wooden surfaces by putting coasters or placemats under beverages and other potential sources of moisture.

This is crucial because hot liquids like coffee or tea can cause the wood to expand and leave behind unsightly stains.

The next time you are sipping a cup of coffee, make sure that you use a coaster (nudge your guest to do the same, too)

3. Regularly Checking For Leaks

remove water stains from wood

Regularly checking for leaks in pipes, appliances, and other sources of water can help prevent water stains from forming on your wood surfaces. This can include checking under sinks, around appliances, and in areas where water is stored, such as a basement or crawlspace.

3 Methods For Removing Water Stains From Wood

No matter what caused the stain, we can work together to remove the stain. Let’s get down to the business of making your furniture as good as new.

Method 1: Using a Mixture of Mayonnaise & Baking Soda

remove water stains from wood

Yes, mayonnaise. It is a well-known household trick to clean water stains from wood using mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise’s oils and vinegar can get inside the wood and aid in removing stains. It’s crucial to keep in mind that this technique might not work for all types of wood or deep or dark stains, and it’s always wise to test a small, discrete area first before attempting it on a larger surface.

The steps to remove the mayonnaise include:

  • Grab two tablespoons of mayonnaise and spread it evenly onto a paper towel.
  • Place the paper towel over the stain and press down gently so that the material hits the surface.
  • Let the towel sit in place for approximately 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, check underneath it to see if the stain is still there.
  • If the stain has been removed, then you are done. If the stain is still present, rub a bit more mayonnaise over the stain and repeat the process for another 15 minutes.

If the stain is extremely stubborn and deep, add some baking soda and give it another shot. The baking soda’s more potent components will allow it to just barely penetrate the wood, lifting the stain.

Method 2: Applying a Solution of Vinegar & Water

remove water stains from wood

Another simple method is to use a solution of vinegar and water. These are the steps you’d need to follow:

  • Mix 2 parts distilled water and 1 part white vinegar in a bowl to create a cleaning solution.
  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle for easy application.
  • Spray the solution on the hard water stains and rub it with a soft, clean cloth.
  • Rinse off the furniture and dry it.
  • Repeat steps if necessary.

Method 3: Sanding & Re-Staining the Affected Area

remove water stains from wood

If nothing works, here’s the one solution that guarantees better results. Sand, the affected area, and this is how you do it:

  • Determine the Stain’s Size: you may need to sand a larger or smaller area depending on the stain’s intensity.
  • Assemble Your Materials: You’ll need a wood stain, a brush or cloth to apply the stain, sandpaper (220 grit or finer), a sanding block, a clean cloth, and sandpaper.
  • Sand the Affected Area: Sand the stained area carefully until it disappears using a sanding block. Sanding uniformly is important to prevent uneven surfaces.
  • Dust Off the Sanded Area: To get rid of any sawdust or other debris, cleanly wipe down the sanded area.
  • Apply the Wood Stain: Make sure to work the wood stain into the sanded surface evenly using a brush or cloth.

Allow the stain to dry completely following the manufacturer’s recommendations. This may require a few hours to a whole day.

If additional stain is required because the stain is still not consistent with the rest of the furniture, lightly sand the area first. Continue doing this until you are happy with how the area looks.


So, it seems like it’s not a big deal of a task to remove water stains from your favorite wood material. But it is indeed a time and money-consuming process.

The next time you are around wood materials, try to be a little more conscious.

By taking simple steps like placing coasters under drinks and wiping up spills immediately, you can protect your furniture and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

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