Can Water Stains Be Removed from Wooden Furniture and Surfaces?

Posted by Sam Sundeleaf on Friday, September 07, 2018

Wood is one of the most stately, beautiful, natural materials found in our homes, rich in its colors and infinite in its unique grain patterns. Like most beautiful things, however, wood can be marred by a variety of forces, and water is one of the primary culprits. When you have water stains on wood, can they be removed?

Yes, it is almost always possible to remove water stains from wooden furniture and other surfaces, depending on the condition of the wood and the intensity of the stain. There are some do-it-yourself methods for removing minor water stains from some wooden surfaces, but in other cases, it requires professional skill and equipment.

Do-It-Yourself Water Stain Removal

If the water stains are a lighter color than the wood itself, it usually means the water has only penetrated the outer finish, but not the wood beneath. This is the kind of water stain that may be repairable by some DIY methods; you may want to try one of the following possibilities.

  • Gently rub on mineral oil and let it sit overnight. Rub the oil off again, and see if it has made an improvement. Repeat if necessary.
  • Gently rub on mineral spirits and let it sit a few minutes. Rub it off and see if it has improved. This is a more potent method than mineral oil.
  • Use a toothbrush and plain white toothpaste (mixed with baking soda if you like) and gently scrub the affected area, then clean it with a wet cloth.
  • Use an iron with no water in it, and briefly iron the spot on low heat with a dry cotton shirt or towel in between. Do not get the area excessively hot, but aim to get it fairly warm for about 10 minutes by brief applications of the iron.

Caution: without inspecting the furniture ourselves, we cannot guarantee the results of any of these methods, and we recommend testing them in an inconspicuous place to make sure they will not cause damage.

When You Should Call an Expert

Water stains that are darker than the surrounding wood indicate that the water has penetrated beyond the finish and into the wood itself. Some people say that the toothpaste trick is still a possible fix in this case, but the chances aren’t great. If the toothpaste fails (or you don’t care to try it), it is better to trust a professional for your water stain removal.

An expert painting company or wood refinisher will use specially designed tools and/or chemicals to remove the outer finish and expose the water-stained wood. They then have numerous possibilities for removing the stains or refinishing the whole surface. This work needs to be done with precision and care to avoid causing any damage to the piece, and to ensure a beautifully-restored finish.

Sundeleaf Painting Restores Water-stained Wood

If your Portland-area home has wood walls, floors, or furniture that are marred by water stains, Sundeleaf Painting is the company to call. We have three generations of experience with high-end painting and wood restoration, plus we have a dedicated Spray Shop where we provide professional-grade refinishing for all kinds of wooden items.

When your woodwork is in need of expert care, trust Sundeleaf Painting. Discerning clients in the Portland metropolitan area have entrusted their homes to us since 1930!

In addition to wood refinishing and restoration, we also offer interior painting, exterior painting, pressure washing, concrete cleaning, and much more. Call us for a free estimate, or contact us online!

Sundeleaf Painting, Inc.
2037 SE Ochoco Street
Portland, Oregon 97222
(503) 236-9797

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