How To Remove Water Stains From Wood

Woody Jackson | Last modified on January 27th, 2022

Many people have wood furniture or other wood items they would like to keep. However, if a water stain remains, it can give the furniture a shabby appearance and makes it more difficult to clean. It is not uncommon for someone with an older home to find that they cannot remove water stains completely from their furniture.

How To Remove Water Stains From Wood

The best way to remove water stains from wood is to iron a surface or rub it with toothpaste. But to do it successfully, you need to determine what stain types are on your wooden surfaces. Below you can learn how to remove water stains from wood using different methods that work best for each type of stain and offer suggestions on what products can help.

Wood Stain Types

Stains are the bane of wood furniture. Not only do they make the look worse, but they can also be challenging to remove and cause a lot of expensive damage if not taken care of promptly.

Wood Stain Types

White Stains

White water stains on the wood are a common problem that can be difficult to get rid of, and it is also one of the most easily preventable. To help keep your deck or any wood surface safe from this issue, you should consider taking the time to do some maintenance and understanding how you can avoid these pesky problems in the future.

High pH levels cause white water stains on the wood. This is a result of bleach or chlorine in the water that has not completely rinsed after using it to clean decks, patios, and other wooden surfaces. Soaking your deck with the proper pH neutralizer will correct this problem and help you avoid future issues while keeping your deck nice and clean.

You must take some time to research what pH level your local water is at so you can find out how to properly treat it to keep your wood looking great for many years.

Dark Stains

A dark water stain on wood can happen if the wood is subjected to a wet condition. This type of stain is rather tricky to remove without professional help. But I provide you a quick and easy method for removing dark water stains from wood without fuss.

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to get stained with a dark, brown color from wood and other washed clothes often in their kitchens and bathrooms. Sometimes, most of the stains will come off quickly with basic wiping; other times, they will need professional help to eliminate them.

Remove White Water Stains With An Iron

Wood furniture with white water stains is ugly to look at but can be a difficult surface to clean on your own due to the porous nature of wood. But with the help of an iron, you can banish these pesky stains in no time.

White water stains show up after liquid manages to seep deep into the wood’s pores and create a colorless deposit. This deposit comes out as white when it dries and, as it builds up over time, becomes unsightly staining on your furniture (hence why they’re called white water staining).

Remove White Water Stains With An Iron

To achieve the best results with this process, use an iron and a cloth. If you want to test whether your furniture will respond well to this process, place a scrap piece of wood under the iron and iron it (you may notice the wood is changing color a little). If no discoloration occurs, you can safely use this cleaning method on your furniture.

To remove white water stains from wood, you need to cover the stain with a cloth and steam it for 3-5 seconds with an iron. Then, steam the area around and look at how stains are removing from your wooden surfaces.

Remove Dark Water Stains With A Toothpaste

Many people probably have dark water sitting on their floors, and they don’t even know it until it starts staining their wood furniture or appliances. This happened to me, and I wanted to know how to remove dark water stains. After trying everything from furniture polish to bleach, I finally got some advice on a blog that told me how to remove dark water stains from wood with toothpaste.

Remove Dark Water Stains With A Toothpaste

My table was getting dark rings all over it, so I tried the toothpaste solution. It’s a cheap and easy way to do it, and if you ask me – the results look far better than they would have if I had paid someone hundreds of dollars to repair it. So if you have some stubborn water stains on your wood furniture, this is worth a try!

Here are the steps:

  1. Get toothpaste.
  2. Get a soft cloth.
  3. Scrub the marks with the toothpaste and cloth.
  4. Rinse off with water and repeat if necessary. Blow off any excess water with a hairdryer or towel if you don’t feel like waiting for it to dry on its own.

Remove Dark Water Stains With A Bleach Solution

If you have dark water stains on your wood material, use this simple bleach solution. It will remove the stains instantly so they don’t continue to worsen and leave permanent discoloration. But, of course, you can use this same technique on any other type of surface as well.

This is a bleaching solution that uses ingredients found in a home kitchen to create a mixture that acts quickly and powerfully on dark water stains, so they’re gone within minutes instead of days or weeks. 

You’ll need:

  • 1 quart of warm water.
  • 1/2 cup of regular strength, unscented chlorine bleach (like Clorox).
Remove Dark Water Stains With A Bleach Solution

Add the bleach into the warm water and mix it thoroughly. It will look cloudy and maybe slightly yellow.

Remove Stubborn Black Water Stains With Oxalic Acid

One of the best methods for removing stubborn black water stains from wood is using oxalic acid (crystals or crystals dissolved in warm water). Adding a few drops of this liquid will often do the trick! You may need to apply small amounts until it becomes effective. In addition, when using oxalic acid and wood, it will take a few days for the black stain to go away. The stains may reappear after a few days.

Remove Stubborn Black Water Stains With Oxalic Acid


How Do You Get Water Stains Out Of Wood?

If you’ve searched for a solution and the stains are not permanent or semi-permanent, these tips from experts might help. Experiment with these remedies and see if they work:
– Apply a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and rub gently until the stain is removed; repeat as needed. Be sure not to let the area dry out between applications! 
– Make a paste of white vinegar and water, then apply it directly on top of the stain using a damp cloth; allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes, then wipe away excess moisture.

How Do You Remove White Spots From Wood Tables?

If you are worried about the white spots on your wood table, you can remove them with a mixture of vinegar and water. Get a big bowl and mix 1 cup of distilled vinegar into 2 cups of water. Start by adding a little bit of dish soap to the mixture and making sure it is completely dissolved before adding any more liquid. 
Now dip one corner of the old cloth into the solution and dab it across the surface where there are white spots. Repeat this process on all affected areas until no trace remains or if they get worse, then reapply some more cleanser to remedy the situation.

How Do You Get White Spots Out Of Wood?

You can remove the white spots by use of a bleach solution. This is done by mixing one part bleach with five parts water in a spray bottle, then spraying the mixture onto the white spot on the wood and waiting for it to dry before re-oiling it.

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