Don’t even think about replacing your coffee table just because of a few water stains. Our expert tips will show you how to remove water rings using everyday household products so the party can continue.

By Hannah Bruneman and Kim Hutchison
July 12, 2019

You know the scenario: A guest forgets to use your DIY coasters under their chilled glass and soon a faint white stain appears on your favorite wood furniture. This stain is often referred to as a water ring, and while it's certainly frustrating, it's not a party-stopping problem! Learn how to remove water rings from wood furniture with our easy cleaning hacks that use everyday products you already own to wipe, buff, and polish.

Two glasses of water on wooden table
Image courtesy of Getty.

1. Spread Some Mayonnaise

One surprising fix for water stains? It's probably already in your fridge. Using a paper towel, dab mayonnaise onto the stain. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight with the paper towel sitting on top. The next day, wipe away the mayo with a clean cloth and finish by polishing with vinegar. Voila! We found this to be one of the most effective cleaning methods for removing water stains.

2. Combine Vinegar and Olive Oil

In a small bowl, mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil. Apply the mixture to the water stain using a cloth. Wipe in the direction of the wood grain until the stain is gone. The vinegar will help remove the stain while the olive oil acts as a furniture polish. Finish by wiping clean with a clean, dry cloth.

3. Use an Iron

To remove water rings with an iron, start by laying a clean cloth over the water mark. We recommending using a cotton cloth without any prints to avoid transferring any patterns to your surface. Preheat the iron to a low temperature. Once heated, briefly set the iron on the cloth over the water stain. After a few seconds, lift the iron and cloth to check the stain. If it’s still there, repeat steps until the stain is removed. This water stain removal method works best for stains that are still damp, rather than long set-in water marks, as it works to remove the moisture.

4. Plug in a Hair Dryer

For this method of removing water stains from wood, head to your bathroom vanity and grab a hair dryer. Plug in the device and turn it to its highest setting. Aim the hair dryer towards the stain and hold until the stain disappears. Unplug hair dryer. Finish by polishing the table with furniture oil. If you don’t have furniture oil on hand, olive oil will work as well. This method works best for fresh water stains.

5. Head to the Medicine Cabinet

For this fix, you’ll need white toothpaste. Dab a generous amount of the toothpaste onto a clean cloth. Buff the toothpaste onto the stain. Continue to gently rub the stain until it is completely removed. Wipe clean with a new cloth or paper towel.

Comments (3)

January 30, 2020
Most of these are pretty terrible ideas. First of all, one should never, ever use food products such as mayonnaise or oil to do this; the oils will go rancid over time. I'm disappointed in BHG for perpetuating these ideas.
January 24, 2020
Are all these methods good for all woods
August 7, 2019
What can you do when so much water is spilled that the wood actually gets warped?