Keep It Neat And See How To Remove Stains From Wood

Maybe you already know how to clean your wooden garden furniture, but what happens with all your other wooden surfaces? Did you accidentally spill something on the wooden floor? Want to learn how to remove the water stains left on your dining table? We are here to help! From rustic oak flooring to beautiful dining tables, natural wood is not only functional but adds to the ambience of space as well.

Unfortunately, accidents happen and before you know it, the once pristine and shining table starts looking stained and dirty.  In this article, we will tell you how to remove all kinds of wood stains – from water stains to ink and nail polish stains – so that you can restore the wood to its former glory. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Determine the type of stain and wood

Want to pick up a wood stain remover and start cleaning the wood? Hold your horses! Firstly, you have to determine the type of stain and the kind of wood you are working with. Are there dark stains, greasy stains, or some other kind of stain? 

This is because water stains are easier to remove than grease stains or stains left due to ink. Plus, every kind of stain needs to be tackled differently. The best way to ensure that you get the stains out thoroughly is by identifying their nature. The colour of the stain will help you figure out whether the stain is on the waxy surface of the wood or has gone within the finish.

Once you determine the type of stain you have, you should figure out what kind of wood you are working with. If the stain seems to be surface-level only, you are most probably working with hard-finished wood

If the stain seems to have gone through the wood, then it probably has a soft-oil finish. To make sure that you don’t damage it while cleaning and removing the stains, we suggest that you spot test a small area on the piece of furniture. If there is no visible damage, you can continue. 

How to remove water stains from wood

Did you have guests over and someone forgot to grab a coaster? Is there an unsightly white water ring on your beautiful, rustic coffee table? Don’t worry, for there are various methods for removing stains from wood with the help of ordinary household items. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Clothes iron

When it comes to any kind of stains, the earlier you catch them, the easier they are to remove. If the stain is only a couple of days old, you might be able to remove it using a clothes iron.

Things you will need

  • Cotton cloth
  • Clothes iron
  • Cleaning rag


  1. Clean up the stained wood with the help of a soft fibre cleaning rag to remove any dust, dirt, grime, etc.
  2. Cover the stain with a cotton cloth or a t-shirt.
  3. Plugin your clothes iron, keeping the heat setting at the lowest.
  4. Iron the cotton cloth you placed over the stain for a few seconds and see if the heat is evaporating the moisture.
  5. If it is, repeat until the stain is gone.
  6. If you don’t want to use a clothes iron, you can replace it with a hairdryer.


Mayonnaise might not be great for our waistlines, but it is amazing when it comes to most types of wood. Even though this stain removal method takes some time, it is gentle on the wood, so it is worth the wait.

Things you will need

  • Cloth
  • Mayonnaise


  1. Take a cloth and put some mayo on it.
  2. Rub the mayo on the stain and let it sit for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  3. If it dries, you can apply more mayo, as needed.
  4. Take a slightly damp cloth and wipe away the mayo once the stipulated time has passed.


Old, dried water stains are hard to get rid of using mayo or a hairdryer. They call for a little more firepower! We recommend that you go with non-gel toothpaste, as it gentler on the wood.

Things you will need

  • Cloth
  • Toothpaste


  1. Dab a little toothpaste on a clean, soft cloth.
  2. Rub the toothpaste gently into the stain, making sure that you don’t scrub very hard.
  3. Let it sit for a minute and then wipe the toothpaste away.
  4. Check the stain to see if it needs more work.
  5. If it does, repeat the process.

Baking Soda

This product not only makes your recipes amazing but also plays an important role in keeping your house spick and span. 

Things you will need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Cloth


  1. Take one tbsp. soda.
  2. Mix equal parts of water and soda together to make a smooth paste.
  3. Apply a thick layer of the paste to the stain.
  4. Rub the paste in circular motions, in the direction of the grain of the wood, for two minutes.
  5. Wipe the paste off with a cloth and check if the stain is gone.
  6. Repeat, if needed.
  7. You can replace soda with salt as well. Just make sure that you add a few drops of water – enough to bind the salt together – instead of a whole tbsp.

Petroleum jelly

Petroleum or vaseline jelly isn’t only handy when it comes to soothing your chapped lips. It works with water marks on the wood as well.

Things you will need

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Clean cloth


  1. Clean the wood surface.
  2. Apply the jelly to the water stain
  3. Let it sit overnight.
  4. Wipe off the jelly with a cloth in the morning to reveal stain-free wood.

How to remove heat stains from wood

If you place a hot coffee mug on the wooden table, the heat from the cup will combine with the existing moisture in the table – and leave a milky white, unsightly stain. Let’s see how to fight it!

Toothpaste & Baking soda

Here’s how you can remove heat stains from wood using toothpaste and soda.


  1. Take a cloth and clean the stained wood to get rid of dust particles.
  2. Take one tbsp. soda and mix it with toothpaste.
  3. Rub this paste onto the stain with the help of a cloth.
  4. After rubbing, let the paste sit for 15 minutes. Go gentle with the rubbing, as soda is abrasive.
  5. Wipe away with a clean, damp cloth.
  6. Repeat, if required.
  7. Use wooden furniture polish to get your wood shining again!

How to remove dark stains from wood

Don’t worry – you can get rid of dark stains from wood and hardwood floors using everyday household items, without harsh chemicals, very easily.

White vinegar

Vinegar is an amazing, natural way to get rid of tough stains on wood since it is acidic in nature.

Things you will need

  • Paper towels
  • Clean cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Hairdryer (optional)


  1. Get a paper towel and soak it in some vinegar.
  2. Layer it over the stain and let it sit for almost 30 minutes. You can use two soaked towels as well.
  3. Remove the towels and use a cloth to wipe the dirty wood.
  4. Let the wood dry for 30 minutes. You can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
  5. If the stain is still visible, you can repeat the process.
  6. If repetition doesn’t get you the desired results, you can mix one tbsp. of soda with one tbsp. of white vinegar and make a paste.
  7. Scrub the stain with this paste and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Wipe away the surface. Your stain should be gone now!

How to remove nail polish stains from wood

Accidents happen all the time! Even if this one isn’t all that common, you need to know the way to get rid of it. Let’s have a look!

Nail Polish Remover

Things you will need

  • Nail polish remover
  • Cloth


  1. If you are using nail polish remover, take a cloth and dab some remover on it.
  2. Rub the nail polish with this cloth until the stain starts to come off.
  3. Wipe with a cloth and let the wood dry completely.

Hair Spray

Things you will need

  • Hair spray
  • Cloth


  1. Spray the stain thoroughly with the hair spray.
  2. Wait for 30 seconds.
  3. Wipe with a dry sponge.
  4. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.

How to remove ink stains or markers from wood

Things you will need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Cloth
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Lemon slices
  • Isopropyl alcohol


  1. Wear protective rubber gloves.
  2. Since colouring pens are usually washable, take a damp cloth and put a few drops of dishwashing liquid on them. 
  3. Wipe the stain with this cloth.
  4. If the stain doesn’t budge, take a lemon slice and rub it onto the stain.
  5. The marker stain will start to come off. 
  6. Wait for 5 minutes and then wipe the area with a cloth.
  7. If the lemon slice doesn’t work, get some isopropyl alcohol and rub it into the stain using an old cloth

How to remove really stubborn stains from wood

If all of the methods that we have discussed didn’t help, it means that the stain is too deep. You will need to use fine-grit sandpaper. However, remember that sanding will probably remove the finish and discolour your wood a bit. After cleaning the stained area, lightly sand the stain with the scraper, until the stain is gone. Use a good wood finish in the end. You can use wood bleach and steel wool as well, but you will have to refinish the wood furniture in this case. 

From wooden dining tables to elegant, rustic flooring, wood is a timeless material and a staple in many homes. It is very easy to get stains on wooden surfaces but this doesn’t mean that you should start to despair. Determine the type of stain your wood has, and use the removal methods we have mentioned above to keep your wooden items looking nice.

Happy Cleaning, Folks!

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