How to Remove Water Stains from Wood

Someone forget to use a coaster? Grab any of these household products and you'll be able to buff out those water rings, easy.

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Petroleum Jelly
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Petroleum Jelly

Learning how to remove water stains from wood is a trick that’ll come in handy sooner or later. Imagine you’re tidying up after a party, only to find someone’s set their sweaty glass directly on your wooden coffee table, leaving an awful white ring as a souvenir. To make the water stain disappear, apply petroleum jelly and let it sit overnight. In the morning, wipe the watermark away with the jelly.

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Baking soda
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Baking Soda

Whether they’re caused by hot cups or sweating glasses, you can get those white marks off your wooden furniture by making a paste of one tablespoon baking soda and one teaspoon water. Gently rub the spot in a circular motion until it disappears. A few words of warning before you try this trick, however: Be careful when using baking soda on glossy wood, as its abrasive nature can scratch and dull the finish. What’s more, if you add too much water in formulating the paste, you could end up making the water stains worse.

Discover more brilliant household uses for baking soda.

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How to remove water stains from wood - white toothpaste
Photo: Nigel Stripe /


Gently rub some non-gel toothpaste with a soft cloth on the surface to remove water stains from wood. Then, wipe it off with a damp cloth and let it dry before applying furniture polish. For even stronger cleaning power, mix equal parts white toothpaste and baking soda. Rub the paste parallel to the wood grain, wipe it off, and then polish with lemon oil.

Find out more toothpaste hacks that will save you time, money and effort.

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Salt shaker
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Mix one teaspoon salt with a few drops of water to form a paste. Gently rub the paste onto the ring with a soft cloth or sponge and work it over the spot until it’s gone. Afterward, restore the lustre of your wood with furniture polish.

Here’s how professional cleaners keep their own homes spotless.

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Car wax
Photo: Shutterstock

Car Wax

When regular furniture polish doesn’t work, try using a dab of car wax to remove water stains from wood. Trace the ring with your finger to apply the wax. Let it dry and buff with a soft cloth.

Here are more clever car wax hacks.

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How to remove water stains from wood - white vinegar
Photo: focal point /


Mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and apply it with a soft cloth while moving with the wood grain. Use another clean soft cloth to shine it up. To get white water rings off leather furniture, dab them with a sponge soaked in full-strength white vinegar.

Now that you know how to remove water stains from wood, find out 25 cleaning hacks for stubborn messes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest