How to Remove Heat Marks From Wood

Updated March 23, 2017

Heat marks form on wood surfaces when you place something hot directly onto the wood. The heat causes the fibres in the wood to swell and water becomes trapped in the tiny gaps, discolouring the wood's surface. You should remove the heat mark as soon as possible after it forms, but be aware that it can take several attempts in order to fully remove it. If you do not remove the heat mark quickly after discovering it, the mark can become permanent.

Mix enough cigarette ashes with 1 tbsp lemon juice to make a paste. The mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter.

Use a soft cloth to gently rub the cigarette ash and lemon juice paste into the heat mark. The citric acid from the lemon juice helps the cigarette ash to work more effectively on the heat mark and release it from the wood. Repeat as needed until the heat mark disappears.

Polish the wood with wood polish as you would normally once the heat mark has lifted.


You can also use cooking oil instead of lemon juice, but the citric acid from the lemon juice is more effective. To prevent heat marks, use trivets, hot pads or coasters under hot items. Avoid setting hot items directly onto the wood surface. For lacquered wood, use a mixture of non-gel toothpaste and baking soda to rub over the heat mark. When the toothpaste and baking soda mixture warms, wipe the area clean and polish the wood as you would normally.

Things You'll Need

  • Cigarette ashes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Soft cloth
  • Wood polish
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About the Author

Cricket Webber began writing for fun as a young adult and started writing professionally in 2010. She is based in the deep South. Webber specializes in articles on greener living. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Converse College.