How to Fix a Wood Table Burn

Updated February 21, 2017

It can seem as though burn marks appear on your wooden tables out of nowhere. A single careless flick of a cigarette or a warm platter left sitting a little too long can ruin the look of your wooden table. Hot objects like dishes will leave ugly white swirls on your wooden surface, while cigarette burns will leave actual burn marks. Try a few homemade solutions to remove heat marks or burn marks from your table.

Wipe the table clean of dirt, dust and other particles with a clean rag or cloth dampened with warm water. Dry the surface with a clean towel before continuing.

Mix plain, non-gel toothpaste and baking soda into a small bowl until it forms a sticky paste. Spread the paste over the heat mark with a clean rag and allow two to three minutes for the paste to work. Wipe the paste away with a clean cloth, and the heat mark will also be gone.

Mix cigarette ashes and lemon juice together in a small bowl for an alternative cleaning solution. Dampen a clean cloth in this solution and rub at the heat mark until it is completely removed.

Gently rub the wooden surface with clean 0000 grade steel wool. Check the surface after each pass of the steel wool to see your progress and to make sure the steel wool has not damaged the wooden surface. Rub only until the white mark has disappeared; any more and you threaten to damage the wood’s finish.

Clean the wooden surface with a clean rag dampened with warm water before using it again.

Mix equal parts linseed oil and Rottenstone polishing compound together in a small bowl. The mixture should form a paste; add more oil or compound as necessary to get the proper consistency.

Rub the paste onto the burnt area of the wooden surface with a clean rag or cloth. Work with the grain of the wood for most effective removal. Allow the paste to sit on the surface and work for three to five minutes.

Wipe the paste away with a damp, clean cloth. Repeat paste application and cleaning as necessary until the burn mark is completely removed.

Clean the wooden surface with a clean rag dampened with warm water before using it again.


If you do not have access to lemon juice, use cooking oil to form the cleaning solution with cigarette ashes. Both linseed oil and Rottenstone are available at most hardware stores. Some of these burn-removal solutions may leave your table looking dull. Apply wood polish to your surface to restore shine.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag or cloth
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Toothpaste
  • Baking soda
  • Small bowl
  • Cigarette ashes
  • Lemon juice
  • 0000 grade steel wool
  • Linseed oil
  • Rottenstone polishing compound
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About the Author

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.