How to Remove Watermarks From Wood

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to Remove Watermarks From Wood
Antique furniture may be particularly prone to water marks if it has crazing or tiny cracks in it. (Antique side table. image by maron from

Cleaning up after a dinner party or a small gathering of friends may leave you with an unpleasant surprise, such as water marks on your wood furniture. These water marks often appear as a white ring or haze where a drink or hot dish was placed on the furniture without a coaster or trivet beneath it. It is possible to remove this unsightly stain. It is a result of moisture being trapped beneath the finish of your wood furniture, causing it to lose its transparency. This is even more of a problem with antiques that may contain crazing or tiny cracks that absorb the moisture.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Petroleum jelly or furniture polish
  • Soft, cleaning cloth or an old cotton T-shirt
  • White spirit
  • Furniture wax

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    Lubricant Method

  1. 1

    Use an oily lubricant, such as petroleum jelly or furniture polish, as suggested by the Antique Restorers website.. Apply a moderately thick layer to the water mark, and leave it on the area overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours.

  2. 2

    Rub the water mark with a soft, clean cloth or an old cotton T-shirt. Use a circular motion and continuously rub the area until the water mark is gone.

  3. 3

    Remove all the remaining lubricant with another soft cloth.

    White Spirit Method

  1. 1

    Dampen a soft, cleaning cloth or old cotton T-shirt with some white spirit, as suggested by Reader's Digest. You can get this at discount or furniture stores.

  2. 2

    Rub the white ring or water mark with the rag, using a circular motion. This will remove the wax without damaging the finish.

  3. 3

    Rub some furniture wax into the area if it looks dull after removing the water mark. This will restore the shine.

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