How to Remove White Heat Stains From a Pine Table

Written by jamie l. jackson
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How to Remove White Heat Stains From a Pine Table
Repairing your pine table is worth the time. (Christmas table image by araraadt from

Hot cups and bowls placed on a finished pine table can leave a white circular mark that stays long after the wood has cooled. This phenomenon is caused when the heat transfers moisture to the wax finish of your pine table, leaving a film where the wax was once applied. There are many methods to remove the white ring from your table, salvaging the look of the finish without sacrificing the integrity of the wood.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Baking soda
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 small dish
  • Old white T-shirt
  • Clothes iron
  • Mineral oil
  • 4-0 super fine grade steel wool
  • Wax
  • Clean cloth

Show MoreHide


    Light abrasion

  1. 1

    Mix together 2 tbsp baking soda with 2 tbsp tap water in a small dish.

  2. 2

    Apply a small amount of the baking soda paste to the white heat ring on the table.

  3. 3

    Rub the baking soda paste around with your fingers or a clean cloth in a small circular motion until the white heat ring disappears. Continue around the entire heat ring until it is no longer prominent.

  4. 4

    Apply wood wax to reseal the table.

    Old T-shirt trick

  1. 1

    Heat up a clothes iron to a warm setting. Do not heat higher than warm, as this may damage the finish on the table.

  2. 2

    Place an old white T-shirt directly over the white heat ring.

  3. 3

    Set the warm iron on the T-shirt, and iron in the direction of the wood grain. The white ring should start to disappear after several passes of the iron on the T-shirt.

    Heavier abrasion

  1. 1

    Rub the white heat ring lightly with fine-gauge 4-0 steel wool in a small circular pattern. Continue until you have covered the entire heat ring.

  2. 2

    Apply a small amount of mineral oil to a clean cloth and wipe the surface of the heat ring. Repeat several times to allow mineral oil to soak into the heat ring.

  3. 3

    Finish by applying a coat of wood wax over the entire surface of the pine table. This will seal in the wood and protect the surface of the wood.

Tips and warnings

  • Stripping and reapplying finish to your pine table can help preserve the wood for many years to come. If this is not an option, consider applying a mineral oil such as Tung oil, available in hardware and big box stores, to the wood. Allow the oil to soak into the wood fully before wiping off any excess. Let it dry fully before resuming regular activities on the table top.
  • According to West Interior Services, "Any work performed on wood, involving any type of physical or mechanical action, should always be performed in the direction of the grain."
  • According to Martha, "A ring darker than the wood, however, has permeated the finish and requires professional treatment by a furniture refinisher."

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