How to Remove Water Marks From Unfinished Wood

Water marks on your unfinished wood surface most commonly appear as white rings or spots. These white marks are caused by moisture and heat being transferred into the wood by glasses or dishes sitting on your unfinished wood surface. Though water marks appear to be permanent because they are ingrained into the wood, you an extract water marks with a few simple supplies from home.

Mix 1 tsp of table salt with three drops of water in a bowl. Stir the two ingredients together to create a stain-removing paste.

Wet a clean cloth and squeeze out the water. Dip your cloth into the salt paste and rub the paste into the water marks on your unfinished wood. Continue to rub the salt paste into the water stain until you've removed as much of the stain as possible.

Wipe the salt paste from the unfinished wood surface with a clean cloth. Follow by drying the wood surface.

Place a clean dry cloth on the unfinished wood surface, over any remaining water mark stains. Heat your clothing iron to "Low." Set the iron on top of the cloth. Allow the iron to sit on the cloth for several seconds so the heat can draw the water mark-causing moisture out of the wood.

Clean and moisturise your unfinished wood surface with a combination cleaner and moisturiser. This removes any cleaning remaining salt substance and adds moisture and shine to your wood.


Set glasses or dishes on trivets, coasters or place mats to protect your unfinished wood surface. Wipe up wet spills on unfinished wood as soon as possible so they don't have time to soak into the wood.


Dry wood tends to absorb liquid stains more due to the lack of moisture. Keep your wood moist with an appropriate wood oil to maintain the wood's natural moisture level.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Spoon
  • Clean cloths
  • Clothing iron
  • Wood cleaner and moisturiser
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.