How to Remove Heat Marks From an Old Oak Table

Updated February 21, 2017

The beauty of oak adds personality and life to any home decor. If you use the table for practical purposes, however, you run the risk of damaging and staining the wood. Some of the most noticeable stains are heat marks, caused by placing hot objects such as serving dishes, mugs or pizza boxes directly onto the wooden surface of the table. These heat marks appear as cloudy, white stains that mar the surface of your oak table. Learn to remove heat stains from your oak table and keep it looking new through the years.

Wipe down the surface of the table with a clean rag or cloth dampened with teak oil or Danish oil. This quick cleaning will remove any surface dirt or grime from the stain. Allow the oil to dry completely before continuing.

Rub butter or margarine into the heat mark, covering it completely. Let the butter sit on the stain overnight. Wipe it clean the next day with a rag or towel.

Mix cigarette ash with either olive oil or mayonnaise. Spread the grey paste onto the heat mark with a cloth or your finger. Let the paste stand overnight. Wipe it clean the next day with a towel or rag.

Lay a clean, white cloth over the heat mark. Set your clothing iron on medium heat and move it in circular motions over the surface of the towel. The stain will disappear as you iron; continue until the stain is completely gone.

Apply wood polish to the stained area after any cleaning attempts. Harsh cleaning such as high heat and corrosive ash will damage the polish on the wood. Rub wood polish into the grain using a soft, clean cloth.


When using the clothing iron, try a number of different approaches if your initial attempt doesn't work. Results can vary depending on the heat level, whether or not you use steam and how much pressure you apply to the stain.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag or cloth
  • Teak oil or Danish oil
  • Butter or margarine
  • Cigarette ashes
  • Olive oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Clothing iron
  • Wood polish
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

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.