How to Prevent Water Marks on a Table

White rings and marks on the surface of a wooden table are telltale signs of heat and moisture stains. They develop when wood comes in contact with a wet, drippy glass or hot, steamy dish long enough for the moisture to absorb into the wood. Attempts to remove the water marks from the surface are futile because the stain lies within the wood. The best tactic to prevent water marks on your table is to protect the surface from heat and moisture.

Polish the wood table with an appropriate wax to give it a protective coat. Wax keeps the table top safe from minor scratches and slows down the absorption of moisture by providing a water-resistant coat.

Cover your dining table with a padded table cover. These typically have padding similar to that of an ironing board pad, proving a cushion between the table and eating surface as well as a vinyl or plastic top. Purchase padded table covers at furniture stores.

Set out coasters and placemats for family and guests to use at mealtimes. Aside from preventing water marks, coasters and placemats also add a decorative touch to your table.

Place hot casserole dishes on trivets to keep heat and moisture above the table surface.

Put a plate or plant tray beneath vases of flowers or small potted plants kept on the wood table. This prevents water spills or overflow from staining the table.


Wipe up spills on wood tables as soon as they occur to avert white spots. Ban drinks from wood tables in rooms besides the dining room. Allowing no beverages prevents stains on a variety of household surfaces, including tables.


Avoid abrasive cleansers when removing water marks and white spots as they will scratch the wood surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood polish
  • Clean cloths
  • Padded table cover
  • Coasters
  • Placemats
  • Trivets
  • Plate
  • Trays
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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.