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How to remove white or heat marks from wood

Updated February 21, 2017

White marks or heat marks are caused by setting a warm or cold object on the surface of wooden furniture without covering the surface of the wood to protect it from the extreme heat or cold and moisture. The moisture from spilt drinks, wet glasses, hot food containers or dishes gets under the finish protecting the furniture and is trapped there, making the mark appear. The marks left on furniture mar the surface and make the piece of furniture look damaged and beat up. Consider a few methods for removing white or heat marks from furniture.

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  1. Spoon some mayonnaise on the spot. Spread it around so the whole spot is covered with mayonnaise. Leave it overnight. Remove it with a rag or soft cloth and polish. If the marks remain, proceed to step 2.

  2. Clean the spot with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Buff it gently with the eraser to work the spot out. Polish the wood. If the marks remain, proceed to step 3.

  3. Place a soft white dishcloth or t-shirt on the spot. Use an iron and iron the fabric over the white spot or heat mark. Polish the area when you are finished. If the marks remain, proceed to step 4.

  4. Use a blow dryer. Turn it on, and blow the hair dryer back and forth over the surface of the wood where the white mark or heat mark is. The marks should be gone.

  5. Tip

    For the ironing method, more than one layer of cloth may be necessary. Use both layers of a t-shirt. Start the iron at a lower setting. If that does not work, then turn it up. You do not want to damage the wood further by putting the iron directly on the wood, by turning it too high or by ironing through too thin a layer of soft cloth. To prevent the white marks from happening in the first place, wipe up any spills immediately. Keep coasters handy for drinks, and use hot place mats or hot pads for hot food items. Put plants on solid bottom plates or holders to make sure any moisture does not seep onto the wood.

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Things You'll Need

  • Mayonnaise
  • Spoon
  • Clean rag
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Clean soft dishtowel or white t-shirt
  • Iron
  • Blow dryer
  • Wood polish

About the Author

Laurie Meekis

Laurie Darroch-Meekis is an award-winning freelance writer. She has written over 1,000 published pieces online and off since 2005 and has many more in progress. She holds a bachelor's degree and was educated in the United States and abroad.

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