Since 1905

How to Remove Marks from your Wood Table

dunn rite tips

Some people think an old table is ruined if it has watermark rings, cigarette burns, heat marks, or milk stains, but that is not the case. There are some tried and true old-school remedies to remove marks from your wood table. For example, I found a list titled “Table First Aid” and learned some new solutions to common problems life can dump on your wood table. So be it a dining room, breakfast nook, or crafting table, as long as it’s made of wood, take a look at these tips and see if they work.

Watermark Rings

Rings are often in the wax, not the finish of a table. Cover the stain with a clean, thick blotter, press down with a warm iron, and repeat. If using an iron on your table makes you nervous, try rubbing with salad oil, mayonnaise, or white toothpaste. Then wipe dry.

Milk or Alcohol Stains

Rub in a paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone with the grain, substituting pumice for a dull finish. Or run with ammonia on a dampened cloth. Then wipe dry.

Cigarette Burns

Minor burns can be remedied by rubbing with scratch-concealing polish or with a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone, working with the grain until the burn mark disappears.

Heat Marks

Rub gently along the grain using a dry steel wool soap pad, extra-fine (0000) steel wool, or a cloth damped with camphorated oil or mineral spirits.

Nail Polish

Blot the spill immediately, then rub with fine steel wool (0000) dipped in Guardsman Furniture Polish. Wipe dry.

Paint Marks

If fresh, remove latex paint with water and oil-based paint with mineral spirits. If dry, soak the spot in boiled linseed oil, wait until paint softens, lift carefully with a putty knife or wipe a cloth dampened with boiled linseed oil. Residue can be removed by rubbing along the grain with a paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone. Wipe dry.

Sticking Paper

Dampen the paper thoroughly with salad oil, wait five minutes and rub along the grain with extra-fine (0000) steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. Wipe dry.

Try a small area first to ensure that the remedy doesn’t damage the finish with each of these tips. If you happen to try any of these, we would love to hear from you and even write a blog post on your experience.