How To Remove Wood Furniture Stains
Wood furniture is truly beautiful in its simplicity. There’s not a lot that you can do to make a piece of wood furniture unappealing. However, wood furniture does take some care for stains, as allowing a stain to set in can cause long-term damage to the furniture’s finish. But there are many simple remedies that will allow you to remove the stains from your wood furniture without it needing to be refinished.
An Ounce of Prevention Will Stop a Stain
The adage says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that holds especially true for wood furniture. Bare wood is particularly at risk for permanent staining, as it is just dying to absorb whatever it can. We recommend always ensuring that your wood furniture has a strong coat of varnish on it at all times. Varnish isn’t just available in super glossy finishes anymore, and can be found in a satin or a matte to match whatever look you wish to achieve.
Elbow Grease Required
Virtually any solution for removing stains from wood furniture will require a good bit of elbow grease. The wood furniture should be rubbed very slowly and deliberately to prevent damage to the finish. This will take some time, but is worth it to save your piece from needing to be completely refinished.
Water Marks On Wood Furniture
One of the most common problems with wood furniture is the dreaded water mark. Whether from a lack of a coaster or a spill that goes unnoticed, the dreaded white ghost mark can mar the look of a piece of wood furniture very quickly. But fear not, help is only as far away as your bathroom! Grab your tube of toothpaste (paste, not gel) and rub some toothpaste in a circular motion over the stain with a clean damp cloth. Remove the toothpaste from the surface with a second damp cloth, and polish as usual.
If your piece is an antique, you should tread extremely lightly. Most antique furniture doesn’t have the strong finishes of today’s furniture. Therefore, the above treatment may do more harm than good. Some antique experts recommend a very light scouring with Super Fine (000 grade) steel wool, followed by a coat of wax.
If something hot sits directly on wood furniture, a heat mark is almost inevitable. The wood will gradually change color as it warms. You can remove this stain with a bit of work. The most common cleanser is a mixture of cigarette ashes and either lemon juice or cooking oil. We
recommend trying the lemon juice first, as it often does the trick a bit more quickly due to the inherent citric acids. Rub the affected area with a clean cloth dipped in this solution. Once the stain has lifted, polish as usual.
If this doesn’t work, another option would be to rub very gently along the grain of the wood with 000 grade steel wool. Examine the mark after each pass with the steel wool so that you don’t rub any more than absolutely necessary. Once the mark is gone, wax and polish as usual.
Cigarette Burn Marks
A careless flick of a cigarette butt can do quite a bit of damage to your wood furniture. The burn mark that remains is one that you won’t likely soon forget. But that burn to your furniture is a stain that can be removed relatively easily. Make a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone (both can be found at your local home improvement store) and work it into the wood along the grain until the burn stain disappears. Wipe clean, and polish as usual.
Depending on the make-up of your household, you may face a variety of beverage spills on your wood furniture. These spills can do various levels of damage to the furniture in terms of staining. But two of the most common and most destructive beverages for wood are milk and alcohol. Both can leave quite a nasty mark on your wood furniture. Take a damp cloth and rub some ammonia into the stain to lift the stain, and then use your fingers to work some paste wax into the affected area. Wipe clean, and polish as usual.
Your wood furniture is beautiful and can last for generations to come. Be sure to keep it protected whenever possible, and remove any unattractive stains as quickly as possible