How to Remove Stains from Wooden Furniture?

Wooden furniture is a classic and beautiful part of home decor. A rich mahogany dining table or a rough rustic oak coffee table creates warmth and natural elegance in a room. As much as we love those pieces, they are not invulnerable to the occasional stain or blemish. The surface of that beautiful piece of wooden furniture may be marred by watermarks from sweating glasses or greasy fingerprints, perhaps even ink.

No problem, most of the stains can be taken out, and the wood will be brought back to its original state by following the proper technique and being a bit patient. For tougher stains, professional cleaning services can offer specialized care to ensure your furniture remains in top condition.

Determining a Stain

The basic thing in treating any stain is to identify the culprit that caused the spot. Is it water, oil, ink, or other? Different types of stains require a specific approach. For example, water stains are often light-colored and rest on the surface of the wood. On the other hand, oil stains are usually darker and sometimes soak into the grain of the wood. Understanding where the stain originated can guide you in determining which cleaning method is best to follow.

White Vinegar and Olive Oil

woman cleaning wooden table

For light watermarks or stains, a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and olive oil is effective. The acid properties within vinegar dissolve the stain, while the oil properties nourish and protect the wood. Hence, all you have to do is mix the vinegar with the oil in a bowl, then soak a piece of soft cloth in the mixture. Make sure to wring the liquid out and then gently rub the stain in a circular motion. Let the solution rest on the stain for about an hour, then wipe the cleaned area with a clean cloth. Polish the area with a dry cloth to restore shine.

Baking Soda Paste

Most efforts cannot remove most of the white rings or marks left on the wood by a hot mug or glass. All that is needed to remove most of these marks is a paste made from a mix of baking soda. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that cleans the wood without scratching it. To make the paste, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to form a thick consistency, about 1 teaspoon. With a soft cloth or a sponge, apply the paste onto the stain and work in circular motions. Leave the paste for a few minutes, then wipe it with a damp cloth. Follow the process through a number of times until the stain is gone.

Grade of Mineral Spirits for Oil-Based Stains

Oil stains, and those from things like cooking grease or lotion, are a little bit more stubborn. Mineral spirits are going to work excellently for these stubborn stains. Mineral spirits are petroleum distillates that can dissolve oil and grease, but they are sparingly and in a well-ventilated location. Put a small amount of mineral spirits on a clean cloth and then gently rub the stain.

women cleaning

Remember though, follow the grain of the wood, or you'll leave scratches. For all but the most stubborn oil stains, you'll need to pull out the big guns in the shape of a clay-based absorbent. Things like Fuller's Earth are best rubbed into the stain and left for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, before brushing off.

Canola Oil on Alcoholic Drink Stain End

Stains from alcohol spillsᅳlike red wine or cocktailsᅳcan often be cleaned by applying some cooking oil. The oil dissolves the alcohol and helps to lift the mark.

Put a few drops of coconut, olive, or canola oil on a soft cloth. Rub this oil on the affected area gently in a circular motion for a couple of minutes. Allow the oil to permeate for about 15 minutes and then wipe away using a clean piece of cloth. For more serious alcohol stains, you may have to repeat the process a number of times.

Sanding and Bleach Wood

In a few instances, stains may be too deep or set-in, and can't be removed using the above methods. At this point, the affected area may be sanded. This should be done very carefully and always using proper safety gear, like a dust mask and gloves. It is best to begin with low-grit sandpaper, perhaps in the 100s, and slowly work the stain. Gradually work up to finer grit sandpaper to even the texture. If sanding alone doesn't take the stain out, you can also try a weak solution of wood bleachᅳa tablespoon of bleach to a quart of water. With a small cotton swab, apply this just to the area of the stain, then let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe it off with a damp cloth. Repeat as needed until the stain is no longer visible.

Stain Prevention

The best remedy for stains, of course, is not having them in the first place. Use coasters under your drinks, and always try and mop up spills right away. Dust and polish your wooden furniture to keep that protective finish. If the furniture is used a lot, consider the use of a tablecloth or placemats for the surface's protection.

If you have been scared by removing stains from wooden furniture, add the methods to your arsenal and take them head-on. Always make sure you test the cleaning solution first in an inconspicuous place and then take it from there. With a little care and attention, your cherished wooden pieces can last generations in beauty, just like the stunning results achieved by a house cleaning service.

Author - Nurlana Alasgarli
Nurlana Alasgarli           

Content Specialist

Nurlana Alasgarli is a professional copywriter with more than 6 years of creative writing experience. Having lived and experienced all over the world, there are many writing genres that Nurlana follows, including nature, arts and crafts and the outdoors. Nurlana brings life to content creation, captivating her readers.


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