2 Methods for Removing Water Stains from Wooden Furniture After Major Flooding

Posted on: 23 July 2015


Floods can cause a terrific amount of damage to not only homes, but also interior furnishings. One of the most susceptible items is wood furniture; water stains can ruin the appearance of wood and are seemingly permanent. However, water stains don't have to forever mar the surface of cherished furniture items and can be removed by using a few simple items.

Below are two methods for removing water stains from wood furniture; in many circumstances, all it takes is one method to make stains disappear. However, you may need to use both methods to eliminate some tougher water stains, so use both back-to-back if necessary. Here is a list of materials needed as well as step-by-step directions:

List of materials needed

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Table salt (sodium chloride)
  • Glass bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • Clothing iron
  • White cotton T-shirt or thin towel
  • Spray furniture polish
  • Sponge or cleaning rag

Method 1 - Salt and olive oil paste

1. Mix a paste consisting of salt and olive oil. Pour ½ cup of table salt into a clean, glass bowl. It doesn't matter if the salt is iodized or not, but a fine-grained salt is preferable to rock salt, pickling salt, or other large-grained salt.

Next, add ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil into the bowl and mix it together thoroughly with the salt. Be sure the salt is completely soaked by the olive oil but that the mixture can still be shaped with your fingers and maintain its form for a few seconds. Add more salt or oil, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency.

2. Apply the salt and olive oil paste to the water stain. Use a clean rag to wipe the area of the furniture over the water stain to remove dust or traces of polish. After cleaning, take a small spoonful of the salt and olive oil paste and apply it to the water spot. With your fingers, push the paste down into the wood and lightly rub it in a circular motion. Be careful to avoid rubbing too vigorously so you don't scratch the finish or wood itself. Spread the paste around an area that slightly exceeds the borders of the water stain so that you can capture all the stain.

3. Allow the paste to sit and wipe clean with a rag. Once you have applied the salt and olive oil paste, allow it to sit untouched for about 15 minutes. Next, use a damp sponge or cleaning rag to carefully remove the paste from the wood furniture. Once again, be cautious when cleaning off the paste, so you don't scratch the grain of the furniture.

4. Examine the water stain and reapply, if necessary. After you remove the paste, take a close look at the water stained location. If there is still any stain residue remaining, apply another spoonful of paste to the site and permit it to sit for 15 additional minutes. Remove the paste and re-check the site; if the water stain still persists, then move to Method 2 as described below:

Method 2 - Hot iron and cloth

1. Heat the iron. Plug in the electric clothes iron and heat it to its lowest setting, which is often 'silk'. When starting, keep the heat level at a minimal setting to avoid scorching the wood.

2. Apply the hot iron to the wood. Lay an unfolded white cotton T-shirt or thin towel on top of the water stain. Be sure not to use a shirt or towel that contains any artificial fibers, iron-on emblems or other appliques; the heat of the iron may cause them to melt and stick to your furniture.

After laying out the cotton t-shirt or towel, place the warm iron on top of the material and rub the iron in a circular pattern. Keep the iron moving to protect the wood from being damaged, and lift the iron every ten seconds to check on your progress. If the water stain is still present, continue cycles of rubbing for ten seconds and checking for as long as needed to remove the stain. Otherwise, you can ask restoration services like Complete Restoration Services to help save your furniture.