A Few Tips to Remove White Spots from Your Timber Furniture

by Cheryl Dunn

Timber furniture, from stores like Furniture Design Australia, is beautiful when properly cared for. All spills, whether liquid or not, need to be wiped up as soon as possible to prevent staining.  Sometimes, a spill goes unnoticed, or you do not realize that the underside of a tablecloth is wet. This results in a white water mark that requires special treatment. If you place something hot on the timber, you will end up with a white mark that needs a different treatment to get rid of it. Here are a few tips to restore timber furniture to its full beauty without stripping the finishing and having to stain and varnish the piece again.

Water Stains

Water marks are not just from water. Any liquid that rests on the wood will leave a mark. Small droplets of condensation dripping down the side of a glass will leave a white ring where the glass sat. Luckily, there are a few simple tricks to getting rid of the mark.

  • Toothpaste and Baking Soda – Mix a small amount of baking soda in a tablespoon of toothpaste. Make sure this is paste, not tooth gel, and use a variety without peroxide. Rub the mixture into the water stain in a circular motion for a few minutes. Carefully wipe away the mixture with a slightly damp cloth. The mark will be gone but you may need to add furniture polish to return the wood's lustre.
  • Ashes and Butter – Mix cigarette, cigar or fireplace ashes into butter to form a thick paste. The butter can be salted or unsalted, but do not use margarine. Using a soft cloth, apply the paste to the stain and rub in a circular motion. When you notice the stain is gone, wipe away the paste. The butter will have oiled the wood so no polish is necessary at the time.

Heat Stains

It could be a box of pizza that was just delivered or a warm casserole that you set on the table for dinner that caused the white mark. The moist heat seeps under the varnish and causes a cloudy, white mark. To get rid of it, you need to apply more heat. Cover the area with a cotton dishtowel. Set your iron to a temperature that allows for steam. Once the iron has heated, turn the steam option on and iron the towel normally. After every couple of passes, lift the towel and check on the stain. It should only take a minute or two before the mark is gone.

If you are not sure what caused the mark, it is best to use one of the techniques for removing a water stain first. This keeps you from causing a heat mark by using the iron. On marks that have been there for a while, you may need to perform the treatment a couple of times before the mark is completely and permanently removed.