Removing water stains from wood furniture and the four stages of grieving

You know that sinking heart feeling you get when someone has left a wet vessel on your wood furniture? You lift it up, dreading the damage that has been done to the furniture, only to have your worst fears confirmed.

This happened to me today. I found a large flower arrangement in a damp earthenware pot that had been placed directly on our dining room table. It had been there for at least a couple of days. Oy.

Immediately, I go into the first of the four stages of grieving: denial. “We’ll just cover the dining room table with a table cloth from now on,” I think to myself.

Then, just as quickly, I bounce over to anger: “Who the hell was careless enough to do this?” My wife knows better. The nanny is a bit thick, so she’s a candidate for sure. Then, it occurred to me: the teenager was the culprit. Duh!

Just as I was descending into the depression stage, I grabbed my iPhone and Googled “removing water stains from wood furniture”. My spirits were quickly lifted by the ironing method: place a lint-free cloth over the stain and iron for a few seconds with a medium hot iron. I ran upstairs and grabbed the iron and a towel.

At first, it didn’t seem to do anything. Then I left the iron on a bit longer and it seemed to lighten the stain. I repeated this process several times until it was 95% better – not 100%, but way better than when I started.

This little trick made the fourth stage of grieving – acceptance – much easier.

When it comes to water stains on wood furniture, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But if you’re too late for prevention, try the iron trick.



2 thoughts on “Removing water stains from wood furniture and the four stages of grieving”

  • I must add a postscript to this one.

    In a recent mess-up, a water glass was left on a solid wood table overnight leaving a serious white ring. The iron trick didn’t work because the water had already dried.

    In this case, we rubbed shelled walnuts into the wood. The oil form the walnuts restored the wood colour and significantly lessened the discoloration form the water.

    It was almost as miraculous as the ironing trick.

    Try it.

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