How to Remove Water Stains From Wood?

How to Remove Water Stains From Wood?

Wood is a great material for house siding, decks, outdoor furniture, indoor furniture, or fences; the wood tends to hold well against weathering if maintained properly. Water spots or water stains on the wood are very common; cold glasses, hot dishes, or spills can cause stains or water rings on wood. Fortunately, these are not always permanent.

Applying water or oil-based wood sealers in advance and regular sealing works to prevent water staining. Do you want to know how to remove old water stains from wood? This guide will help you to remove water stains from wood, whether it’s old or new, light or dark. You need to follow the directions carefully because a slight mistake can damage the heirloom.

Safety Considerations

Unpainted wood is usually pre-treated with wood preservatives. A new wood preservative is better and less toxic than old wood preservatives. Pesticides and fungicides are harmful to health; therefore, precaution should be taken. Oxalic acid, wood bleach/ household bleach is caustic; therefore, protection is important when you work with these materials.

How to remove water stains from wooden table / how to remove water stains from furniture?

Things You’ll Need:-

The tools and materials mentioned below can be obtained easily and are also inexpensive except for the pressure washer. Depending on the situation and type of stain, you need to buy the select number of materials from the list.


  • Household clothes iron
  • Garden hose 
  • nozzle
  • White, Clean, dry cotton cloth
  • Pressure washer
  • Clean bucket
  • Stiff synthetic bristle brush
  • Dense sponge
  • Random orbital sander
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Fine grit (#220) sandpaper
  • Eye protection


  • Household bleach
  • Deck cleaning solution
  • Concentrated oxalic acid wood bleach

How to Remove White Water Stains from wood

Light or white rings on the wooden table are generally caused by wet glasses that remove the color of the protective sealant on top of the wood.

  • Drain the water out from the iron.
  • Turn on the dry setting of the iron (or no steam) mode and let the iron heat up on its lowest level.
  • Lay a white, clean, and dry cotton cloth over the stained wood area. Avoid using dyed fabric; the color may transfer to the wood.
  • Move the iron over the cotton cloth a few times.
  • List the cloth in between to check the progress. Use different sections of the cloth every single time you put it back over the stain.

How to Remove Water Stains from Wood Decks?

Water stains get accentuated on the wood deck because of dirt in the water.

When dirty water gets collected and dries up, it leaves behind dark bordered stains. Wood decks require hand scrubbing and pressure washing.


  • Use a pressure washer to lightly spray the water down the deck on a wide spray.
  • Apply a deck cleaning solution to remove the deck stains. 
  • Then scrub the stained area with a synthetic brush on the wood deck and move beyond a couple of feet.
  • Then thoroughly rinse off the dirt and cleaning solution with the help of pressure washer on a wide spray.

How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood?

For very dark and stubborn tannins or black water, stains use oxalic acid, a power bleaching concentrate. Wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.

  • Dissolve oxalic acid concentrate in hot water in a bucket, or as instructed on the label.
  • Apply this hot solution on the stained area of wood using a scrub brush.
  • The solution should stay hot to work effectively, and when needed, reapply the solution until the wood has been bleached to the desired result.
  • Rinse the wood with clean water and let it air dry.

How to Remove Water Stains With Sanding?

If you can sand the wood and the stain has not penetrated too deep, you may be able to get it out.

  • Fit in a random orbital sander with the sanding disk.
  • Test the sanding on one side of the stained area to see if the light sanding is able to remove it. If it works, continue doing it.
  • Move the random orbital sanger in wide sweeping passes. Do not put too much pressure on the sander.
  • Occasionally vacuum or sweep off the wood dust to check the progress on removing the stain.

How to Remove Dark Water Stains using a Bleach Solution?

It is difficult to remove dark water stains from the wood. Fortunately, by bleaching wood gently with the household bleach mixture, you may be successful in removing troublesome stains. Always remember to wear waterproof gloves when using this method because bleach is a caustic agent.

  • Apply the solution lightly to the stained area on wood using a dense sponge. Do not drench the sponge.
  • Let the bleached wood dry completely.
  • Check the results. If you need a stronger solution, then mix 75 percent bleah and 25 percent water and then reapply this solution over the stain.

How to Remove Water Stains on Siding?

Wood siding water stains are caused by dirt that gets collected from wet soil or dirty water puddles. The prime location that attracts this kind of stain is the bottom area of cedar or the exterior of wood house siding that comes in contact with soil. Washing the wood to clear the embedded soil will work fine to clean it.

  • With the help of shovel or spade, clear the 12 inches of soil downward from the bottom area of the sliding.
  • With a nozzle and a garden hose, spray a small area of the stained area moving from the top-down direction. If you need an extra source, gently spray sliding with the help of a pressure washer.
  • If the cleaning proves to be successful, continue doing the rest of the siding.

 Maintain your wood furniture regularly 

After successful banishing of the ugly water stains and make your furniture look their best longer, you need to maintain them properly and regularly. It is recommended to dust your wooden furniture using dry and soft alcohol. 

You can use citrus oil like Howard’s Orange oil; to clean the wood. There are many products that help in preventing the wood from drying out and also add shine and luster to the wood.

The product should not be used very frequently because excessive usage can cause a buildup of unwanted dust, dirt, and oil.

Tips to Remove Water Stains From Wood

To remove water stains, it requires science as well as patience, trial and error, and flexibility. To prevent ruining the wood while using the potential fix, you must always experiment on a small area before trying that method on the entire wood and working on that stain.

You should know the source of water stains to effectively remove them from the wood. The water is clear in color; it is the presence of other materials that are the source of the stain. Wood tannins get activated by the water and can cause dark and deep stains.

Water can cause mildew or mold. Water also carries dirt inside the wood pores and crevices that can cause dark stains. White stains are the result of alkaline-rich mineral deposits in the hard water.

Some factors to consider if the methods do not work:-

There are various factors that affect how well the cleaning method works on water stains on wood. For example, what kind of wood is the furniture made from, is it hardwood like rosewood and oak or soft pine wood. The cleaning method also depends on the thickness and finish and what all substance was used to create that, like polyurethane, shellac, and lacquers.

When to Call a Wood Cleaning Professional?

Most methods that are used to remove water stains from the wood are very simple, basic and does not require professional assistance. If you plan on using a pressure washer, they can gauge the wood because they are powerful. If you think that the stain is not being removed by using basic methods, call a professional to help.


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