Removing stains from your real wood Farmhouse table

Your dining table is a high traffic zone.  It’s the spot where the kids do their homework,  the family plays board games (and UNO), and friends and family spend time socializing.  And of course, it’s where tens of thousands of meals and snacks are eaten over its lifetime.

All this usage will boost the odds you’ll eventually have a stain, water ring, or burn mark to deal with. What are you going to do, replace your table every time it gets a stain?  Of course not.

Well now there’s no need to worry when you accidentally put a hot plate or sweaty glass down on your real wood table.  Below you’ll find a collection of tried and true ways to restore your table to its original awesomeness, even if the stains have been there for a while.

Let’s get started…

First, Try Baking Soda

Baking soda has been an effective all around stain remover for many decades, and should be the first thing you use when addressing burn marks and water rings on your solid wood table.

Make a thick paste by mixing the baking soda with water and then liberally rub it over the marks. The paste should not be too watery since this itself can lead to a water stain.

The grittiness of the baking soda will help remove the stain while leaving your table sparkling clean in the process.

Water and Vinegar

If there’s a greasy spot you just can’t clean up by wiping, make a 50-50 mix of water and vinegar. Start with a small amount on a nice soft cloth, but use the amount needed to get the job done.

Don’t forget to dry well, or risk having to deal with a water stain next.

White Cloth and Iron

You might think that re-applying heat to an area which already has a burn mark will only make matters worse.

Well, here’s the trick.

By spreading several layers of cloth over the heat spot and then moving a medium heated iron over it in 15 minutes intervals, you will gradually get rid of the spot. Be sure to regularly remove the cloths and wipe any existing moisture as you work through the process.

NOTE: This method should not be used if your farmhouse table has a shellac finish.

Hair Dryer

If you spill water on your Farmhouse table and it leads to a stain, blow-drying the water rings can be an effective way to get rid of them without leaving a mark. Be sure to make slow passes over the affected spot until it completely disappears. On average, this can take between 15 and 20 minutes depending on the amount, severity, and age of the spill.


Toothpaste is for more than just making your teeth pearly white.  For stain removal, apply gentle pressure to the watermarks, allowing it to penetrate the surface. Then, simply wipe it off gently, repeating the process over again until the spot is entirely gone. As a bonus, your table will have fresh breath and no cavities!

P.S. Here are 43 other ways to use  toothpaste.


How about this slogan- Mayonnaise! Not just for sandwiches anymore! OK, maybe not.

There may come a time when you have to deal with a water stain you didn’t notice right away, rendering other techniques ineffective when it comes to removing them from your table.  Don’t give up all hope yet.  You’ll be surprised at how well mayonnaise works. Apply the mayo on the stain and give it time to penetrate through the affected spot.  Usually 30-45 minutes will do, but you can leave it on for a few hours if you wish.  Then, simply wipe it off and give the table a good polish.

Olive Oil and Salt

If your table is watching it’s cholesterol, an alternative to using mayonnaise to remedy burns and water spots is by making a thick paste of olive oil and salt and spreading it over the stain.  As with mayonnaise, give it a good 30 minutes minimum to penetrate the wood before removing it with a soft cloth.

Steel Wool and Paste Wax

Laying hot objects on top of furniture can lead to disfiguring marks and dull spots on an otherwise bright and shiny table. If these marks are deep and appear permanent, you could try to scrub them out using paste wax and steel wool. This needs to be done gently, or you’ll risk causing further damage to your table.  NOTE: This is a last resort and should only be done after more moderate methods have failed.

A Few Final Things To Consider

Stains and water marks on your farmhouse table may be unavoidable, but you don’t have to live with them. With some household items and a small amount of effort you can remove the stains and have your table looking its best in no time.

Of course, the best way to remove stains and water marks is to not get them in the first place.  Be mindful when placing glasses down to always use a coaster, and when putting hot dishes from the oven or microwave on your table be sure to use a trivet, oven mitt, or pot holder.

The second best way, at least for spills is to wipe it away as quickly as possible.  Many times if caught soon enough, it won’t have a chance to set in.

One last thing. Stains and burn marks can add personality and tell a story about your table.  You may not want to remove them at all, but rather welcome the added character and distinctiveness they bring with them.

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