How to Remove Rings from Furniture

Antique furniture is a treasure. Taking care of furniture you already own is good for the environment; fewer trees toppled to make new furniture, less used furniture thrown into land fills. Taking care of furniture you already own is good for your wallet; no need to purchase replacement tables. And perhaps taking care of antique furniture is important for sentimental reasons. In our house, we have family furniture that has been lovingly used and it shows. Whatever your situation, ensuring antique furniture maintains its beauty and longevity is a smart thing to do. Many tables are discarded due to stains or white rings on table top surfaces. Following are ways of removing stains and rings from furniture that have worked for us. These simple steps may extend the life, beauty and value of your furniture too.

Remove Rings from Furniture
  1. If WATER or damp heat caused a white ring on your table, place a soft, smooth cloth (no pattern weaves or colorful prints) over the spot and press a warm iron into the area. Keep the iron in motion and push the steam button for a few seconds at a time. Make sure the iron is not too hot or you may make the table top blemish worse. Continue gently steam ironing over the area in short bursts until the white water ring has faded from your table.

  2. If ALCOHOL was the culprit of a white ring on your table, it's important to act quickly. Lightly moisten a soft cloth with ammonia and wipe the damaged area gently. Continue wiping the table top with your ammonia dampened rag as the alcohol ring gradually disappears from your table surface.

  3. If you have NO IDEA what caused the ring or stain on your table and if the methods suggested above don't work, try a household abrasive and a lubricant. Using about a 50/50 ratio, combine the abrasive and lubricant into a loose paste. (See tips for a list of common household abrasives and lubricants). Generously slather the paste over the damaged area and softly rub the ring on the table, moving with the grain of the wood. Cover the area with a soft cloth. Allow ample time for the lubricant to penetrate the table surface. This could take from 5 - 10 hours depending on the age and severity of the table top stain. Once the table stain has lifted and you are satisfied with the results, clean the table top thoroughly. Polish the furniture and it should provide many more years of enjoyment.


  • These techniques work best on furniture that has been stained or waxed
  • Start each of these methods slowly and proceed cautiously

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