How to Remove Water Marks from a Wood Table

Whether it was caused from an unnoticed spill or a forgotten coaster, finding a water mark on your favorite wood table can be disheartening. Your first thought may be to grab a scarf from the scrap box with which to cover it, or to head to the market and buy a costly, chemical-filled product that may or may not work. Before trying either of those alternatives, take a minute to look in your cupboard. Chances are, you will have the ingredients for a homemade water mark remover at your fingertips.

Save the last squeeze for removing water marks.
  1. Dab a small amount of toothpaste -- not gel -- on a clean, damp cloth. Rub the toothpaste into the water mark in a circular motion until the water mark is gone. Wipe the toothpaste from your table with an unused portion of the cloth. Allow the treatment to dry completely, and repeat if needed.

  2. Cover the water mark with a thick cotton cloth. Press a dry iron, set at medium heat, on the cloth for a few seconds. Lift up the cloth and check the water mark. Repeat as needed, pressing only a few seconds at a time.

  3. Mix equal amounts of cooking oil and salt to make a paste. Rub the paste onto the water mark with a clean cloth. Wipe the table clean with a slightly damp cloth when the water mark is gone.

  4. Combine a spoonful of cooking oil with a spoonful of ash for a paste. Rub the paste into the water mark, and wipe it off with a clean cloth.


  • Consult with a restoration expert before using a chemical or homemade cleaner on fine antique furniture.

About the Author

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.