Water stain on my coffee table
May 20, 2006 12:31 PM   Subscribe

A white, circular discoloration has appeared on my oak coffee table. It was probably caused by condensation on a vase. Is there anyway to remove this stain without refinishing the entire table top?
posted by partner to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A white stain normally means just the finish is affected, a dark stain means the water reached the wood. The white ones are easier to remove, but can't always be perfectly hidden.
Maybe this advice would work for you.

By the way, condensation is one possibility, but many ceramic vases actually slowly leak through the bottom - you can coat any bare (unglazed) areas on the bottom with epoxy glue to stop that. If the vase is glass, probably not an issue!
posted by Rumple at 12:45 PM on May 20, 2006

First, why not try something like the magic eraser, or similar from other brands? I used it on a wood table top (not oak, don't even know what wood it is, very cheap stuff) and it did get rid of old stains from spilt coffee/milk whatever it was. Not abrasive so there's no risk and if it doesn't work you'll only waste a couple of dollars at most.
posted by funambulist at 12:51 PM on May 20, 2006

Mayonnaise, leave it on over night.
posted by hooray at 1:55 PM on May 20, 2006

I've actually had this problem a few times....I gave it a few days each time, and it went away.

Actually, I may have covered it with a magazine to hide it, so...
posted by nevercalm at 5:06 PM on May 20, 2006

Vaseline, left on overnight, works wonders.
posted by arha at 7:47 PM on May 20, 2006

water stain...tooth paste or something with a LIGHT abrasive action.

Had a slightly damp washcloth left on the top of a stained wooden surface once and this did the trick of removing the discoloration. Also, you could add a bit of baking soda, but I would give the toothpaste a try first.
posted by NoMich at 12:23 PM on May 21, 2006

From Sal Marino's Woodworking Page, Removing Water Marks and Rings:
Most white marks or rings on furniture are usually left by water or moisture penetrating through the protective finish (varnish, shellac, lacquer etc.) and then getting trapped below the finish. When this happens the finish in that area appears white and looses its transparency.

This usually appears in the shape of a ring and happens on a surface like a tabletop. The ring shaped mark happens because it is usually left by a wet drinking glass or hot cup under which moisture condenses (builds up) on the protective finish that has been applied to the piece of furniture. This usually happens on older pieces where the finish has started to crack or craze. The moisture will seep through the small cracks in the finish.

There are a few methods you can use to remove water marks, and I will list them one by one.
Details at his link. Also check out the repair tips at RJ Fine Woodworking (mayo, among them) and The Woodworks, Inc.
posted by cenoxo at 8:03 PM on May 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

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