How to Fix White Spots on Wood Table

Are you tired of annoying white spots on your beautiful wooden table? These mysterious spots can be a real eyesore and ruin the look of your furniture. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with some easy solutions to fix those white spots and restore the beauty of your wood table.

Discovering white spots on your cherished wood table can be disheartening; however, these blemishes do not signify the end of your furniture’s aesthetic appeal.

How to Fix White Spots on Wood Table

Often caused by moisture trapped under the finish, these marks can fortunately be addressed with some DIY solutions. This guide will walk you through the process of how to fix white spots on wood table.

Whether you’re dealing with a recent spill or an old heirloom showing its age, the upcoming steps are designed to help you fix those imperfections with ease and confidence.

What are the Causes of White Spots on Wood Table?

Before we dive into the solutions, it’s essential to understand the root cause of those pesky white spots. Knowing what causes them will help you prevent future occurrences and take better care of your wooden furniture.

  1. Heat: Placing hot dishes or pots directly on your wood table can create white marks as the heat draws moisture from the finish.
  2. Water: Leaving wet glasses or mugs on the table can also cause white spots as the water seeps into the finish.
  3. Chemicals: Cleaning products containing harsh chemicals can damage the finish and leave behind white marks.
  4. Sunlight: Direct exposure to sunlight can cause fading and discoloration, leading to white spots on stained wood.

These are the most common causes of white spots on wood tables, but other factors could also be involved. Now that you know what can cause them, let’s move on to how to fix them.

What Will You Need?

To begin with, you’ll need the following:

  1. Clean cloth
  2. Olive oil or mayonnaise
  3. Baking soda
  4. Toothpaste (non-gel)
  5. Fine-grit sandpaper
  6. Wood stain or finish
  7. Varnish or wax (optional)

Ensure these items are on hand before you start the repair process.

10 Easy Steps on How to Fix White Spots on Wood Table

Step 1. Identify the Affected Area:

Begin by thoroughly inspecting your wood table to understand the extent of the white spot damage. This will help you to focus your restoration efforts more effectively. As a general rule, the larger and deeper the spot, the more time and effort will be required to fix it.

The White Spot Damage

Step 2. Clean the Surface

Before attempting any repair, starting with a clean surface is crucial. Use a clean, damp cloth to gently wipe around the spots, removing any dust, dirt, or residue. This step ensures that you work on a clean surface and avoid pushing any particles deeper into the wood pores.

After cleaning, allow the table to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This preparation is key for the effectiveness of subsequent treatments and for achieving the best possible outcome in restoring your wood table’s appearance.

Step 3. Apply Olive Oil or Mayonnaise

Using either olive oil or mayonnaise can be an effective method for treating white spots on wood tables. These household items are often recommended due to their ability to penetrate the finish and moisturize the wood beneath, helping to lift the moisture causing the white spots.

Apply a generous amount of olive oil or mayonnaise directly onto the affected area, then cover it with a cloth overnight. The next day, wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. This method can sometimes remove or significantly reduce the appearance of white spots.

Step 4. Create a Mild Abrasive Paste

If the white spots persist after trying olive oil or mayonnaise, it’s time to gently buff the area. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to create a paste with a mild abrasive texture. Apply this paste onto the white spots and gently rub it in a circular motion using a soft cloth.

This method can help to remove the white spots by gently abrading the top layer of the finish where the moisture is trapped. Be careful not to use too much force to avoid damaging the wood’s finish. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.

Where the Moisture is Trapped

Step 5. Use Toothpaste

If the mild abrasive paste does not fully remove the white spots, toothpaste can be another option. Opt for a non-gel white toothpaste. Apply a small amount directly on the spots and gently rub it using a soft cloth or your finger.

The mild abrasive properties of toothpaste can help to diminish the white spots without harming the finish of your wood table. After rubbing, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth and dry it thoroughly. Remember, the goal is to be gentle to protect the wood’s integrity.

Step 6. Sand the Area

If the white spots are still visible after trying the above remedies, you may need to resort to sanding. Using fine-grit sandpaper, lightly sand the affected area. Be sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid causing any unnecessary scratches or damage to the surface.

This step should help to remove the top layer of the finish, along with the white spots.

However, sanding will remove the protective finish of the table, so you will need to apply a new coat of wood stain or finish to protect the sanded area and match its appearance to the rest of the table. Proceed with caution and patience to ensure the best results.

Step 7. Apply Wood Stain or Finish

After sanding and successfully removing the white spots, you’ll need to restore the area to match the rest of the table. Select a wood stain or finish that closely matches your table’s original color and finish.

Apply a thin, even coat using a soft brush or clean cloth, working along the grain of the wood. Allow it to dry thoroughly according to the product’s instructions.

Successfully Removing the White Spots

Apply a second coat to achieve the desired color and opacity if necessary. This step not only enhances the appearance of your table but also serves to protect the wood, ensuring that your furniture remains beautiful and durable for years to come. Remember, patience is key during this process to achieve a professional-looking finish.

Step 8. Seal with Varnish or Wax (Optional)

For an added layer of protection and to give your table a polished finish, consider applying a layer of varnish or wax. Choose a product that is compatible with the wood stain or finish you’ve used. Apply a thin, even layer over the entire table surface, focusing particularly on the area you’ve repaired.

Use a clean, soft cloth or a brush to apply the sealant, following the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times. This step not only seals the wood, protecting it from future damage but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your table, giving it a fresh, new look.

Step 9. Buff the Surface for Smoothness

After fully dries the sealant, the final step is to buff the surface to ensure a smooth, even finish. Using a clean soft buffing cloth, gently rub the table in circular motions. Focus particularly on the area where repairs were made, making certain there’s a seamless transition between the repaired spot and the surrounding wood.

Using a Clean Soft Buffing Cloth

This action not only smooths out any minor imperfections but also enhances the shine and depth of the table’s finish. Your wood table should now look revitalized, with the white spots effectively removed and the surface protected for future use.

Step 10. Maintaining Your Wood Table

After successfully treating and restoring your wood table, maintaining its appearance and integrity becomes your next priority. Regular cleaning with a soft, damp cloth will help remove dust and prevent buildup without damaging the wood’s surface or finish.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that might strip the wood of its natural oils or damage the finish. Further, protect your table from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent warping and fading. Coasters, placemats, and tablecloths can also protect the surface from spills, scratches, and heat damage.

By following these steps and taking proper care of your wood table, you can ensure its longevity and beauty for years to come.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Ironing: Place a thin cotton cloth over the affected area and gently iron on a low heat setting. The heat helps to evaporate the moisture trapped beneath the surface. Move the iron constantly, and do not apply too much pressure to avoid further damage.
  2. Commercial Products: There are products specifically designed to remove white spots from wood furniture. These can be effective and are formulated to minimize risk to your furniture. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  3. Preventive Measures: To prevent white spots in the future, always use coasters under glasses and hot pads under hot dishes. Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight or near heating sources, as this can exacerbate the problem. Regularly polish your wood furniture with a silicone-free polish to maintain its moisture level and protect the finish.
  4. Professional Refinishing: If all else fails, or if the damage is too severe, it may be necessary to seek the help of a professional furniture refinisher. They have the expertise and tools to remove white spots without damaging your furniture further.
  5. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a natural acid that can help to dissolve and remove white spots from wood furniture. Mix lemon juice and olive oil equal parts and apply them to the affected area with a soft cloth. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth. Repeat if necessary, but be careful not to leave the mixture on for too long as it can strip the finish of your furniture.
Regularly Polish Your Wood Furniture

With these additional tips and tricks, you can confidently address white spots on your wood furniture.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals: When trying to fix white spots on a wood table, avoid strong chemicals like bleach or ammonia-based cleaners. These substances can further damage the wood’s finish and exacerbate the issue.  
  2. Do Not Over-Sand the Affected Area: While sanding might seem like a quick fix, excessive sanding can remove more of the finish than desired and potentially harm the wood underneath. It’s important to sand gently and sparingly.
  3. Refrain from Using Heat Directly: Some may suggest using a hairdryer or iron to remove white spots. However, applying heat directly can cause the wood to warp or crack, leading to more significant damage.  
  4. Avoid Immediate Heavy Re-finishing: Jumping straight into heavy re-finishing work can often do more harm than good. Start with gentler methods to resolve the issue before considering complete re-finishing. 
  5. Do Not Ignore the Surrounding Area: Focusing solely on the white spot without considering the health of the entire table can lead to uneven finishes or color mismatches. Treating the table as a whole is essential to maintain its beauty and integrity.
Using a Hairdryer

By following these simple tips, you can effectively avoid causing further damage to your wood furniture and preserve its natural beauty. Remember to always research and seek professional advice before attempting any DIY fixes on valuable pieces. It’s better to be cautious than regretful in the end.

Are Water Stains on Wood Permanent?

Water stains on wood may seem daunting, but they are temporary. The severity of the stain and how quickly it is addressed can greatly impact the possibility of removing it completely. Here are a few things to consider when dealing with water stains on wood:

  • Age of the Stain: If the stain is relatively new, there is a higher chance of successfully removing it. Older stains that have had time to set in and penetrate the wood may be more challenging to eliminate completely.
  • Type of Wood: The type of wood can also affect how permanent a water stain may be. Some woods, such as pine or cedar, are more porous and prone to staining, while others, like hardwoods, can better resist water damage.
  • Depth of the Stain: If the water stain is only on the surface of the finish and has not yet penetrated into the wood, it may be easier to remove. However, if it has seeped into the wood fibers, it will require more extensive treatment.

Ultimately, various methods and products are available for removing water stains on wood. It’s best to research and test different approaches before committing to one, as each stain and type of wood may require a unique solution. Remember to always take caution and carefully handle your wood furniture to prevent future water stains. 

The key is addressing the issue promptly and properly, which can significantly increase the chances of successfully removing the stain. With patience and diligence, you can restore your wood furniture to its original beauty.  So, don’t give up hope – water stains on wood may not be permanent after all! 

How Do You Remove White Water Stains From Wood With Iron?

While using an iron to remove white water stains from wood is a common DIY fix, it’s essential to approach this method carefully and with caution. Here’s how you can effectively use an iron to remove water stains from wood:

After a Few Passes With the Iron
  1. Gather Materials: You will need an iron (set on low heat), a clean cloth, and some mild detergent or vinegar.
  2. Prep the Area: Lay the clean cloth over the affected area and gently run an iron (set on low heat) over it for a few seconds, making sure to keep it moving to avoid any damage.
  3. Check Progress: After a few passes with the iron, check if there has been any improvement in removing the stain. If not, try adding a small amount of mild detergent or vinegar to the cloth and repeating the process.
  4. Avoid Excessive Heat: It’s crucial to avoid using excessive heat as it can damage the wood’s finish or warp the wood itself.
  5. Repeat if Necessary: If the condition still does not improve, you can try repeating the process multiple times, but always monitor the progress to avoid causing further damage.

It’s important to note that this method may not work for every type of wood or water stain. It’s always best to research and test on a small, inconspicuous area first before attempting it on the affected spot. If in doubt, it’s always advisable to seek professional help or try alternative methods to better suit your situation.


In conclusion, how to fix white spots on wood table requires a gentle and cautious approach. From avoiding harsh chemicals and excessive sanding to using an iron with care, it’s essential to prioritize the preservation of the wood’s integrity and appearance.

Whether attempting DIY fixes or seeking professional advice, the key is to act promptly and select the most appropriate method for your specific situation.

With patience and careful attention, you can often restore your wood table’s natural beauty and extend its lifespan, making those unsightly white spots a thing of the past.

Remember, each piece of wood furniture is unique, and what works for one may not work for another, so always proceed with caution and consider all your options before taking action.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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