Tips for removing 6 common Stains in Wood

Farm House Kitchen
Farm House Kitchen

How to remove 6 common stains from wood furniture

Many of the finishes on our furniture does protect the wooden surface from damage by offering a protective coating. However, when you expose your wooden surface to stains, they can decolorize it and damage it if you do not act as fast possible in removing the stains. By removing the stains you can save the color of your furniture and enhance the natural beauty of the surface.

There are so many stains which can damage your wooden surface some of them are oil stain, paint stain, permanent marker stain, red wine stain, coffee stain, and water stain. If you wish to know on how you can remove the above stains your wooden surface then you should read the guide below.

Precautions when removing stains from wood

When removing any of the above stains with chemicals, it is important to wear protective gear such as chemical resistant gloves and safety goggles. Wear closed toe shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. By doing this, you can prevent any stain from getting into direct contact with your skin.

You should also read the instructions written by the manufacturers about the stain removers.

White ring stain caused by moisture (heat stain)

1. How to remove water stain from wood

Using a hairdryer

Just put it at its lowest setting before you direct it at the water stain. Make sure that you only move the dryer around the mark so that there is not direct heat onto the wooden surface as it can overheat and damage it.

Petroleum jelly

Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly into a soft, clean piece of cloth and use it in rubbing around the water stain in a circular manner. In case the stain still exists, you can try to apply more petroleum jelly product and allow it to stay there for around 1-2 hours before rubbing the surface so that you can remove the stain.


If you have a stain as a result of a water stain, then you can use toothpaste. However, before you use it, you must ensure that you are using a plain white toothpaste and avoid using colored one or one which is made of whitening chemicals.

Gently squeeze some toothpaste onto a clean piece of cloth and rub it gently into the water stains. Dip another piece of cloth into the water so that you can use it in wiping your wooden surface to remove the stains and toothpaste.

Steel wool

When it comes to removing water stains using steel wool, then you must use one with the finest grade so that can avoid scratching your table. Dip the steel wool into lemon oil and start rubbing it gently over the affected area. Be careful as you are doing this so that you do not damage your wooden surface finish.

Red Wine

2.  How to remove a red wine stain in the wood

It’s possible that you accidentally spill a glass of red wine while you are at home sitting quietly of holding a party. However, if this wine happens to land on your hardwood table or flooring it can easily soak into thereby having a permanent mark on your wood. Fresh red wine will be much easier to remove compared to a stain which has been there for a longer period of time. If you wish to remove the red wine stain then you should follow the methods below.


In case the red wine has not dried fully, then you can use your kitchen faucet to dampen an absorbent cloth or paper towel. Blot up this wine by pressing the damp towel directly onto the stain without wiping it.

Oil-soap solution

In case the wood has been stained mildly, then you can use an oil soap solution in removing it. Just mix about 60ml of oil soap with 3.8 liters of hot water. After you have mixed this solution just dip a dry and soft cloth onto the mixture. Make sure you wring this cloth so that it becomes slightly wet before you can use it in scrubbing the wood which has a red wine stain. After scrubbing the stain, rinse the area with warm and dry it using another clean damp cloth.

Using a vinegar solution

Just mix an equal amount of water and vinegar solution. Mix enough solution which can cover the stained area. Soak a clean cloth into the mixture, but in this, you should not wring it since the solution is expected to seep into the wood for you to be able to remove the stain. Place the cloth over the red wine stain such that it starts to lift. After the stain lifting, you can use a clean rag in scrubbing the stain until you completely remove it.

Coffee Stains happen

3. How to remove a coffee stain in the wood

When you accidentally spill coffee wood but you are able to wipe it immediately, you are likely not going to leave ant stain. However, if you allow it to soak into the wood, it can leave a tough stain which may be difficult to remove.

To remove a coffee stain from wood just use the procedure below.

Things which you require:

  • One tablespoon of a wood polish
  • A clean buffing cloth. Absorbent clean cloths or paper towels.
  • One tablespoon of white vinegar
  • Water
  • ½ teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent.

The procedure of removing the coffee stain

  • First, you will be required to take a paper absorbent paper towel and dip it into the ½ teaspoon of liquid detergent and water so as to moisten them. Use the wet paper towels in wiping off the stain from the wooden surface. This method is very useful when it comes to fresh coffee stains.
  • Wipe the stain carefully using the towel and try the blot the stained area using another clean paper towel.
  • Next, you will be required to treat the coffee stain which might be remained by making sure that you use a stronger cleaning agent. In this case, the agent is white vinegar.
  • Pour one tablespoon of white vinegar onto the coffee stain and leave it to settle there for about 1 minute. Using a clean towel to wipe away the vinegar. Allow the wood to dry.
  • If your wooden surface has been discolored by the coffee stain, then you can easily restore its natural shine by using a wood polish.
  • Just pour one teaspoon of wood polish onto a clean cloth and rub your surface using this cloth. Allow it to dry before rubbing again using a clean cloth.

4. How to remove an oil stain in the wood

Since wood is very porous it’s able to absorb oil quickly, thereby leaving a nasty stain. However, there are so many ways on how you can remove the oil stain, the guide below can give you what you can do.

Things which you need

  • Baking soda
  • Dish liquid
  • An iron
  • Thick brown paper
  • Mineral spirits
  • A scrub brush
  • Bowl

Steps for removing an oil stain from wood

  • You can start by pouring an absorbent powder probably baking soda over the oil stain until it is about 0.25 inches thick.
  • Allow the stain to stay there for about 6 hours.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner in removing the stain from the wooden surface. In case the stain has not been removed completely, just repeat the procedure as the many times until you completely remove it.
  • If the above procedure does not seem to be successful, juts ray a piece of thick brown paper over the oil stain.
  • Set the iron at its lowest setting, so that you can start rubbing it slowly over the thick brown paper. When the oil is exposed to cool temperatures they can solidify and by doing this it can liquefy them. Just allow the paper to soak them and in case the paper becomes saturated you can replace it with a new one.
  • After doing this, you can repeat step i-iii
  • In case there are stains which have remained, then you a mix some dish liquid with water and swish it on your hand so as to create suds.
  • Scoop the surface using these suds. Use a dry cloth so as to remove oil residue and soap.
  • In case the oil stain is still stubborn, then you also try using mineral spirits so as to loosen the stain.

5. How to remove a paint stain in the wood

When you are remodeling or painting the interior of your home, some drops of paint are likely to spill onto your wooden surface. The best thing you can do in this is to try removing the paint immediately since if you leave it longer it can seep deep into the wooden surface, making it harder for you to remove it. You can use paint thinner and water in removing the stain.

You must first determine, the kind of paint stain you want to remove. Pain stain which is water based can be best removed with a clean towel and warm water. If it’s paint which is oil-based it will require you to use a paint thinner.

Apply a paint thinner on the stained area in a sparing manner so as to prevent removing the wooden finish.

Using a heat gun:

In case you have a heat gun, then you can point it close to the pain stain so that it softens it. After that, you can try to scratch the paint layers using your putty knife. Use a damp cloth to wipe the stained area. In case this method does not work, then you can try to use a Goo Goo painter’s pal. Just apply directly this product to the paint stain.

Using mineral spirits:

Oil-based paint can continue to cling onto your wooden surface if you use plain water in wiping it away. Just dip a clean, soft cloth into the mineral spirit and use it in wiping the stain. Repeat this process until all the paint stain has been removed.

Using boiled linseed oil:

If the paint spills have dried up you can soften them by soaking a clean cloth into boiled linseed oil and rubbing it over the stain.

6. How to remove permanent marker from wood

Nail polish remover

  • Pour a nail polish remover onto the permanent marker stain.
  • Scrub the permanent stain using a towel and you will realize that it will start to lift u slowly.


Another is using a regular toothpaste by applying it directly onto the stain.

Toothpaste can offer you so many cleaning features apart from those of oral hygiene. If you have a stain as a result of a permanent marker, then you can use toothpaste.

However, before you use it, you must ensure that you are using a plain white toothpaste and avoid using colored one or one which is made of whitening chemicals.

Gently squeeze some toothpaste onto a clean piece of cloth and rub it gently into the stains. Dip another piece of cloth into the water so that you can use it in wiping your wooden surface to remove the stains and toothpaste.

Penetrating oil

This kind of oil has low viscosity and that is why it’s mainly used in loosening rusty bolts and nuts. If you are able to use it well, it can lift the permanent marker stains. Just apply this oil directly onto the stains on your wooden surface and leave it to stay there for a few minutes. Use a clean piece of cloth to wipe off your surface so as to remove the stains.

Melamine foam erasers

Normally the melamine foam erasers are used in removing scuff marks from painted surfaces, vinyl, tile, and wood. These erasers can be used in wood surfaces in lightening or completely removing the permanent marker stains.

Isopropyl alcohol

Dip a clean piece of cloth into alcohol and gently wipe over the affected areas so that you can remove the permanent marks. Avoid pouring alcohol directly onto the wood surface or saturating the wood as this can damage it more.

As you can see there are many different approaches to removing many of the common everyday stains from your wood furniture.  Some many work better depending on the type of stain that you have on your wood furniture. 

Whenever attempting to remove any stain it is important to try the method on a concealed area to test as you do not want to cause permanent damage to the wood finish.  I hope that this information has helped you with your project.