How to Remove Water Stains etc. from Wood Furniture

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Photobucket(Subtitle:  How Little Miss Natural-Pants almost got stumped.)

I have three beautiful pieces of rosewood furniture I’m quite proud of.  High gloss, Chinese hand-carved chairs and an end table.  Sometimes I sit on my couch and look at my chairs without actually sitting in them.  I just like to look.  We bought them before children, back in the days when our house was the house our friends didn’t want to bring their kids to because nothing was childproof.

Then I had a son.  The house is now minimalist – breakables have been packed away, and there isn’t much to look at but my chairs.  My son noticed this too, and as he seems to have a growing appreciation for Asian craftsmanship, he hasn’t been able to leave these three pieces of furniture alone.  After rubbing his sticky hands across the finish of the end table time and again, and usually right after eating an apple, I noticed the finish was dulled.  Ruined.  Kaput.  I tried all the natural remedies I could conjure up, but to no avail.  I used all the nasty stuff people like me are supposed to ban from their house as unfit, but no dice.  The streaky finger work remained.  So I did what any self-respecting all-natural advice giver would do – I called my mom.

“Mom, I’ve tried everything but my table looks like a finger painting project.  Thank God he gets to inherit it and regret it all his life.”

“Did you try mayonnaise?”

“Mayonnaise?!? How come you never told me about mayonnaise? Am I not your daughter? Do you not pass on all your homey tips to me so I can treasure them, pass them down to future generations, and blog about them like I thought them up all by myself?”

I’ll be darned.  The mayonnaise took the stains right off the wood, and now I’m running around the house like a sandwich maker gone awry wiping mayonnaise on every distressed wooden surface in my house.  Yeah, it smells like a deli for an afternoon, but the woodwork is gleaming.  Even got rid of the ring marks SOMEONE ELSE left on the window ledges because I would never, oh would never, leave a glass of any sort of herbal tea sitting on a ledge for more than a day.  Or over-water a plant and let it leak on the wood.  No ma’am.  

But now I don’t care because I have mayonnaise.

Tip:  Make sure it’s natural mayonnaise, and not just because I’m funny that way.  Miracle Whip won’t help you.  Also, test a little piece of wood where no one will see just in case there’s some weird reaction.  So far I haven’t experienced it, but you can’t be too careful.

14 thoughts on “How to Remove Water Stains etc. from Wood Furniture

  1. Hi Lauren,

    I just used a small dollop – just enough to “oil” the tabletop. Then I buffed it out with a soft cloth. You don’t need much, really. Good luck!

  2. OK – I have to try this. I have the olive oil version. Hope that works. If not I am buying the fat laden normal variety.

  3. The topic you are selected for your post is so informative. This is very important to know all knowledge about the topic an you did it so nicely.

    Thanks for your tips!

  4. I have to say, I could not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my opinion, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template for your blog. Where have you got it from?

  5. I can’t wait to try this. With four kids we end up with water stains on everything. Our teak table holds up pretty well, but some of the antique stuff doesn’t do as well. My wife will be so happy if this works. I’ll let you know.

    Nursery Beddings last blog post..Disney’s Cars Quilt

  6. I tried this on light wood…I had a water stain where the water trickled down the side of the buffet. I tried mayonnaise, but now the mayonnaise left the area I treated darker than the surrounding wood. Now I’m trying to figure out if I have to do the whole piece (it’s big!) with mayonnaise to even out the color… I think the wood is very dry and just absorbed the oil. Any ideas how to even it out?

  7. “In listening to a concert, the music-lover experiences a joy qualitatively different from that experienced in listening to natural sounds, such as the murmur of a stream… Similarly [modern] painters provide … artistic sensations due exclusively to the harmony of lights and shades and independent of the subject depicted in the picture.”– Parisian art critic and poet Guillaume Apollinaire, On the Subject in Modern Painting, 1912.

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