I have a white mark on my wooden dining table that was caused by a potted plant sitting there for too long without a saucer. Attempts to clean it off have been futile because it seems not to be a mark on the surface, but a mark in the wood probably due to moisture.

I thought it would disappear by itself after a few days but it has remained for over a week now. Is there a tried and true method to remove such marks?

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  • It looks more like there is a varnish or another finish on that wood and what is damaged is the finish. Is it smooth, or can you feel the wood grain?
    – Steven
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 20:26
  • it is smooth. i guess it could also be damage in the varnish
    – wim
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 23:19

2 Answers 2


I have read that an iron can help lift those water marks off the table. If I remember correctly...

  1. Lay a dry cloth over the mark
  2. Heat the iron with the steam turned off
  3. Briefly iron the spot, gradually increasing the length of time you apply the heat

I haven't tried it myself, so try it at your own risk.

  • Glad it worked! It looked like you had some severe marks on there - did it remove it completely? Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 18:58
  • 1
    yes, it looks much better.
    – wim
    Commented Jul 7, 2012 at 3:36
  • 1
    I have done this in the past, and it works, the way it works is the original stain is often heat induced and traps moisture under the surface, heating allows the moisture to be removed and let the finish re-settle. Be sure to use a smooth, white, clean, lint free cloth, several layers think and check often as you work. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 13:19
  • 1
    I can confirm this works, just tried it. Also, for particularly stubborn white stains, you can use a quick burst of steam. This will turn the whole area around the stain slightly white, but this whiteness is easily removed with another application of the dry iron.
    – naught101
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 23:36

These will also buff out with gentle application of a 50/50 toothpaste/baking soda mixture.

  • I just tried the toothpaste on mine, it didn't work. Might depend on the type of toothpaste and/or the type of table finish?
    – naught101
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 23:05

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