I have had a solid oak worktop delivered and placed it on some sheets next to my radiator until ready to treat with Danish oil. Just about to start and it looks like the radiator has leaked and soaked the edge of the worktop

I have let it dry but it has left behind a dirty water stain all along the edge, I have tried using some fine sandpaper but it doesn't seem to do anything

Does anyone have any suggestions for removing this type of stain

picture of stain



Oxalic acid will remove the stain. Here is a link to the product. It is for showing you the container. It has very easy to use instructions on the container

  • Thanks, will this cause me any issues with lightening the wood? – Richlewis Jul 2 '16 at 19:37
  • That is the beauty of oxalic acid, it returns the wood back to its original color. But be advised, if the acid is not rinsed thoroughly it will leave a white haze – Jack Jul 2 '16 at 19:41
  • @Richlewis - The oxalic acid can indeed lighten up the wood in areas other than the stained areas. – Michael Karas Jul 2 '16 at 19:42
  • I have used it on raw Spanish cedar siding in areas of heavy water staining. It was not an issue. A&B bleach lightens – Jack Jul 2 '16 at 19:43
  • If there would be any concern, treat the stain first, then lightly coat the whole surface. Be sure to rinse completely – Jack Jul 2 '16 at 19:45

It may be very difficult to remove this. Wood and water are generally not good companions. On top of that oak is a very porous wood and the water and accompanying discoloration that it leaves behind may very well have penetrated down into the wood more than can be removed by a light sanding.

Note that staining like this very often happens at the boundary of how far the water got and the last place for it to dry.

Some recommendations for removing a water stain on unfinished wood consist of making a paste of salt (only 1 or 2 drops of water per teaspoon of salt). Apply the paste to the water stain and gently rub the paste into the water stain with a damp towel. After that wipe away the paste and look if the stain has been removed. It may be necessary to try this process several times.

There are other techniques that people have tried including water staining the whole surface to even out the marks, salt cleaning followed by a hot iron treatment, bleach, lemon juice......but you would have to take most of those with a grain of salt. (pun intended) You would just have to try and see if anything works.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.