How To Remove Heat Stains From Wood

Heat marks are one of those small annoyances that can really get you down. It is just a little patch of discoloration on a piece of furniture. But you can’t help to see it every time you use it. You see the ring on your desk where you were careless or on the coffee table where your guests weren’t so courteous with their coffee mugs. Thankfully, you don’t have to put up with these unsightly marks. You can learn how to remove heat stains from wood and improve the appearance of your furniture. Let me show you how.

Can You Remove Heat Stains from Wood?

The short answer here is yes. With the right materials – typically items around the house – you can learn how to remove white heat stains from wood and improve their appearance. There are different solutions used by homeowners that work, from food items like lemon and mayonnaise to toothpaste and baking soda. Some even use an iron.

What Are Heat Stains on Wood?

First of all, it helps to know exactly what we are dealing with here. Heat stains on wooden furniture occur when we leave a hot object on the wooden surface for too long. It could be something as simple as a cup of coffee – a common culprit for white rings on wood. The hot base of the mug reacts with the wood to open up the pores in the permeable surface. Moisture from condensation then gets inside. This is then left behind when the wood cools down and contracts, leaving the stain behind.

Do Heat Stains Go Away in Time?

You may hope that the stains on the wood will fade with time as the wood dries out and repairs itself. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. In fact, there are times when the stains can turn black because of further damage through rot or oxidation. That is why it helps to try and treat the stain before it gets any worse.

How Can You Treat Heat Stains on Wooden Furniture?

Depending on the severity of the issue, there are a few different options you can try. Extreme cases of black heat stains and damage may require more drastic action of sanding down the wood and applying a new finish. Less severe white stains may lift with one of the following solutions instead.

4 Brilliant Homemade Remedies for Heat Marks on Wood

1) Lemon Oil

Lemon is one of those substances that seems to be good for nearly everything in healthcare and cleaning. So, it is no surprise to see lemon is on this list. All you need to do is add the oil to a clean cloth and rub it into the stain. Some people do this with wire wool for a deeper clean. But this could be too abrasive.

2) Oil and salt

Other forms of oil could work too and some people get great results with a combination of olive oil and salt. Mix the two together and apply the paste to the area. Leave it to sit there for an hour so that it can get into the stain and then wipe it away.

3) Mayonnaise

There are similar recommendations for mayonnaise as this oily product is said to release the moisture just as easily. I’ve actually tried this trick and it worked well for me on a small end table. Mayonnaise also works well to add a little shine back to the wood surface. I was surprised to find there was no excess residue. All you need to a clean cloth and some mayonnaise. Apply the mayonnaise to the wood surface and rub it into the surface. I typically apply it to the entire piece I’m working on for an improved overall look.

4) Toothpaste

Toothpaste is another agent that can react with the moisture in heat stains and do a pretty good job at drawing it out. Standard pastes work better than gels, and the higher the baking soda content the better. If your toothpaste is low in baking soda, you can always create a paste with any soda that you have in the house and a little water.

Is It true That You Can Also Use an Iron to Deal with Heat Stains on Wooden Furniture?

This is one of those tips from homeowners that sounds paradoxically and sure to fail. Why would you treat a heat stain by adding more heat to the wood? There is, however, some method to the madness because it can be effective. To be honest, I like the concept of this one because it is far less messy and doesn’t waste ingredients from the bathroom or kitchen cupboards. The heat from the iron reopens the pores of the damaged area, making it easier to remove the moisture and reverse the damage. The best approach here is to use a towel or other pressing cloth to avoid burns. Direct contact is a bad idea. You could also handle extreme staining with some steam, but this is a little riskier.

Prevention Is Better Than the Cure

Finally, I want to mention that the best way to deal with heat marks on wood is to do your best to prevent them from happening again. The worst outcome here is if you spend all this effort fixing the marks on your furniture and then end up making more. You could end up in a vicious circle. It sounds like a simple fix, but it does pay to get a good set of coasters. Make sure there are enough to go around in every room and that they are in easy reach. Get a quality set that you will enjoy having out on display or a fun novelty item on your desk. If you’re into crocheting, you can always quickly crochet some coasters. We found there are some great designs out there, check out our guide here. You may also want to give your wood furniture a new coat of varnish or wax for extra protection.

Learning How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood Isn’t Impossible with Some Great DIY Hacks

While it might seem like an impossible task at first, it isn’t too difficult to remove heat marks on wooden furniture. The best thing about the solutions mentioned here is that you probably have many of them at home already. If not, you should be able to get them fairly easily at the store. You may find that some options work better than others depending on the severity of the wood and the stain. But, you can always wipe off a mixture and try something new. In short, you shouldn’t give up on the idea of getting rid of heat marks on wood just yet.