Restoring Wood Furniture: Taking Care of White Marks and Water Spots

Quite a few homes in world have a number of pieces of wood furniture. Whether it’s the dinning room table, a favorite rocking chair, or even an ornate mantle over the fire place, more and more families are remembering how good wood can both brighten a room and give it a sense of depth and tradition. Indeed, if the wood furniture is taken care of on a regular basis, it can quickly become a focal point for conversations.

However, there are quite a few instances where the wooden furniture is not always taken care of like it should have been. There can be a number of reasons for this; perhaps the previous owners didn’t have the time to take care of the table, or maybe they simply didn’t know the routine needed to care for that classic wooden rocker. One of the most common defects that are found on old wooden furniture is water spots or white marks on the surface of the furniture. If you don’t feel like taking that old end table to a professional refinisher to get rid of those unsightly marks, here is an easy way to try and do the job yourself.

What Exactly Are White Spots and Water Marks?

To look at them, white spots are water marks look like areas of severe discoloration. They are normally caused by water, alcohol, even hot things such as a cigarette or even a hot mug of cocoa. How you remove them depends greatly on a number of different criteria including the size of the mark, the depth of imperfection, and even the type of finish involved. For many shallow discolorations or imperfections, it’s best to use a more mild approach as described below. In fact, this method should always be the first attempt at restoring the beauty of your wood furniture

A Mild Approach

If you want to remove water stains or white spots from your furniture, there are a number of simple ingredient combinations that can go a long way to getting the job done right. Each one can usually be found in the house, and their gentle overall nature gets the job done surprisingly well. The first of these more mild approaches is a combination of table salt and mineral oil. First, take your finger and dip it in mineral oil. Next, coat that same finger with table salt. Take that mixture and apply it in a circular motion to the water spot and gently exfoliate the stain or water mark right out of the wood. The salt will act as a mild abrasive, and the mineral oil will add the necessary moisture to the wood to help repair any underlying damage. Remember, if you have sensitive skin, a pair of latex or nitrile gloves can go a long way to prevent unnecessary irritation.

Another surprising method that can be used to remove white spots or a water stain is to use a paste made of cigarette ash and butter. Create a paste from soften butter and ash, with each ingredient comprising equal part. Next, take the mixture and apply it to the stain or spot with a soft cloth, again using a circular motion to try and exfoliate the water spot or stain out of the wood. Once the stain is no longer visible, clean the area with a mild soap and a little bit of water to remove the butter and ash mixture.

A third mild method that can be used to remove water stains or white marks works well with varnished surfaces. A simple application of peppermint oil or mild ammonia can easily remove discoloration on most varnished surfaces. Simply dip a flannel cloth in peppermint oil or a mild ammonia solution and rub in a circular motion over the offending stain. When the water mark or stain has been removed, follow with a good cleaning and use of a mild wood moisturizer such as linseed oil. Soon, you’ll find that those ugly water marks or white spots are a thing of the past.

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