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How To Remove Water Stains From Unfinished Wood

Are you having a hard time removing water stains on your tables, chairs or even your computer stands that are made of unfinished wood? Are you looking for a quick and easy way to remove these water stains without damaging the look of your furniture? If your answer to these questions is yes then keep reading as I will present you with several easy steps on how to deal with water stains from unfinished wood.

I had many instances where my furniture got stained with different types of water stains and I had a really hard time removing those before. I did a lot of research and looked for different solutions and this is what I found that worked best for me.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

There are different methods to remove water stains and these will mostly depend on the type of water stain you would like to remove.

Method 1:

  • Salt paste
  • Clean towel
  • Iron
  • Moisturizing or polishing product
  • Wood cleaning product

Method 2:

  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Clean towel/cloth
  • Water

Step-by-Step Instructions

Method 1:

  1. In a clean container (preferably a cup or bowl, depending on the amount you will need), prepare a salt paste. You can do this by mixing one teaspoon of salt with a few to several drops of water.
  2. Clean the surface of the unfinished wood where you want to apply the paste. Pour a minimal amount of water and spread it gently across the surface, then wipe it thoroughly with a piece of cloth or towel.
  3. Apply the created salt paste on the surface of the unfinished wood and distribute it evenly along the entire desired area.
  4. Using a clean towel, rub the paste gently into the water stain and do this until the stain disappear.
  5. Using another towel or cloth, wipe the paste off of the surface.
  6. Repeat applying paste and rubbing gently until all of the stain is removed.

In some cases where the stains are very hard to remove by salt paste, I specifically use an iron to help in the process. Here are the steps:

  • Heat the iron but keep it in a warm state instead of hot.
  • You have to dry the surface of the unfinished wood with a clean towel. Repeat it a few times to ensure that it is completely dry.
  • Fold the towel a few times over and place it on the stained wood surface.
  • Apply the warm iron over the towel and keep it in place for about five seconds ensuring that the stain is evenly heated and dried.
  • Apply moisturizing product over the surface to help remove any remaining stains left by the process.

Method 2:

  1. Ensure that the stained surface is free of any dirt or particles by wiping it with clean cloth or towel.
  2. Sand the stained surface of the unfinished wood lightly using fine grit sandpaper.
  3. Periodically wipe off dust created by sanding and also inspect the surface to determine your progress of work. Make sure to not leave a depression on the surface as this will mean more work for you. You would have to sand other areas in order to even the surface to the level of the depression.
  4. Do the sanding until the stain is gone. You will likely recognize that you have removed the stain when you see that you have sanded away a few scrapes of wood.
  5. If you noticed that you have over-sanded the stained surface, you can also sand the rest of the adjacent wood surfaces and keep it to the same level of the sanded stained surface. This is necessary if you want the surfaces to match.

Actually, there are different ways to remove water stains from wood surfaces. You just have to take into consideration several factors in order to select the most appropriate method. These factors are the wood type, stain type and also the wood finish if there is any. I can provide you with some advanced/pro tips in removing specific stains from specific wood types.

Pro Tips

  • When using an iron to remove stains, it is important to make sure that the iron is not too hot. Ensure that it is warm and the temperature is just right for it not to burn the surface of the wood.
  • Removing stains from unfinished wood is quite necessary because it is often the cause of wood damage especially before treatment/finish.
  • You can also use tetrachloride to remove stains from wood before sanding it.
  • When sanding unfinished wood surfaces, it is recommended to always check for the level of evenness because it is easy to leave depressions on wood surfaces while sanding. Gradual sanding and pausing often to check always does the trick.
  • I have also researched that applying a bleaching solution to the surface of the wood will help remove spots. You have to apply it to the entire wood surface, not just the stained area, in order to prevent unevenness in the overall shade and lighting of the whole surface of the wood.
  • A more common method is to apply vinegar on the surface of the wood and quickly wiping it off.


So there you have it. Those are the methods that I used when faced by the problems you are currently having. As I have said before, there are many available methods out there but these methods are the ones I have used and they worked for me. These are the easiest and quickest ways that helped me and I’m sure you will also agree with me once you have done these steps.

Have your questions been answered after reading this tutorial? Have you enjoyed the whole experience? If ever you have any comments or suggestions regarding this tutorial, just hit the comment box below and post your thoughts, arguments and reactions there. Don’t forget to share this article to help others solve their water stain problems.

  • November 21, 2016
  • TIPS
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