The average wooden table, counter top or similar piece of furniture, suffers from water rings caused by steamy plates and sweating glasses on an almost daily basis. Sometimes, water rings aren’t too visible, other times they stick out like a sore thumb. Regardless, water rings must be dealt with timely as they tend to accumulate and tarnish the appearance of an otherwise smooth, uniform surface.
In general, fresh or recent water rings are treated using a blow dryer on a low heat setting. Old water rings will need some sort of abrasion to be removed effectively.
- One of the easiest and most effective ways to remove old water rings from your wooden surfaces without risking damage or alteration is to mix equal parts of corn oil and table salt. Rub the mixture gently over the affected area using your fingers. Try not to grind too hard, it’s the rubbing motion that works best. You don’t want to cloud the surface. Once the mixture is applied evenly over the treated area, wait a couple of minutes and them wipe off everything using a soft cloth.
- The next method is not recommended for shellacked wooden surfaces. Pour some lemon oil on a clean rag. Sprinkle one teaspoon of table salt over the oil soaked rag and work it gently over the water ringed area. In case the water ring starts to lighten in colour, repeat the procedure but this time use white vinegar instead. Repeat as many times as necessary, but be patient and gentle when applying the mixture – clouding the surface should be avoided.
- Rougher finished wood surfaces suffering from water rings will withstand a slightly more abrasive cleaning method. Mix equal amounts of bicarb soda and white toothpaste. Gel toothpastes will not work. Apply the mixture on a clean cloth first and then begin applying it over the affected surface. Make sure to go with the grain in order to avoid scratches. When ready, wipe the surface clean and polish it with lemon oil.
- Another proven way to remove water rings from rougher wood surfaces is to use extra fine grade steel wool dipped in lemon oil. Work gently and patiently, repeat if necessary but don’t rush the job, this is important when working with abrasives. Once the water ring is gone, polish the surface gently using pure lemon oil and a soft rag.
- One of the more alternative yet highly effective methods for removing water rings from wooden surfaces is to treat them using a mixture of cigarette ash and mayo. Yes, that’s right – mix the ash of one cigarette to a tablespoon of mayonnaise in a small cup or plate. Dip a clean cloth in the mixture and rub it vigorously over the affected area. Be sure to polish the cleaned surface really well after removing the ring completely.
All of these methods are effective in removing cold water rings. If the surface has been damaged by hot cups or plates, the rings will not be as easy to remove, a refinish might be required in such cases.