Removing Those Pesky Water Marks

Removing Those Pesky Water Marks
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From Old Fashioned Tips

Do you know of any way to remove white water marks from varnished surfaces? I have several lovely old pieces of furniture with white water rings and spots. I don't want to sand them completely down if I can avoid doing so. ~Sharon

Try applying petroleum jelly or furniture wax to the marks and spots. Allow it to sit for about 8 hours or overnight. Rub off any residue that is left and if it's going to work the spots should be less noticeable. If this doesn't work, then you may have to refinish it.


I have heard and people swear by it, that toothpaste will remove the white water marks on tables. I have never tried it, but worth a shot. What's to loose, if you end up refinishing the table anyhow? ~Jacquie, from KS

I took off the water marks on very old varnished furniture with rubbing alcohol. It worked and did no damage. I tested first on a place that would not be seen. ~Jeanette

Regarding water spots on wooden furniture-this recently happened to me and my son (who is a auto mechanic) called a local antique dealer (because they deal with this type of stains all the time) and they recommended spraying WD-40 on the quite large spot - leave it sit a 2 to 3 minutes and then rub with a dry cloth! It removed almost the whole spot, but since it was quite large, it did need an immediate repeat and lo and behold.....IT IS TOTALLY GONE! Thanks to my son for coming right over with the WD-40! And I love all the helpful hints, flower tips, etc! ~Arlene in New Jersey

Here is another idea for Sharon to try on the water marks. I use mayonaisse the same way you use the petroleum jelly and it works great. I am not sure what the difference is between the two, if any, since I have not tried the petroleum jelly. I was able to save a piece of furniture that I got from my Grandmother this way, and you can barely see the mark. ~Cindi

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About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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