Wood is timeless and fairly durable — except when you throw moisture into the mix. That said, you don't have to toss that coffee table or replace those cabinets just yet. For those wondering
how to remove water stains from wood, there are some effective solutions you should try that might just save you some serious time, effort, and money.
If you've already tried
baking soda and mayonnaise, it might be time to invest in some supplies. The first step is getting rid of the water rings, droplet marks, or leak stains. Luckily, the internet has tons of cleaning and buffing solutions — and they come in various forms to suit your unique needs. If you can't get rid of the mark, you can also cover it up; wood markers, wax crayons, and epoxy are all great options here.
Finally, after the water stain is gone, you should polish and reseal the wood to prevent against future damage. Some of the
best wood cleaners do everything at once (meaning they clean, condition, fill in scratches, and polish all at the same time), so if your water stains are mild, you might even be able to get away with a single step.
Scroll on to see the best products to remove water stains from wood.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team. 1 To Remove The Water Stains
If you're dealing with water rings on a table or droplet marks on cabinets, the
Guardsman cloth is a quick, easy way to get rid of them. It cleans and polishes wood to remove stains caused by water, alcohol, or heat while also minimizing small scratches — and it's reusable, so you can feel good about the $5 price tag. One reviewer wrote: "I had old water and heat damage on my antique table. I had thought there was no way I would ever get rid of them, but now I know better! It took about half an hour of consistent elbow grease, but almost all of it came up." 2
For larger areas like dining room tables, there's
LIBERON's furniture ring remover. Apply this teak-safe liquid formula with a clean cloth and rub it over the mark in a circular motion. It aims to remove water and heat marks, and since it comes in a 4.23-ounce can, it'll last you for several projects. One reviewer wrote: "I was very happy with the results on two different tables, a dark, mahogany dining table and a lighter, chestnut colored side table. Both had white rings from hot objects and, after trying various other products, I had all but given up on ever getting rid of those blemishes." 3
If you're dealing with scratches as well as water damage, the
Tibet Almond Stick can help. It buffs out unwanted marks and since it comes in an easy-to-apply stick form, you don't have to worry about spills. According to reviewers, it works on doors, cabinets, furniture, and floors. One reviewer wrote: "This stuff is amazing! I used it on my piano and it took care of a few water marks as well as a lot of fine scratches. I also used it on my wood furniture and it all looks brand new!" 4 To Cover Up Stains
If the water stains go deep, you also have the option of camouflaging the mark with a similar color. These
repair markers and wax sticks from Katzco come in a wide range of common wood shades, and the kit also comes with a sharpener to keep your wax sticks in perfect shape. Buyers say they're versatile, long-lasting, and easy to use — which explains the 4.4-star rating. One reviewer wrote: "I have never been so pleased with the results of a product's performance. The color matched my furniture perfectly. It was easy to use. I used it to fix water damage from wet glasses left on top of my night stands. The damage is now invisible. Buy it. You won't be disappointed." 5
Coconix floor and furniture repair kit is your best bet when water has compromised both the color and the texture of your wood. That's because the repair compound fills in chips, cracks, or holes while also covering up the discoloration. Each set comes with 10 mixable shades you can customize with the color matching support, plus wood putty, a spatula, an applicator brush, and a mixing jar. It also includes tubes of red, blue, and yellow compound, making it a great choice for difficult-to-match shades. One reviewer wrote: "I had no problem matching the color of our espresso cabinets using the included color guide. It was easy to mix and apply. Worked perfectly to touch up a few places where the stain was rubbing off our kitchen cabinets due to water." 6 To Polish & Protect Wood Trinova wood cleaner is one of the best, most well-rounded products when it comes to cleaning and protecting your wood in one step. It aims to remove minor marks, condition the wood, and polish the surface with a protective wax, all with one gentle formula — and it works on both stained and unfinished surfaces. One reviewer wrote: "My oak kitchen table and chairs were in flood water for several days in August 2016. The chair on your right is 'as is'. The chair on the left is after using the spray cleaner once!" 7
To protect cabinets, furniture, and wood paneling, there's
Rejuvenate's restorer. The polymer-based formula fills in minor scratches and restores shine while simultaneously protecting the wood against UV rays and future water damage. It even comes with a free microfiber mitt for easy, scratch-free application. One reviewer wrote: "I got this on a recommendation to bring alive wood cabinets that were water-stained after years of use, and it worked remarkably well, so I was very pleased." 8
Finally, if you're looking for an easy DIY project that totally transforms your furniture, there's
Howard's Restor-A-Finish. First, choose between one of the nine different wood finishes, including mahogany, neutral, and maple-pine. Apply it directly with either a soft cloth for minor stains or fine steel wool for deeper marks. Then let it dry and wipe it down with a soft cloth to a rich, shiny finish and say goodbye to water marks, heat rings, sun fade, and smoke damage. The manufacturer recommends following it up with Howard's Feed-N-Wax to condition and protect. One reviewer wrote: "I needed something to help restore our lovely Koa wood tables since they had been neglected for a number of reasons. This product brought them back to like-new condition, even getting rid of a large white water stain on the coffee table."