How To Remove Water Stains From Furniture With Mayo - Today's Homeowner (2024)

In my house, I’m normally very careful about using coasters to protect wood surfaces. Still, it’s normal to accidentally place a glass or dish on a wooden table, creating an unsightly water stain.

Fortunately, you can easily remove these marks using a common ingredient that you probably have in your refrigerator: ordinary mayonnaise. Keep reading for a quick overview of removing water stains from wood furniture using mayo.

Why Mayonnaise Works on Water Stains

Mayonnaise is an effective DIY treatment for water stains because it contains egg yolk, oil, and vinegar. The fat from the egg yolks and oil penetrates into the finish and replaces the moisture from the water stain. Meanwhile, the mild acidity from the vinegar helps break down the stain. This method is safe for finished wood tables, chairs, cabinets, and other furniture.

When applying mayonnaise to a water stain, it is important to let it sit overnight. This gives the ingredients time to work fully into the finish. In the morning, simply wipe away the mayonnaise with a clean cloth.

How To Remove a Water Stain Using Mayo

Follow these steps to remove a water stain from wooden furniture using mayonnaise:

Blot the surface dry as soon as you notice the water ring. This step prevents further water damage.

Allow the mayonnaise to sit overnight for at least 12 hours.

In the morning, wipe away the mayonnaise with a clean, dry cloth.

Buff the surface lightly with a microfiber cloth. The wood will have a beautiful, restored luster.

Tips for Removing Water Stains From Furniture

The most critical step is to address the stain as soon as possible. The longer a water ring sits, the more it can penetrate the finish and stain the wood underneath.

When treating the stain with mayo, apply a generous amount of mayonnaise. In my experience, a thin smear won’t treat the stain effectively. Don’t resort to scrubbing or excessive buffing. Instead, let the mayonnaise work overnight.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

For extra polish, mix a few drops of lemon oil into the mayonnaise before applying to the stain. If the stain persists after one treatment, reapply more mayonnaise and let sit for another 12 hours.

What If Mayonnaise Doesn’t Work?

While mayonnaise can effectively treat most water stains, severe stains may require additional techniques.

For white rings, try applying toothpaste after the mayonnaise treatment. The abrasive provides extra stain removal power. Let the toothpaste sit for an hour before wiping it clean.

If the stain penetrates below the finish, sand and refinish the spot. Start with 220-grit sandpaper to remove the top layer and prevent visible scratches. As a last resort, strip the finish in the affected area and refinish just that section. Take precautions when using chemical strippers and apply a new topcoat.

If you’re re-staining wood furniture, make sure to match the existing color closely. Apply thin layers of stain and conditioner to blend the patch.

How To Maintain Your Furniture Finish

With proper care, you can prevent future water stains on your wooden furniture:

  • Use coasters under all glasses. Choose quality materials such as cork, which absorbs condensation.
  • Immediately clean up spills, and don’t let excess moisture sit on the surface.
  • Dust your furniture frequently with a microfiber cloth to prevent buildup and dulling.
  • Clean surfaces with a mild wood soap and a damp rag.
  • Condition periodically with furniture polish or oil to protect and hydrate the wood.
  • Avoid placing hot dishes directly on the surface. Always use trivets or hot pads for protection.
  • Rotate pieces periodically to equalize fading and wear from sunlight.

With vigilance and care, you can keep your wood furniture looking beautiful for years.

So, Is Mayonnaise an Effective Treatment for Water Stains on Furniture?

Mayonnaise is an easy, inexpensive, and highly effective home remedy for removing water stains from finished wood furniture. The ingredients in mayonnaise help break down the stain by penetrating the finish and replacing the moisture. While not foolproof for severe staining, mayonnaise should be your first option when you notice a pesky water ring.

Before resorting to more intensive treatments, give the mayo method a try overnight. With little effort, you can erase the stain and restore the beautiful appearance of your furniture.

FAQs About Water Stains on Furniture

How long does a water stain take to set?

A water stain can set into wooden furniture in as little as 10 to 15 minutes as the moisture penetrates the finish. As a result, it’s important to blot up the excess liquid right away before this happens.

Will ironing remove water stains?

You can try placing a cloth over the stain and gently iron it. The heat may help draw some of the moisture out of the finish. However, ironing alone is usually not a sufficient treatment for completely removing a water stain.

Can vinegar remove water stains?

Since vinegar is acidic, it can help break down water stains. But vinegar alone may be too harsh for the furniture finish. In our experience, it’s best to use mayonnaise, which contains mild vinegar and oils, to remove water stains.

Can water rings go away on their own?

Water rings or stains will not disappear on their own over time. The moisture becomes trapped under the finish, and you must treat it to remove it. The longer you wait, the more difficult the stains are to treat.

How do you restore wood furniture finish?

To restore a furniture finish that is worn, dull, or damaged, clean the surface thoroughly and apply a thin coat of paste wax using 0000 steel wool in the direction of the grain. Then, buff once dry. Avoid excessive pressure or friction during buffing.Read Also: How to Remove Stains from Furniture

How To Remove Water Stains From Furniture With Mayo - Today's Homeowner (1)

Amy DeYoung


Amy DeYoung has a passion for educating and motivating homeowners to improve their lives through home improvement projects and preventative measures. She is a content writer and editor specializing in pest control, moving, window, and lawn/gardening content for Today’s Homeowner. Amy utilizes her own experience within the pest control and real estate industry to educate readers. She studied business, communications, and writing at Arizona State University.

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How To Remove Water Stains From Furniture With Mayo - Today's Homeowner (2)

Lori Zaino

Lori Zaino is a freelance writer and editor based in Madrid, Spain. With nearly two decades of editorial experience, she’s written and edited for publications like Forbes, CNN, Insider, NBC, Newsweek, The Points Guy, The Infatuation, and many others. Having just completed her first home renovation, she’s more interested in home improvements than ever, dedicated to bringing you fresh and accurate content to help you update your living spaces.

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How To Remove Water Stains From Furniture With Mayo - Today's Homeowner (2024)
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