Try as you might to yell and scream “coaster!” at every turn, we can almost guarantee that you’ll be faced with water rings at some point in your parenting life.
They show up on coffee tables, dining tables, and even bookshelves.
So how do you get rid of them?
If you’re reading this while staring at the endless circular rings of moist, mouldy doom, don’t stress, there is an answer. In fact, you can get rid of the rings yourself, at home, with just a few simple household items.
First Off, How Do Water Rings Happen?
Ok well there are two things that cause water rings on tables: hot cups and cold ones. Essentially either cold water (from a condensed glass), or water vapour (from a hot glass), has come into contact with the finishing varnish or veneer on the wooden object. White rings mean that the water has only penetrated the finish and gone no further. Dark rings mean that the water has travelled all the way though the finish to the wood below.
Now, for most people the issue is usually only skin deep, and therefore pretty easy to remove. However the method that works best for you and the item of furniture in question will depend on the type of finish on the item. As this is often difficult to figure out, trial and error is the best option to move forward.
How To Get Rid Of Them
Here are a few ideas on getting rid of the white rings in your life. Let us know which ones work best for you!
1. Iron It Out
A normal, everyday steam iron can be used easily to remove water marks from some wooden surfaces. Just place a soft, lint-free cloth on top of the water mark, and run the iron over the cloth slowly and with a very light pressure. Stop every few seconds and check the progress on the mark. It seems to work quite well if you either press the steam iron directly into the cloth, but also if you hold the iron slightly above the cloth with the steam on. When you’ve stopped ironing, just wipe the moisture away from the surface with a cloth.
2. Blow It Dry
Similarly to the iron, a hair dryer can have a marked positive effect on water rings. To use this method take the hair dryer, set it on a low or medium temperature and hold it about 10-15cm above the wooden surface. Keep the hair dryer moving back and forth, and when the surface it properly warmed buff it with a soft, try cloth. Bringing together the heat and the friction means goodbye water rings!
3. Give It A Rub
Sometimes all that you need to do to get rid of the water marks on wooden surfaces is add some lubricant and really work it into the surface. There are a number of different lubricants you can use, and their individual success will depend on the type of finish on the surface. Consider olive oil, cooking oil, wood oils, coconut oil, vaseline or even mayonnaise. Just apply the lubricant to a soft cloth and rub the water mark with a strong pressure. Adding vinegar to the mix can also help.
4. Scratch It Out
If you think your lubricant rub needs a bit of a boost, just add a small amount of abrasive material into the solution. Anything with a small abrasive force like salt, baking soda and even non-gel toothpaste are all good ideas. Pumice (the abrasive powder) may also be a worthy investment. Just mix a small amount of the abrasive mix into the lubricant and rub away. Again, vinegar can also be added to further improve the effectiveness.
5. Something More
If you’ve tried all of these DIY remedies and you still can’t get rid of the white marks, it might be time for something more. There are a number of commercial products on the market designed to target and remove water rings, so check out local furniture supply stores, grocery stores and the internet for a solution. Their offerings include abrasive and lubricating clothes, as well as leave on solutions to dry the area.
A Few Words Of Caution
The tricks and tips that we’ve suggested on how to remove water rings from wooden tables have been shown effective in various situations, but that doesn’t mean you should just proceed without caution. It’s worth noting that as many of the suggested fixes involve a kind of abrasive material, the sheen or degree of shininess on the piece may be altered.
This will be particularly obvious on a high gloss finish, but eagle eyed DIY-ers may also see it on a semi-gloss or satin finish. For that reason if you’re removing a single mark and notice that it it obviously different from the finish around it, you might find it worthwhile to rub down the entire surface area to ensure a clean and uniform look to the gloss.
In addition, be very cautious when using suggestions that involve heat. Too much heat concentrated for too long in one spot can cause the finish to bubble, change texture, and even change colour from scorching. It’s always best to start with a moderate heat and go from there.