How to Remove Heat Stains From Wood

heat stain on wood

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Admit it or not, wood furniture is the gold standard for homeowners who prefer rustic-themed interiors. And while wood cools the ambiance of your house, did you know that it can eventually develop heat stains?

Fortunately, these unsightly white stains aren’t hard to handle. Here’s a guide on how to remove heat stains from wood and a few tips from our well-versed furniture experts.

What Are Heat Stains on Wood?

If your wood furniture is often exposed to sunlight or warm temperatures, the formation of a white heat stain is something you should expect. These cloudy stains are typically caused when you place hot items or food like a hot pizza box on top of a wooden surface. 

heat stain on wood

You may think it’s just a heat mark, but a wood table can be subjected to thermal expansion. Trust our wood furniture experts when we say that these trivial things could lead to possible shrinkage or wrapping. 

Removing Heat Stains from Wood: 9 Methods

Method #1: Toothpaste

We’re sure you’ve already heard about using toothpaste to remove stains on cloth. But did you know that its component could also work to remove heat stains from wood? 

toothpaste to remove stain on wood

If you want the best results, a non-gel toothpaste is still the best option because of its alkaline properties. Some people also create a baking soda and toothpaste mixture to remove heat marks. 

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Clean the wooden furniture with a damp cloth. Make sure that the wood surface is free of any residue or dirt.
  2. Mix toothpaste and baking soda until you get a thick paste. We recommend adding a few drops of water to get the right liquid consistency.
  3. Apply the toothpaste and baking soda mixture to the wood surface. 
  4. Let the solution sit in the white heat marks for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Once the wood table has dried, wipe it clean. Don’t press too hard as it won’t help remove heat stains from wood. 

Method #2: Hairdryer

High temperatures cause white heat stains, so what better way to remove them than adding more heat? While others require chemical mixtures, a hairdryer’s heat could treat wood pores and pull the trapped moisture. 

hairdryer to remove stain on wood

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Clear any dirt on the wood table using the cloth. If you can, our wood furniture professionals suggest using a damp rag.
  2. Turn the hairdryer on and set it in the lowest heat setting. 
  3. Point the dryer over the white heat marks and wait until all the stains are removed.

Method #3: Iron

Another way of using more heat to remove white stains is through the steam iron method. And while it’s effective for removing heat marks, overly high temperatures may cause damage to your wood furniture, so you must utilize this method sparingly.

iron to remove stain on wood

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Ensure that the wood furniture is spotless from dirt or residues.
  2. Lay the cloth over the heat stain of your wooden table.
  3. Before gently pressing the iron through the towel, set the iron into a low heat setting. Get the iron slowly moving to prevent heat escalation even at a low steam setting. 
  4. If it doesn’t remove white heat marks, we suggest steaming it with a wet towel. 
  5. Add a wood finish to seal the wood’s pores. 

Method #4: Mayonnaise

Not many know this, but oily substances like mayonnaise and petroleum jelly can remove heat stains [1] on your wooden table. This process opens the wood grain pores to release trapped moisture. However, we don’t urge you to use a massive amount of mayonnaise as it can be hard to clean.

mayonnaise to remove stain on wood

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Wipe the wood tables clean and remove other hindrances.
  2. Apply the mayonnaise over the heat stain gently and let it sit for two hours.
  3. Once the white heat stain is out of sight, remove the excess mayonnaise. 

Method #5: Oil and Salt

Like petroleum jelly and mayonnaise, greasy substances can handle white marks due to their alternative components.

salt and oil to remove stain on wood

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Mix oil and salt until it turns into a paste solution.
  2. Clean the wood table using the cloth and ensure the heat rings don’t have excess residues.
  3. Apply all the liquid paste over the white marks and let it dry for an hour to remove the heat stain from the wood. 

Method #6: Vinegar and Olive Oil

Olive oil is a known solution for white stain issues, but another popular ingredient is vinegar. When these two components are mixed, it can be an effective stain remover in cloth and wood. You can even use them when removing wood stain on skin because of their mild removal substance. 

vinegar and oil to remove stain on wood

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Dry and clean the furniture thoroughly.
  2. Oil and vinegar must be in equal parts, so remember to measure them accurately. 
  3. Once the mixture’s ready, apply it thoroughly on the white mark and wait at least an hour. 
  4. After drying, finish off by wiping it clean with a cloth.

Method #7: Steel Wool

Using fine-grade steel wool to remove white heat stains can be tricky, especially because it could lead to unwanted scratches and damage to the wood material. If you’re not familiar with it, so we don’t encourage using it.

steel wool used on wood

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Get rid of residues on the surface with a wet cloth and let it dry.
  2. Put oil all over the steel wool before using it.
  3. Gently start rubbing the wool into the heat stains.

Method #8: Lemon Oil

Like other oil ingredients, lemon oil is an effective agent to remove stains from a hot cup placed on your wood table. 

lemon oil

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Pour a considerable amount of oil into the wool or cloth.
  2. Use the back and forth motion during the application for better removal action.
  3. Keep following the wooden grain until it clears from stains.

Method #9: Wood Restoration by Sanding

If all else doesn’t work, it’s time to restore the state of your furniture. Our experts also recommend this when dealing with old wood materials. The only downside is you’ll have to repaint the wood material.

wood restoration by sanding

What You Need

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Spot the wood surface where the stain is located.
  2. Do the deep sanding method to get rid of the stain.
  3. Replace the protective layer of the surface with a wood finish.

The Best Wood Restoration Products for Heat Stains on Wooden Tables and Furniture

If you want a product that can handle any kind of wood damage, Howard Products Restor-A-Finish is still the best choice. Besides that, you can also use Guardsman’s WaterMark Remover Cloth for easy heat mark removal.

Tips For Removing Heat Stains on Wood

Consult an Expert

If you’re not familiar with wood stain removal, consulting an expert on wood and furniture is still the best option. These professionals know what method to use without potentially damaging your furniture.

woodworkers

Use Different Solutions

As we discussed, there are many ways to tackle this issue. If simple mixtures couldn’t remove the stain from hot dishes, feel free to try other methods as long as you do it gently and don’t damage the material.

Check the Condition of the Surface

Is the wood material old? If it is, our wood experts don’t recommend using chemicals as they can further damage your furniture. 

Do Not Overdo it

Keep in mind that some of these ingredients can be harmful, so using them sparingly is what we can advise avoiding undesirable wood damage. 

restoring wooden table

How to Prevent Heat Marks From Forming on Wood

If you don’t want any hassle coming from fixing heat stains on your furniture, the best way is not to expose its surface to high temperatures. 

How to Protect Your Wood Table From Heat Marks

Use coasters when putting down hot beverages or heat mats for newly cooked dishes. Heat mats prevent direct heat from damaging your furniture.

FAQ

How long will it take to remove the heat stains?

It depends on the condition of your wood and the method you use to remove the stain. Ten minutes is enough if it’s a typical process, but other stains require hours to remove.

Do heat stains go away on their own?

No, heat stains won’t naturally disappear, and it can significantly change the color of the wood. If left unresolved, it may become harder to remove them.

How can you remove heat stains with steam?

Sprinkle a bit of water unto a towel and place it over the stain. After that, use a low-heat iron and apply it over the cloth.

Conclusion

There are many ways to remove a heat stain from wood. But if you happen to see black stains on the wooden surface, you’re dealing with water damage and not from heat stains. So we suggest doing specific solutions or hiring an expert to avoid mishaps and added damages. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen and women. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson