How to Remove Water Stains from Furniture

Table with water stains

This antique table is covered with water rings and spots

At my house, we’re normally very careful about using coasters, but sometimes a glass or dish will accidentally be placed on a wooden table, where the condensation collects to create an unsightly water stain. Those marks can easily be removed using a common ingredient that you probably have in your refrigerator – ordinary mayonnaise!

Applying mayonnaise to water stain on furniture

Apply mayonnaise to water stain

As soon as you see a water mark, gently blot the surface dry. Then apply a layer of mayonnaise with a spatula or paper towel. Leave it overnight, then wipe and buff with a clean cloth. No scrubbing needed.

It’s important to tackle the stain right away, before the water soaks underneath the finish and stains the wood itself. Not only will the stain be removed, but your furniture will have a wonderful luster from the rich polish.

It might seem strange (and smell a little funny), but consider that the primary ingredients in mayonnaise are eggs, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice, so it’s really nothing more than a homemade furniture polish! The combination of fat and mild acids penetrates the top layer of the finish to replace the water with nourishing oil.

Table after mayonnaise treatment

The same table after mayonnaise water stain treatment

The mayo treatment is convenient and will generally take care of most water marks. And it won’t harm your furniture or prevent you from trying other techniques, in the event of a stubborn stain.

Further Information


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17 Comments on “How to Remove Water Stains from Furniture”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 18th, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Hi, Debbie,
    Please include a photo with your question so we can better understand the situation.
    We accept photos at
    Thanks so much!

  • Debbie Allen Says:
    June 8th, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    The mayo left a stain on my table. Changed the color of my wood. How do I get my color back?? Thanks

  • Mr Fixit Says:
    January 26th, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    I have a Kimball piano that I spiled a cup of real hot coffee on, I clean up on the spot, but the next day there was a milkey look stain on the pull out keys cover and other areas where the hot coffee had landed. The mayonnaise program has worked one again.

  • DominiqueJMurray Says:
    October 29th, 2018 at 8:12 am


  • ray martin Says:
    July 24th, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    I left the mayonnaise on too long and it started to dry and is difficult to remove. Any suggestions ?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 27th, 2018 at 10:23 am

    There are all kinds of fun home remedies out there. Glad to hear it, Gizmo’s!

  • Gizmo's Mom Says:
    June 20th, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I used mayonnaise on a wood china cabinet that a dog had repeatedly urinated on to bring back the color and it worked. Amazing!!!

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    April 20th, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Hi, Alison!

    We are so happy to hear that you enjoy “Today’s Homeowner!”
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  • Alison Says:
    April 20th, 2018 at 7:02 am

    We purchased a 100-year-old grand piano that had been in storage for 10 years, and it was covered with water stains–looked like someone had used it for a potted plant collection! Mayonnaise did the trick! I had doubts since the stains were so old, but it worked.

  • Mary Jane Wolfe Says:
    September 29th, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I sat hot food on a paper plate on an end table not knowing it would leave a cloudy white mark. Is there anything I can do to remove the unsightly mark? Thanks ahead of time for your help!

  • Dolly Martin Says:
    January 26th, 2016 at 8:32 am


  • richard mccord Says:
    November 11th, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I have water marks on my bottom cabinets where some one has let water drip down the front. I know it has been there a long time. Is there anything that can be done short of having them refinished?

    Thank You for your help,

    R D McCord.

  • Jazz Says:
    June 3rd, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Should not leave on for more than 14 minutes. Do not let the mayonnaise dry on it.

  • Jan Xhosta Says:
    May 4th, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    This will remove water stains AND restore colour to faded timber furniture.

    Equal volumes of Gum Turpentine (not turps substitute): Raw Linseed Oil: Methylated Spirit: White Vinegar: Water:

    Shake well and rub into the affected area then leave. Repeat as necessary to achieve the desired result after the first coat has soaked into the timber

  • Gwen Ewing Says:
    July 12th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I am doing this right now! It is my mother’s dining room table my son used and abused. It is working, but I am going to leave the mayo on til tomorrow! I am so excited!

  • Misty Says:
    August 22nd, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    What can I do if water stain has been there a couple of months?

  • Colin_BULX Says:
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Very interesting post, might need to try this one!

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How to Remove Water Stains from Furniture