How to Remove Water Stains From Unfinished Wood

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Water stains are ardent on creeping onto every surface it can find and tarnish the beauty of it. From stainless steel to marble, water can cause hardened rings that can be seen left behind even after a lot of scrubbing and polishing.

The same applies to finished and unfinished wood. How much ever you polish and shine the surface of previously unfinished wood, the stains will keep on shining through the layers of paint and varnish. The stubborn marks peel away the layers of paint on top of it and come back, causing more to clean and scrub.

Apart from the ugly stains, the absorbent quality of wood when aids the penetration of water, the wood becomes soft from the inside. The absorbing point then becomes a favorite site among pests, and also, the unfinished wood becomes susceptible to breaking, fracturing, and splintering while undergoing the process of finishing it.

Even small amounts of water can cause permanent spots and damage to unfinished. Hence, here are a few tips to remove water stains from unfinished wood and avoid damage:

Water Stain Remover Solutions

Water stains on unfinished wood are quite a frequent occurrence. Hence, before deploying other methods of stain removal, you could invest in a water stain remover solution. A stain removal solution for unfinished wood fastly removes the stains without leaving a streak behind.

The chemical solution can also be used for other stains such as alcohol, food, markers, chalk, pencil lead, and more. Before you apply the stain removal chemical to the unfinished wood, make sure you are in a properly ventilated place. The fumes of such chemicals can be toxic and poisoning. Hence, wearing gloves and a mask while dealing with these is highly advisable.

The salt method

remove water stains from unfinished wood floor

The annoying water stains can be eradicated from unfinished wood using common salt.

You will need:-

  • Salt
  • Water ( or olive oil if the water method is not satisfactory)
  • Towel

Begin by creating a paste of salt and water. A thicker consistency will work better. Now apply the paste to the water stains on unfinished wood. Let the paste sit for a while for the stains to become loosened. Now get a towel and rub the surface to remove the stains.

If the stains still persist, try the method once or again. You can also use oil to make the salt paste if you are worried about water from the paste seeping into the wood and damaging it further. Rub the paste until the stain loosens and comes out of the unfinished wood. Or, move to the next method!

Hairdryer method

remove water stains from wood floor using hairdryer

Water is highly susceptible to heat. If the watermarks are not being adequately loosened by cleaning chemicals, you can rely on heat to loosen the bonds of the stain.

  • Hairdryer
  • Or, a straightener
  • Or another healing method like a blow torch.

To use the heat removal method, take a hairdryer and power it on. It is better to run it on the lowest heat setting only so that you do not burn any of the unaffected areas of the unfinished wood. Now, move the hairdryer over the stain to heat the area mildly.

You will soon see cracks appearing in the stains, and they will start loosening from the wood. You can use a soft brush to remove the stain further.

If you opt on using a hair straightener to remove the stains, do not apply the straightener directly to the unfinished wood surface. Keep a towel on the stains to minimize heat burn, and then use the straightener to loosen up the stains.

A blow torch should be kept very far away from the wood surface so that only a mild heat reaches the wood surface.

Using this method you can easily remove water stains from unfinished wood and again make sure to use the lowest heat settings to avoid damage.

Wood cleanser method

Though this method is more suitable for finished wood furnishings such as hardwoods, you can try a hardwood floor cleanser as a method for removing stains from unfinished wood. The cleaners are of mild concentration to preserve wood finishing. Hence, it will not seep through the varnish or erode the wood surface. Thus, it also is a good substitute for being a cleanser for the unfinished wood.

Do read the cleaning instructions beforehand so that the process does not tarnish the unfinished wood any further. You could also resort to using a spray bottle to apply this so that only a small quantity of the cleanser makes it to the surface, hence ensuring no damage from the cleaner.

Toothpaste method

Remove Water Rings on Wood Furniture with Toothpaste

Toothpaste has made its way into countless DIY methods, and successfully removing water stains from wood is another achievement for this common bathroom supply.

You will need:-

  • White, non-gel toothpaste
  • Baking soda

Apply a small amount of white toothpaste to the water stains on the unfinished wood, and make sure it is not a gel toothpaste. Rub the paste on the stains in order to remove the stains. For tougher and harder stains, you can make a paste of baking soda with the toothpaste and then remove the stains. Use a towel to wipe away the stains.

Sandpaper method

using sandpaper remove water stains from wood floor

While other methods may require some amount of effort from your side, using sandpaper to remove stains from unfinished wood can be easily accomplished using a small piece of sandpaper. As the piece of wood in consideration is incomplete, you need not worry about the sandpaper sanding the surface. Just take a small piece of sandpaper and carefully sand away the stain.

When you are done with removing the stain and using the wood as required, the resulting paint, varnish, and polish will easily mask the sanded surface.

Lemon oil method

Oil is an easy way to take away pesky stains from unfinished wood. Also, even if it does seep into the wood, no further damage will happen. For this process, you will need:-

  • Lemon oil
  • Steel wool

Apply a small amount of oil onto the surface of the wood where there are water stains and start rubbing away the spots using steel wool. If you are worried about the steel wool rendering the surface rough, use steel wool if the softest fibers you can get. After finishing the process, sand the surface for smoothness, and then carry on as needed.

Use petroleum jelly

remove water stains from un finished wood floors

The grease from petroleum jellies can loosen the stain from the surface of the wood and leave behind an untarnished piece of unfinished wood.

  • Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly on a clean cloth and then rub the stained surface with it.
  • Leave it on the surface for some time.
  • Use circular motions to rub the wooden surface.
  • If the stain is very stubborn, you can leave the petroleum jelly on it overnight.
  • Use a clean cloth to wipe the petroleum jelly and stains away.

Use vinegar solutions

clean water stain from unfinished floor using vinegar, lemon and baking soda

Vinegar is a very popular cleaning solution. It has its way around tough stains and can remove even hardened stains that have become quite stubborn over time. You can use vinegar alone or make solutions for a more effective cleaning process.

You will require:

  • Vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Baking soda

Begin by gently applying a small amount of vinegar to the stained surface. You can let this stand for a while for more effective cleaning. Rub the vinegar into the stained surface using circular motions and wipe away the stain.

If this does not help, or the hardened stain is still persisting, you can mix some spoons of lemon juice in vinegar and also baking soda. Continue the process in the same way by applying a small amount on the spots, rubbing it, and then wiping away the excess to leave behind clean and spotless furnishing.

Magic stain eraser

If home solutions are not doing quite well for your wood, you can rely on products such as magic stain erasers. You just need to use these on the wood and see the stain removed.

Begin by buffing up a damp magic stain eraser, or proceed as the instructions of the product ask you to. Start by rubbing the eraser on the wood along the grain of the wood. Particularly nasty stains will require you to repeat this process for a few minutes before you see the stain disappearing.

Removing black water stains

If the stain has hardened and blackened over time and you notice when the spot has already taken a turn for the worst, it is better to put your faith in more strong cleaning agents such as wood bleach. As the water has already found its way to the under layers of the unfinished wood, you will need to be patient before you deploy the bleach in your cleaning method.

  • Begin by sanding the worst of the stain with sandpaper.
  • Wear gloves and then apply the regular bleach to the stained area using a toothbrush or paintbrush.
  • You will need to let the bleach work for at least two hours.
  • Repeat the process again until you see that the stain has completely faded.
  • Allow the bleach to stay overnight if a large area has been affected.

More the worst stain cases, wood bleach, is a good choice.

  • Use toothpaste or paintbrush to apply the wood bleach to the surface.
  • Let this work on the surface for four hours.
  • As you see the stain disappearing, you will need to neutralize the bleach by using a two parts water and one part vinegar mixture with a sponge.
  • Continue working with the wood as required.

Car wax method

Greases can help loosen stains quite fast. So if you have a tub of car wax laying around somewhere, make use of it to remove water stains from unfinished wood.

Just apply a small amount of the car wax to the surface and rub it in to take away the stain. Use a clean cloth to wipe out the excess.

Removing freshwater stains

Wiping out freshwater stains is a bit of an easy process if you are fast about it.

  • Begin by patting and drying the affected area as soon as you can with a highly absorbent piece of cloth such as a cotton cloth. The water, if absorbed fast enough, tends not to leave behind a stain.
  • Now dry and buff the area using wood grain/sand so that excess of the water is absorbed and no stain is formed.
  • If you see that there is still some amount of moisture creeping into the surface, use a blowdryer or a blow torch from a considerable distance to evaporate the water.
  • Using oil on the surface can also help from more water seeping into the wood surface.

Precautions to use while removing water stains from unfinished wood:

  • Always apply a small amount of any cleaning solution first to avoid any adverse reaction.
  • Keep a clean cloth nearby to quickly wipe the surface clean if you see a cleaning solution tarnishing the unfinished wood surface.
  • Never use a dirty material as the dirt and dust from it will magnify the stain more.
  • Always use circular motions to rub a cleaning solution or go along the grain of the wood.
  • Use only soft brushes, sandpaper, or steel wool to scratch the surface clean of the stain. Hard brushes can cause further damage to the wood.

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