How to Remove White Heat Stains from Wood Table Easily?

I hope you will agree that wooden furniture pieces are always beautiful, elegant, and exude creativity. However, heat stains pose a threat to these beautiful qualities. Do you wonder what those gray stains and white marks on your wood tables are? Yes, they are called heat stains. You need to keep reading this article to learn more about heat stain removal and prevention.

Let’s take a look at what I found:

How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood Table?

Mix one part toothpaste and two parts baking soda in a bowl to make a paste; then apply the mixture to heat stains on a wooden table, wait five minutes, and wipe it from furniture surfaces; repeat a few times to know The stain is completely gone.

To remove those annoying white marks, you need sufficient information. I am sure you’ve got a lot of questions about heat stains. Not to worry, here are some of the questions that you will get answers to in this article:

Let’s read on!

How to Remove White Heat Stains from Wood Table Easily?
How to Remove White Heat Stains from Wood Table Easily?

What Are Heat Stains From Wood Furniture?

Stains are anything that gives a color different from the original color of a material. Therefore, heat stains on the wood are discoloration given to wood due to trapped moisture from hot substances on the wood surface.

Examples of such hot substances or materials could be hot dishes like hot pizza boxes; hot cup; steam iron, liquid, etc.

However, you should also pay attention to the fact that when water content from cold food substances or any other substance is left on a wood surface for an extended period, it could bring about white marks.

In this case, the water on the wood uses atmospheric temperature in the surroundings to infuse into the wood’s pores. As a result, it gets trapped therein and causes heat stain.

Hence, heat stains are caused by the combined forces of moisture and heat. Heat stains can be defined as heat-locked moisture in the wood that causes wood discoloration.

Heat Stains From Wood Table

Types of Heat Stains from Wood Table

I know you are thinking, are there types of heat stains? Well, let’s see. Generally, heat stains give two kinds of wood discoloration: black and white.

Hence, we can specifically say there are two types of heat stains: white stains and black stains.

However, other materials like ink can give discoloration to your wood table. But, in this case, it is regarded as a chemical stain.

Let’s quickly examine the two types of heat stains.

  • White Heat Stain
  • Black Stain

1.) White Heat Stain

This is a cloudy white stain that is formed when hot containers release moisture on the wood finish. Food containers mainly cause this. That white mark you see on your wood table is an example of a white heat stain.

2.) Black Heat Stain

Another type of spot on wooden surfaces that can be regarded as a heat stain is black. This is because the combination of three elements causes it. They are: metal or iron, moisture, and heat. Also, wood left exposed to ultraviolet light rays for a long period can turn black due to oxidation.

Causes of Heat Stain on Wood Table

Many materials, factors, and actions can cause heat stains on wood. Let’s briefly explore a few of them.

1. For white heat marks, the cause is mostly placing wet or hot items directly on the wood. You might be thinking you are careful in wiping water or food particles on your table. Yes, you are careful. Nonetheless, in as much those hot items are placed directly on your wood, the heat and steam emanating from them seep into your wood’s pores.

2. Black stains are not that common, but they can be caused by those metal containers you place on your tables. How? When they stay on your wood’s surface for too long, and water gets in touch with them, they tend to oxidize using the room’s temperature and cause heat stains.

Causes of Heat Stain on Wood Table

How Does Heat Cause Stain on Wood Furniture?

Moving further, apart from wood’s hard, dense, and porous nature, they are also hygroscopic. Under certain conditions, wood can take up and hold water (moisture) through pores. This moisture is called trapped moisture.

Specifically, when you place your hot pizza box directly on the surface of your wood, the wood stain or wood finish cannot withstand too high liquid temperature. Hence, it expand, and the heated moisture penetrates the wood grain. This is the reason the surface of your wood tends to shrink or get swollen and bring up heat stain.

Now you know how those unsightly white stains are caused.

Without further delay, let us examine how to remove heat stains from wood, prevent your wood surface, and protect and prevent your wooden surface.

Heat Stains on Wood Are Not Permanent

Are heat stains on the wood permanent? This question reminds me of the saying, “No condition is permanent.” Wood stains get there due to a condition in which moisture and heat combine forces. Therefore, heat stains can be changed because these two forces can be subjected to other forces. What am I trying to say? Heat stains on the wood are not permanent. They can be removed using different methods. More of this will be discussed further in the article.

How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood Furniture?

As I mentioned earlier, a heat stain on the wood is not permanent. It can be removed. Perhaps, you have tried using a lot of stain remover to no avail. Here is a chance to learn about different stain removal methods and how to use them. Below are different methods of removing blemishes from your wood finish.

#1. Heat Methods

This is one of the simplest methods of reducing discoloration, and wondering how it works? Well, here is the technique behind it. Since heat expands the wood finish and allows moisture to penetrate it, why not use the same heat to open up the surface again so that the confined moisture can escape? Its simple right?

Now, let’s take a look at how to go about removing heat stains with this method.


The two major home equipment used to provide heat are iron and hairdryer. To get rid of a light stain, the hairdryer can achieve that. You need to put it on the lowest heat setting, place it near the stain, and gently move your hand sideways to disperse the heat. As more heat oozes out, the wood opens up and the locked moisture escapes.

using hairdryer to get rid of white stain on table


For a stronger stain, you can use the heat from an iron. However, make sure you put off the steam setting and put it on the low heat setting. Steam is unnecessary because it contains moisture, and you do not want to lock in more moisture on your wooden surface.

You must put a clean, soft cloth on the heat rings and place your iron on the low heat setting. Then, move the iron in an upward and downward motion. As you do this, constantly check to see the white marks disappearing.

#2. Oil Based Product Methods

Do you know oil-based products can remove heat stains? About four oil-based products are sitting in your pantry that can remove heat stain. They are mayonnaise, vinegar & olive oil, lemon oil, oil & salt.

Let’s quickly take a look at how to use these products to remove heat stains.

Remove heat stains from wood using mayonnaise

Mayonnaise contains a lot of constituents. But, it is majorly made up of oil and water. That is, it is an emulsion. On those white spots, generously apply mayonnaise, but do not rub it on it. Please leave it to sit on the spots for hours before gently removing it to see the magic. It sounds strange, but it has proven to be effective. It doesn’t harm to give it a try on your wooden furniture. If you don’t have mayonnaise within your reach, you can use petroleum jelly as an alternative. Use the petroleum jelly just as stated above with mayonnaise.

Remove heat stains from wood surfaces using vinegar & olive oily substances

Are you tired of seeing that heat mark on your wood table? Then give this method a trial. Vinegar is an acidic substance used for a long as a cleaning agent. Put an equal teaspoonful of vinegar and olive oil in a container and mix. Then, apply this mixture to your table and let it stay on it for a few hours (2 – 3). Wipe it off and see the difference. However, make sure you use vinegar made for cleaning purposes and not the one for cooking purposes.

Remove white heat stains from wood furniture using lemon oil

Lemon oil is well known for its cleansing power. This method is known to be used with steel wool. You only need to put a few drops of lemon oil on the steel wool and use it to gently scrub the surfaces of those white rings back and forth. However, take note that stain and lemon oil might not work for a long time. Use it only on recent spots that appear for the best results.

Also, steel wool can be used as a stain remover. But it should be used with oil. You can use olive oil with steel wool if you don’t have lemon oil. However, if you want to change your wood finish, you can only use fine-grade steel wool. This is because fine-grade steel wool can serve as a mild sandpaper. You can decide to sand the affected area, or the whole surface. After this, there would be a need for staining and vanishing.

Another method of removing spots using an oil-based product is the mixture of oil and salt, preferably salt and olive oil. Lemon oil can also be used. This method is similar to that of mayonnaise. You get a paste mixture of oil and salt, put it on the affected area, and leave for two to three hours. Then, gently wipe off with a clean cloth.

Remove white heat stains with vinegar

#3. Toothpaste Method

In addition to the methods mentioned above, the toothpaste method can also be used on wood furniture to remove heat marks. It is quite known for its popularity. You can use the toothpaste only or combine it with baking soda.

Remove white heat stains from wooden tables using the toothpaste method

To remove those white heat marks from your wood furniture using toothpaste and baking soda, you first wipe the wood surface with a damp cloth. Then you make a paste solution with toothpaste and baking soda in a ratio of 1:2.

The next thing to do is apply the baking soda and toothpaste solution on the white heat stains. Leave it for a few minutes, then gently rub it on the wood surface for another few minutes (5 to 10 minutes).

After this, gently wipe it off with a clean cloth to see visible results. However, try to avoid excess paste from touching another wood surface. Non-gel toothpaste is advised. That is, use regular toothpaste. The normal culinary baking soda should be used too.

#4. Wood Restoration Method

Furthermore, using the wood restoration technique for heat marks on older furniture is advisable. Wood restoration simply means refurbishing the outer look of your old but sturdy wooden table. Re-coating with wood stain or covering it with a new layer of top coat which could be lacquer or varnish. This way, you remove stains by covering them up.

How to use the wood restoration method on your wooden tables?

Below are processed to remove wood spots using wood restoration. You can do it yourself. You will need some of the materials: sandpaper, wood stain, wood finish, etc.

Step 1. Stripping

This simply involves removing the coat and stain on the wooden table . That is, you strip your wood bare of its outer layer. This can be done using a wood stripper. Apply the stripper on the area you want to restore, leave on it for 20 to 25 minutes. When you see that the outer layers of your furniture has dissolved, the wood stripper has done its work. Then you can scrap it off and clean the surface with a clean cloth.

Step 2. Smoothing

This process simply deals with neutralizing the effect of the stripping chemical. This can be done with steel wool soaked in mineral spirit. You gently use it to scrape off rough surfaces—this help to open up the pores of the wood and prepare it for the following process. You can also use wax remover to remove the extra layer, wipe with a clean cloth, and then use sandpaper to smooth the wood.

Step 3. Staining

You can read more on wood staining in a previous article. This involves applying stain of your choice on the wood using a brush or a cloth. Try to work in an environment whose atmospheric conditions will facilitate the quick drying of the stain. Leave the stain to dry.

Step 4. Finishing

You can decide to apply an oil finish to bring about that shinny wood you once bought. There is lacquer finish and other types of finish. Choose a suitable one to topcoat your wooden table, and you are done.

Removing White Heat Stains. before vs after

How to Choose The Method That Will Work Best for You?

Perhaps you are confused because you don’t know which of these arrays of methods will work for you. Here are two major determining factors that can guide you in addition to the tips afterward.

  • Type of stain

Is it a black or white discoloration? Or is it a chemical stain. Chemical stain like ink might not be removed with simple do it yourself procedures. But, white heat marks can.

  • Duration of Stains from Wood Furniture

New imputed spots or marks can be removed easily with lemon oil, mayonnaise. However tough white spots might require baking soda and toothpaste solution.

Helpful Tips for Removing Stains from Wood Table

Tip #1. Ensure the wood surface is rid of dirt or any substance that can interfere with removing the stain. Use clean cloth.

Tip #2. Some home remedies like mayonnaise and petroleum jelly might not help remove old heat marks. You should use other solutions like the toothpaste and baking soda mixture. In other words, choose the best method suitable for the type of heat mark you are dealing with.

Tip #3. The time frame for removing the stain depends on your chosen method.

Tip #4. Heat marks do not fade with time. Therefore, it is advisable to quickly remove them before they become tough stains that are difficult to remove.

Tip #5. For white and black stains that prove difficult to remove, please consult an expert to know the best way to deal with the problem.

Heat Mark Prevention

After looking at various ways of removing heat marks from your furniture, it is good to also look at precautions to follow to prevent further stains on your furniture. Wood is quite prone to water. Hence, it becomes necessary to prevent it from steam, moisture and water-dropping substances.

How to Prevent and Protect Wood Furniture from Heat Mark?

1. With all being said so far, the first thing that comes to mind in preventing further heat marks on that wood table is covering it with a table cloth. However, it is advisable to use heat-resistant table cloths.

2. You can decide to protect your wooden desk by placing a glass cover on it.

3. On wooden dining tables, trivets can be used as a partition between hot food and furniture surface. Others like coasters and heat mats can also be used.

4. Apart from water from food substances, wood tables can also absorb moisture in the hair. Hence, use home equipment like dehumidifiers to regulate the air’s moisture level.


Finally, I hope this article has helped give you the needed knowledge on heat stain; types of heat stains; how they are caused; and how to remove heat stains from wood furniture.

Different techniques for spot removal have been discussed. How to know which method to use has also been explained. All you need to follow the necessary precautions and tips as you remove those spots from your furniture. Also, remember to protect your wood surface further to prevent future stains on your furniture.

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