How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood Furniture

How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood

Wood tables are pretty, exquisite, sturdy, functional- everything you want in a piece of furniture. But one of the most relatable problems owners of wood tables have is white heat stain.  

Have you ever heard of them? They are those stains you’d see after you place something hot on your table. Removing them isn’t the problem. Removing them without compromising the integrity of your table is the real issue.  

Luckily, this article will guide you on how to remove heat stains from wood furniture without damaging the furniture. 

What Are Heat Stains? 

As the name suggests, heat stains or heat marks appear due to placing hot substances on the surface of tables. And by hot substances, we mean everything from hot dishes to hot coffee and even a hot pizza box. We’ve all done it! 

Wood tables are usually durable and sturdy; however, they don’t react well to heat. Therefore, after placing a hot substance on the table, there’s the possibility of a cloudy, white stain appearing after. These stains affect the aesthetics of the table and may persist for years if unremoved.  

Why Are There Heat Stains on Wooden Furniture? 

One clear point is- heat stains are caused by heat. However, heat isn’t the only culprit. Moisture is another factor that may contribute to the presence of heat stains. But, again, moisture is responsible for the change in appearance.

When you place a hot item on the table surface, the wood pores open. Water then seeps into these pores, and when the temperature drops and the wood cools off, these pores close, trapping water in them. The moisture changes the appearance of the table, leaving behind a white stain. 

You may have also noticed black stains on some wooden furniture. That’s something else. Unlike white heat stains, black stains are a result of charring without involving moisture. The type of stain dictates the technique of removal. 

How to Remove Heat Stains From Wood Furniture 

There’re several ways to remove heat stains from wooden tables. That’s good news, considering how unaesthetic these stains are. Below are eight of the best ways to remove heat stains from your wood furniture. 

How to remove heat stains from wood with baking soda and Toothpaste

Toothpaste and baking soda combination is an excellent way to remove heat stains from wood furniture. This is because its alkaline nature makes it react with the stains, removing them. You can’t use any toothpaste, though. What you need is the regular toothpaste – the white non-gel type. Gel toothpaste usually contains different ingredients that won’t work for heat stain. 

Mix the toothpaste and baking soda for the best results. Toothpaste usually contains baking soda but in minute amounts.  

Materials Needed 

  • Toothpaste 
  • Baking soda 
  • Cloth 

How to remove heat stains from wood table top

  • Clean the table with a cloth, either damp or dry. 
  • Add one tablespoon of toothpaste to two tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl to create a paste. If you are struggling to get a paste, add a few drops of water. It is best to form your paste without water, though. 
  • Rub the mixture onto the white mark on the table and wait for about ten minutes to let the mixture work. 
  • Wipe off the paste with a cloth without pressing too hard on the table. 

The Hairdryer Method 

Heat got the stains there in the first place, and heat can also get them out. It doesn’t make much sense to apply even more heat when heat is the reason you have the problem in the first place, we know. But if done correctly, one can remove the stains without using any chemicals or the like. The purpose of adding heat is to reopen the table’s pores and drive the trapped moisture out.  

Materials Needed 


  • Clean the surface of the table with a cloth and let it dry completely. 
  • Set the hair dryer to the lowest heat setting. 
  • Gently move the hairdryer over the heat mark until it disappears. 

The Iron Method 

This technique is related to the hairdryer method. The steam iron solution is another way of using heat to remove heat stain from wood furniture. You must ensure not to burn the table when using heat, though. Old wood furniture may also warp under heat.

Adding steam will help remove tough stains. Everything you do in this method has to be with the protection of a towel. Don’t run your iron directly over wood furniture. Also, check the wood surface to avoid applying heat after all the stains are off. 

Materials Needed 

  • Iron 
  • Steam 
  • Wood finish 
  • Cloth 

How to remove heat stains from wood with iron

  • Clean the table with a damp cloth and let it dry. 
  • Place a towel over the heat stain. 
  • Set the iron to one of the lower heat settings and run it over the towel. Ensure the iron is moving over the towel so the temperature doesn’t get too high. 
  • For tougher stains, apply steam when ironing. You can use a steam iron for this. An alternative is to sprinkle water on the towel and iron it till the water turns to steam.  
  • After the stain might have been removed, apply a wood finish. 

Using Mayonnaise 

Like mayonnaise and petroleum jelly, many oily substances can help remove any white stain from wood furniture. They do this by releasing the trapped moisture in the wood pores. However, don’t apply too much mayo to the wood furniture for easy cleaning. 

Materials Needed 

How to remove heat stains from wood with mayonnaise

  • Clean the wood surface and let dry. 
  • Rub the mayonnaise over the heat mark and leave for two hours. 
  • Wipe off excesses with a dry cloth. 

Oil and Salt 

This removal technique works with the same principle as mayonnaise. You can use lemon or olive oil.  

Materials Needed 

  • Oil 
  • Salt 
  • Cloth 


  • Clean the surface of the wood table. 
  • Mix your oil product and salt in a bowl to form a paste. 
  • Apply the mixture on the heat mark and leave for an hour.  
  • Wipe off the mixture with a clean cloth without pressing too hard on the wood surface. 

Vinegar and Oil 

Vinegar has a rich history of use as a cleansing agent for wood. When mixed with oil, you can get an effective stain removal mixture. You can use lemon or olive oil for this method. 

Materials Needed 

  • Vinegar 
  • Oil 
  • Cloth 


  • Clean the surface of the table and let it dry completely. 
  • Mix equal parts of both constituents in a bowl. 
  • Apply the mixture over the white stain and leave it to act for an hour for the solution to act. 
  • Wipe off excesses with a dry cloth. 

Steel Wool 

Super-fine steel wool may be an effective way of removing heat marks on wood furniture. However, this approach is tricky as adding steel wool of the wrong grit or size may result in scratches on the wooden surface. And, let’s be honest with you, those will look worse than the stain. 

Materials Needed 

  • Steel wool (#0000) 
  • Oil 
  • Clean cloth 


  • Clean the surface of the table and let it dry. 
  • Soak a ball of steel wool in oil. 
  • Gently rub the heat stain with the steel wool. Take care not to overdo it. 

Wood Restoration 

This method is usually reserved for tough stains. We wouldn’t advise this approach until all others have been tried in vain. Wood restoration is the go-to method if the white marks are embedded deep in the table. This DIY solution is also helpful for old furniture. 

Materials Needed 

  • Sandpaper 
  • Wood finish 


  • Sand the surface of the wood table. With proper sanding, you will get to the stain after removing the layer of wood finish. 
  • After sanding, replace the wood finish or varnish. You may also repaint the wood if necessary. 

Related: How to remove burn marks from wood.

Tips for Removing Wood Stains from Wood Table and Furniture 

There’re various tips you should consider before trying out these removal techniques. Some of them are: 

Consult an expert 

While these methods seem easy to do, using the wrong one may be problematic. This is why you need to consult experts before embarking on the removal process. In addition, there’re different types of wood, and they may react differently to various methods. Finally, if you have old furniture, you should also be extra careful as they are liable to warping and burning under heat. 

Don’t fixate too much on one Solution. 

There’s a reason we have listed so many techniques. If one isn’t working for you, move to the other. You should know after a few hours if a method will work. If it doesn’t work the first time, it likely won’t work with subsequent tries. We don’t subscribe to the idea of trying the same technique several times. If there aren’t significant changes, try another one.

Always check your table surface. 

When applying any one of the removal processes, ensure you check your table from time to time. This is because some stains may leave after a few minutes, and you may keep trying for hours. Aside from wasting your own time and energy, you may also damage the table surface. This advice is even more important when using heat. 

Don’t overdo it 

Okay, this is the final tip and the most important we will give. Please don’t overdo it. We get that you may be desperate and all, but overdoing any of these processes usually makes matters worse. What use is removing a heat mark when you end up destroying the whole table? 

How to prevent heat marks on wood furniture 

Remove stains this, remove white stains that – how about preventing them? People say prevention is better than cure, and it couldn’t be more true for wood maintenance. To prevent the stains from appearing at all, ensure you use coasters for hot cups and dishes. 

For items like a pizza box, you can get table mats. They will prevent direct contact between the hot items and the wooden table surface. Another way of preventing them from appearing is wax and varnish.

A quick fix is also using books and trays if you don’t have coasters or wood mats. Ensure hot items don’t directly come in contact with your wooden surface.  

Protect your Wood From Heat Marks

The best way to protect your wooden furniture from burns is to use coasters or heat mats.

Keep hot items from directly interacting with other surfaces by placing something between them.

For instance, a book might protect the surface so long as it doesn’t have any delicate pages that might be damaged easily due to their weight.

You can still learn how to get rid of black burn marks on wood in case you failed to protect the surface initially.


Can I remove the white heat marks myself? 

Yes, you can remove white heat marks by yourself. However, you may need to consult a wood expert before choosing a method, even though they look like easy DIY solutions. It would be best if you procured the tools for the specific removal process you choose.

How long does it take to remove heat stain? 

This depends on the type of removal method you use. Some take as little as 10 minutes, and some may take hours. Anything more than a few hours is tending towards excessive, though. 

Does heat stain resolve naturally? 

No, they usually don’t. Heat marks may even get more stubborn with time! So, you shouldn’t leave anything to chance and ensure you remove heat stains as soon as you notice them. 

How can I remove white heat marks from a wood table? 

There’re many ways to remove heat stains from wood tables. Some involve heat, some require oily mixtures, and for others, you may need more thorough and violent means, like sanding. Choose the method you feel is best for your wood. 


Our blog post has shown you how to remove heat stains from wood furniture. These methods should be tried out before using any chemical products on your expensive and cherished furnishings!

Give these DIY solutions a try and let us know if they work for you. We’ve also put together some helpful tips on how to clean water marks on raw wood, so make sure to read those as well.

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