Keeping Your Wood Furniture Polished & Free From Watermarks

By John Voket

If you’re looking for a good rainy-day project around the house, how about spending some time sprucing up your wood furniture? I found some good information in a recent post at

To make furniture cleaning easier, the post recommends you dust carefully and often using a soft cloth and using cleaning motions following the wood’s grain. Dusting at least once a week is recommended to remove tiny abrasive particles that can harm wood surfaces.

For the best cleaning solution, the designermag,org post suggests applying a mixture of non-alkaline soap and water with a sponge. Always check if the new cleaning solution damages the wood’s finish, and use a soft cloth to quickly dry the area when you’re done.

And what about those pesky watermarks?

According to the post, if a watermark has a whitish color, it’s possible to repair it. If the watermark has a darker color, then refinishing the area might be in order.

Use these steps to address a white water mark:

  • Find some denatured alcohol and apply it to a piece of cloth. Use the damped cloth to rub the spot.
  • Find some camphorated oil and apply it to a piece of cloth. Use it to rub the spot. Find some turpentine and apply it to a piece of cloth. Once again, use it rub the spot.
  • If the above methods fail, try toothpaste with “extra brighteners,” put some of it on the spot and use a cloth pad to gently rub the area following the grain.
  • Or, sprinkle a little salt on the watermark and damp some cloth with mineral or lemon oil and rub the spot. If the watermark fades away, then repeat the process, but this time use vinegar and salt.
  • If everything else fails, mix some lemon or mineral oil with rottenstone until your make a soft paste. Rub the paste onto the watermark and rub it with a soft cloth until it fades. Keep in mind that this treatment may do some minor damage to the wood, but you will easily fix it by waxing and polishing.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

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