How to Remove Water Stains from Unfinished Wood – 2023 Guide

Are you looking for the simplest, yet most effective tips on how to remove water stains from unfinished wood? 

Congratulations! You’re on the perfect page.

Water stains on wood appear to be most frustrating. It becomes even more frustrating when on an unfinished or bare wood floor, furniture, and the like. 

How to Remove Water Stains from Unfinished Wood – Guide

Unfinished wood is, by all means, unprotected. So the next time you feel totally irked by moisture on the wood surface, you’re right to feel so; because that would pertain to moisture being absorbed into the inner part of the wood. 

And, when there’s moisture seeping from within, you almost always end up with damaged wood. 

But as much as it’s stained, a wood floor is resistant. Fortunately, it does not easily deteriorate. 

Fortunately, we will feature in this article the best tips on how to remove water stains from wood. 

Read the entire article to save your unfinished wood today. 

Let’s go!

Right way to remove old dark and white water stains from unfinished wood, floors and beams

Simple & Effective Tips on How to Remove Water Stains From Unfinished Wood 

Before administering the tips on how to remove water stains from unfinished wood, you must first have to test and confirm if the stain is really water-based. 

If you own the wood and are aware of the source of the stain, then you can proceed with the tips. 

But for those who aren’t, here are some quick steps:

  • Drench and cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. 
  • Wipe the cotton ball into the affected area (stain). 
  • Check if the alcohol in the cotton ball is dried up. 
  • Check if the color manifested in the cotton ball is light to almost hazy.
  • If you get the two signs, then you’re assured that the stain is water-based. 

Found out the source of the stain on floor woods? 

Let’s proceed with the tips on how to remove water stains from unfinished wood…

For Fresh Stains

The most effective means for removing water stains from the wood is to do it right after you spilled it or witnessed it spilt on the wood. As they say, “prevention is better than cure”.

Here’s how to do it…

  1. Wipe with cotton or any absorbent material. 
  • Make sure to look for soft absorbent papers like tissue, cloth diaper, or even cotton.
  • Dab the absorbent material into the stained area. 
  • After briefly dabbing, press the absorbent material into the surface for about 10 seconds. 
  • Refrain from rubbing the absorbent material across the surface as it spreads the stain. 

NOTE: Depending on the amount of water spilled, use several kinds of cotton or absorbent materials to hold sufficiently.

How It's Made_ Tissues
  1. Blow-dry the wood surface. Check here to know How To Dry Wood Floor After Water Leak
  • If stains persist, blow-dry the area. 
  • Make sure to set the heat mode low to prevent the stain from being cooked into the wood. 
  1. Polish the area to seal. 
  • Once the stain has dried, seal the area to ward off excess moisture and to make it appear new.
  • Choose an oil-based wood polish seal.
  • Use a clean and dry cloth to spread the polish across the wood surface. 

For Old Stains

Removing old stains, for the most part, proves to be more critical. Thus, it naturally entails several options before finally settling into a successful result. 

The tips on how to remove stain from wood (old stain)  are as follows…

Tip #1. Use butter and ashes. 

  • Mix ashes (from any burnt materials) with melted butter. 
  • Dip a clean cloth into the mixture. 
  • Slightly wet the cloth (with the mixture).
  • Rub the cloth in the area. 
  • Continue rubbing until you notice the marks spreading slightly. 
  • Use another clean wet cloth to rub the surface. 
  • Make sure to rub gently until stain is removed. 

Tip #2. Use a magic eraser. 

  • Purchase a magic eraser. 
  • Wet the eraser with a few drops of water. 
  • Wipe the wood surface with the eraser along its grain. 
  • Do several wipes if needed (especially on hard stains or marks).

Tip #3. Use an iron. 

Remove Water Stain from Wood Table with an Iron

  • Use an iron both wet and heat stains. 
  • Lay a cloth made of cotton into the affected area. 
  • Press the cloth into the surface. 
  • Turn on the iron and set it to its lowest possible temperature.
  • Place the warm iron on top of the cloth. 
  • Leave it for 8-10 seconds. 
  • Check the wood surface from time to time until the stain is completely gone. 

Tip #4. Use a watermark remover. 

  • Purchase a watermark remover. 
  • Prepare necessary gears as indicated in the product’s instructions. 
  • Refer entirely to the product instructions for a successful result. 

Tip #5. Use a hardwood floor cleaner.

  • Purchase a hardwood floor cleaner. 
  • If the product is not contained in a spray bottle, transfer it. 
  • Refer entirely to its instructions for a successful result.

Tip #6. Use petroleum jelly.

  • Apply a pint of petroleum jelly (via either fingers or a cloth) into the affected area. 
  • Spread the jelly into the surface, but not too excessively. 
  • Leave it to soak overnight. 
  • Buff the same area with another clean and dry cloth in the morning.

Tip #7. Use bleach. 

  • Purchase a wood bleach in removing watermarks. 
  • In a small container, mix wood bleach with water. 
  • Mix them thoroughly using a toothbrush. 
  • Apply the mixture to the surface using the brush.
  • Rub brush into the surface very mildly. 
  • Allow soaking for 5 hours. 
  • Mix 2 drops of water and one drop of vinegar into a sponge.
  • Rub the sponge into the surface. Do it very gently. 
  • Allow the solution to soak and dry. 
  • Once dried, seal/polish/apply finish into the wood surface. 

Tip #8. Use vinegar. 


  • Mix one teaspoon of vinegar with oil. 
  • Apply the mixture by rubbing it into the area using any dry cloth. 
  • After entirely removing the stain, absorb all remaining substances using a strong absorbent material. 
  • Press hard the material onto the surface. Let it sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the material to apply the finish. 

Tip #9. Use toothpaste.

  • Apply toothpaste (strictly white toothpaste) into the affected area. 
  • Wipe off the toothpaste using a soft absorbent material or cotton cloth. 
  • Redo the process if necessary. 
  • Mix 3 drops of oil (preferably olive oil) with a teaspoon of salt thoroughly. 
  • Apply the mixture to the surface. 
  • Allow it to soak for 15 minutes. 
  • Wipe the mixture off using a clean cotton cloth or any absorbent material.

Tip #12. Use baking soda. 

  • Thoroughly mix one tablespoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of water. 
  • Spread and administer the mixture to the surface using a dry cloth
  • Leave it to soak overnight. 
  • Wipe the area with another clean and slightly wet cloth in the morning. 
  • Apply finish once dried. 

The basic tips above will surely save your wood (furniture, floor, surface) from water stain damage.

But removing water stains from the wood surface is bound to fail without polishing or applying finish on it after. 

To help you with that, check out our favorite wood polish product below for removing water stains from wood…

Best Wood Polish Product in 2023

It’s not frequent that one can come across a commercial, yet organic wood polish product. Moreover, this product goes as versatile as sealing, polishing, and even providing finish on wood surfaces. 

Come, take a look and see our best-reviewed product…

Howard Products FW0016 Wood Polish & Conditioner

Howard Products FW0016 Wood Polish & Conditioner


Perhaps one of the most versatile wood polish and conditioners in the market today, this Howard product is simply designed to save unfinished wood from water stains. 

With mostly an organic solution – Carnauba wax, Beeswax, conditioning oils and other wood minerals – the Howard Products Wood Polish & Conditioner no longer requires you to manually remove stains from the wood; it does all that by itself, while also coating or polishing the wood at the same time. 

Perfectly fitting all wood types, age (whether it’s antique or not), conditions (finished or unfinished), and existing coatings, this product fulfills an inclusive action vis a vis the wood quality. Simply said, it realizes several effects at one application – coating, finishing, enhancement, conditioning, and polishing. 

It achieves all of these without posing threats or the slightest difficulties. 

  • Organic & safe material
  • Protects and enhances wood
  • Multipurpose; versatile package
  • Full of minerals and essential ingredients
  • Restores wood shine and luster
  • Removes stain of varied types
  • Leaves residues
  • Quick-dry
  • Strong-scented



Treating stains on unfinished wood firstly requires determining the source of the stain. For water-based stains, these tips on how to remove water stains from unfinished wood should work best. 

But, it simply doesn’t end there, because one has had to treat the stains based on the length of time the stain has concentrated into the wood surface. Considering these details is key to salvaging stained unfinished wood. 

Surely enough, thanks to these tips, you’d get to behold a fresh, new-looking wood surface, albeit stained. 

And one more thing: don’t’ forget to purchase our featured product: the Howard Products Wood Polish and Conditioner!

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