This is the question I get asked the most. How do I remove the white rings and spots on my furniture. Given enough time, water can cause as much damage to wood as can fire. The first step in removing a fresh white spot or ring is simply to do nothing except remove the source of the moisture and any remaining on the woods surface. Then wait.

(Do not apply any furniture polish)

What the white ring consists of is water vapor trapped on the surface of the finish. In some instances, fresh white rings will disappear if given the time to be absorbed by dry air. High humidity will slow this process. A hair dryer will speed up the process, but set it on low and use discretion. Do not, however,presume that if a little heat is good, more heat is better-and reach for the heat gun. The white ring may disappear, but only because you melted the finish around it.

If the white ring refuses to leave on it’s own, then you must try the following three suggestions:

  1. If your table has a satin or dull sheen, grab a pad of OOOO Steel wool and some lemon oil or wool lube. Put some on the pad and rub the spot moving in the direction of the grain. Once the spot is gone, you may need to rub the rest of the table top so the sheen is even. Make sure you go with the grain in long even
    strokes from one end to the other. To finish the task, simply wipe off the remaining oil and apply your favorite polish.
  2. If you have a glossy sheen, You may try using a little bit of white tooth paste on a dry cotton towel. If this leaves a glossier spot than the rest of the table, then you will need to get some rubbing compounds and polishes like you would use on a car’s finish. If a mirror finish is not what you want, you can always adjust it
    down with the OOOO steel wool. Don’t forget to use your favorite polish when your done.
  3. Another simple remedy that sometimes works, is to spread some Vaseline on the damage and wipe it off after the spot is gone.

If none of these has worked, then the moisture has penetrated through the finish and is not repairable without refinishing.