How To Remove Water Marks From Furniture

17 November
Today I'm sharing an all natural method I tried to remove some pretty big water stains on a vintage furniture piece.

caring for vintage furniture

I found this awesome Hall Tree on Craigslist.

It has two double coat hooks on either side and my favorite part is the cute little wavy mirror and little shelf under the mirror.

There is a little storage area where you could put your purse and umbrella storage next to that!

This is the label inside the door. I looked up Lebus Furniture and found a pretty interesting site {here}. If you go to the gallery you can see some pretty cool old catalogs, lots of Mid-Century Modern!

I believe mine is an earlier art deco piece and probably not worth a whole lot. I found one on eBay up for auction for $77. It has 23 watchers though so I'm watching now too just to see.

It doesn't matter to me though, I love it and I only paid $45!!

The umbrella holder still even has the metal tray in the bottom to catch the water. (Side note: I'm now on the hunt for some cute old umbrellas!)

Now we'll get to the water marks... It all looks pretty good except the top of the cupboard portion.

See all those water stains? The previous owner had plants sitting on it :o(

So I found a simple method on Pinterest. It almost seemed too simple but I had the ingredients in the kitchen (I think everyone does) so I thought "why not?" All it is is olive oil and regular table salt. Here is the method:
  1. Mix it up so it's a thick paste.
  2. Wipe it in a thick coat over the damaged areas and leave it to sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. Then wipe it off. I used a plastic paint scraper to slide the thick salty mess off onto a paper plate and then I used a paper towel to wipe up the rest.
The salt draws the moisture from the water stains OUT of the wood and the olive oil conditions the wood!

Now by no means does this look like new but it looks tons better in my opinion. I think it would have looked even better if the actual finish wasn't already coming off in places. See the darker areas? That's where the olive oil soaked into the wood where the finish was coming off.

I had to use my flash on my camera to get the picture too which also makes it look worse than it does in real life.

Here's a side-by-side... what do you think?

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  1. Nice job! I'll have to try that technique on my new/old dining room table. I didn't think these ideas worked on old water rings but you sure had great success!

  2. It looks much better! I'm surprised, too, that it worked on old marks. I might have to try that on a table i've got w/an ugly ring. Love the framed deer head! And i think you're over reacting to the doorbell. It isn't that bad! But if it was the same color as the wall it would blend better, i suppose.

  3. Great trick! Do you want to know a trick for helping get rid of (tone down) scratches and scuffs on stained wood furniture like this? Mix 1 part white vinegar, 1 part canola/olive oil. Rub all over with dry cotton cloth. Wipe off with clean cotton cloth.

    1. Great tip Melissa, thanks! I'll have to try that out!


  4. Hi Tania,
    I think the wood top looks so much better now, you can't see 'rings'...and I love that this piece is old and has history - it's beautiful! I can picture vintage umbrellas in there too, or were they parasols? ;)
    What a great idea to put the deer head there, it's perfect. And I can so relate to previous homeowners doing lazy/crazy things, dang it...why did they not have those removed?
    The doorbell cover I would paint white, we did that in one of our bathrooms with an old exhaust fan cover that was off white and it worked like a charm.
    Love the wall hanging too, pretty!
    Hugs, Kimberley

    1. Thanks Kimberley. I think I will just paint the doorbell white. It's just too high up to try and hang anything over it and I wouldn't know what else to do so paint it is!! :o)


  5. The hall tree is awesome. Old canes would look cute in the umbrella holder too.

  6. Well I knew about the olive oil but did not know about the salt. Pinning. Thanks for the tip .

  7. What a great tip for getting rid of water marks. We're always on the lookout for ways to bring back wood to its natural glory. I saw your link at the Vintage Inspiration Party. Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey

  8. What an interesting piece, Tania; I've never seen anything quite like it. You really improved the surface with your homemade restorer--so glad you passed that on. Ingenious use of your awesome deer head! Thanks so much for linking up with Vintage Charm :)


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