DIY Furniture Repair: Removing Stains from Wood Furniture

Wooden furniture is beautiful but extremely susceptible to damage. A wet glass on a wooden coffee table can create white rings that seem nearly possible to erase. Luckily, a few cheap, specific materials are all you need to get rid of these stains. All you need is a soft rag, a pair of rubber gloves, and a mineral spirit. Don’t rush to refinish the piece of furniture as soon as a stain appears; buy a small, cheap container of mineral spirits and let the solvent get to work.


First, soak a soft rag in mineral spirits. Then, rub this rag on the stain. If the furniture’s original finish has a coating of wax, it is likely that only the wax has been stained. This solvent will remove the wax without harming the underlying finish. When doing this, it is essential to exercise patience; mineral spirits may take a few minutes to soften the material. At times, this material will erase the stain but dull the surrounding area. If this happens, clean the entire surface of the furniture with mineral spirits and apply a new coat of furniture wax.


If mineral spirits don’t work, moisten a new rag with denatured alcohol. However, before applying the material to the stain, do a spot test in an inconspicuous spot on the furniture; denatured alcohol can damage some finishes, so it is important to check the effect it will have on your furniture. If the spot test does no damage within ten minutes, proceed to the stain. If you don’t see any stain results after five minutes of rubbing, the denatured alcohol is not working.


If both mineral spirits and denatured alcohol do not work, your last option is to refinish the piece of furniture. However, testing these easy, DIY solutions may save you time and money. If they don’t work, do not be discouraged—the material may be handy in another refinishing or stain removal project down the road.