How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood

How to Remove Heat Stains from Wood (10 Easy Ways in 2024)

Heat stains can be pesky, unattractive stains that can ruin any piece of wooden furniture.

Whether it’s your kitchen table, or your wooden desk that you left your hot coffee mug on for too long, it can feel impossible to get rid of these annoying stains.

In this post, I’ll explore how to remove heat stains from wood, how to detect heat stains, a few tips when removing heat stains, and much more. Let’s get started!


Some of the best ways to remove heat stains from wood include:

  • Rubbing the stain with toothpaste and baking soda
  • Sanding the surface
  • Use steel wool with oil

What Do Heat Stains Look Like?

Heat Stain on Kitchen Table

Heat stains often have a white appearance like shown below. These stains can cause your wood surface to look worn and unfinished.

If you let the hot item sit on the surface for too long, it might even start to turn black and give a charred appearance.

Do Heat Stains Go Away?

Before working on the removal process for heat stains, it might be tempting to see if the heat stains will disappear on their own.

Do you need to remove heat stains, or will they clear up over time? What happens if you leave them alone for an extended period after they appear on the surface?

Heat stains on wood furniture do not go away over time – in fact, they often get worse and trickier to handle.

The second you notice heat stains, it’s time to act.

The quicker you can remove the damage, the better chance you have at returning the wood surface to the way it was before.

The best way to know if a mark is a heat stain is by understanding what causes this harm. Several items can cause heat stains. It’s critical to be aware of these for the best results.

What Causes Heat Stains?

What causes heat stains on wood furniture? You would be surprised to note the items that can place white heat marks on the wooden pieces in your home.

Here are a few of the most common items that can put heat stains on wood furniture:

  • A hot pizza box with oil-soaked through
  • Cups of coffee, tea, or other hot beverages
  • Bowls of soup or a similar hot dish with some condensation

For many, it’s normal to place these hot items on wood furniture without a second thought after a meal or a drink.

Heat stains appear when the heat from the item opens the pores in the wooden furniture. This action allows the piece to retain more water than usual. When the wood cools, the pores shrink, and the water stays inside. As a result, you get heat stains on the surface.

Sometimes, heat stains can appear even if the object isn’t hot!

It’s critical to take precautions if you want to avoid the addition of heat stains to your best furniture.

Prevent Heat Stains

Can You Prevent Heat Marks?

At the end of the day, prevention is always a better tactic than removal for the sake of your wood.

There are several ways you can prevent heat marks on your wood furniture or other wooden surfaces.

Here are a few of the most practical ways to stop the damage before it happens:

  • Purchase coasters to put under mugs or dishes when they are set on a wood surface
  • Get a varnish or wax to coat the surface of the wood
  • Place a towel or similar item over the wood

These provide a layer of defense between the damaging item and the wood surface underneath.

For the best results, it’s best to assume that anything and everything can cause heat marks.

Removing Heat Marks from Wood

10 Ways to Remove Heat Stains from Wood

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to remove heat stains from wood.

Some are worse than others for your wood, but all are effective in getting rid of heat damage. Let’s talk about a few of the best techniques you can try for your wood pieces.

If you want to learn how to remove heat stains from wood, here are a few methods to consider:

  • Utilize Toothpaste
  • Use a Hairdryer
  • Work with Mayonnaise
  • Try Vinegar and Olive Oil
  • Take Advantage of Oil and Salt
  • Operate an Iron
  • Utilize Wood Restoration
  • Sand the Wood
  • Add Petroleum Jelly
  • Work with Steel Wool

Let’s explore each method to help you better understand how you can remove heat marks and restore your wood surface in no time.

If you happen to have some paint stains on your floors, check out these ways to remove paint from hardwood floors!

Utilize Toothpaste

The first technique makes use of a common household item – toothpaste.

Almost everyone has a tube in their bathroom, so you should already have access to everything you need right in your home. It only takes a few tools for the removal process.

Here’s how you can use toothpaste to remove the white heat stains from your wooden surface:

  • Gather your tools – toothpaste, baking soda, and a clean cloth
  • Clean the wood with a cloth, either wet or dry
  • Mix one tablespoon of toothpaste with two tablespoons of baking soda
  • Rub the mixture on the stain, ensuring you cover every bit of it
  • Let sit for ten minutes for the best results
  • Utilize the cloth to wipe the toothpaste mixture off the burn mark

The mark should be gone one this process is complete.

You must use white, non-gel toothpaste for this process.

The paste and baking soda work together to react with the stain. It’s one of the most popular ways to get rid of burn marks on wooden furniture.

Use a Hairdryer

Another way to remove the heat stains is with more heat.

Heat is the item that caused the stain, and it’s possible for heat to also become the solution to the problem.

This method is a little riskier – if performed wrong, you might find yourself stuck with more heat stains on the surface.

Here is how you can remove heat stains from wood with a hair dryer:

  • Gather your tools – a hairdryer and a cloth
  • Clean the surface of the wood with a cloth, either wet or dry
  • Plug in the hair dryer near the wood
  • Ensure the dryer is on the lowest heat setting before turning it on
  • Gently wave the hair dryer over the stain until it disappears

To protect the wood, you must have the hair dryer in the lowest possible setting.

Hold it at least five inches away from the stained area to prevent additional damage from adhering to the wood.

This method is a little tricky, but it’s less messy than a majority of the other choices on this list.

Work with Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a tasty food on a sandwich, but it also works well to get rid of unsightly heat stains on wood pieces.

The oil in the mayonnaise is what makes it work – it helps release the liquid stuck inside the pores. Of course, too much can be a pain to clean off, so be aware of how much you put on the surface.

Here’s how you can remove the heat stains from wood with mayonnaise:

  • Gather your supplies – mayonnaise and a cloth
  • Clean the surface with a cloth, wet or dry
  • Put a layer of mayonnaise on the stain
  • Let the mayonnaise sit for about two hours
  • After two hours, clean off the mayonnaise to reveal a clean surface

Mayonnaise might seem like a solution that is too good to be true, but many individuals have proven this method effective.

If you have some in your fridge, it might work well for removing heat marks. It’s worth a shot!

Try Vinegar and Olive Oil

Vinegar is a powerful tool that has always been utilized as a stain remover.

When combined with olive oil, the two substances work well as a way to get trapped moisture out of the wood pores.

These two ingredients are also easy to find in most kitchens, so it shouldn’t cost much to get the heat stains out of a wooden table.

Here’s how you can remove a heat stain with a combination of vinegar and olive oil:

  • Gather your supplies – vinegar, olive oil, and a cloth
  • Clean the surface with a cloth, wet or dry
  • Mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil in a container
  • Paint the mixture on the stains in an even manner
  • Let it sit for about an hour
  • Wipe off the remaining mixture with a cloth

White stains are a pain to handle, but they don’t stand a chance against this unique combination.

If you already have vinegar and olive oil in your cupboard, try them as a removal method on your wood pieces.

Take Advantage of Oil and Salt

Oil and salt work in the same way as mayonnaise does.

The salt works to dry out the water and the oil opens up the pores. You can utilize either olive oil or vegetable oil to complete the process effectively.

Here’s how you can remove the stains with a mixture of oil and salt:

  • Gather your materials – oil, salt, and a cloth
  • Clean the wooden surface with a cloth, wet or dry
  • Mix oil and salt until it turns into a paste
  • Put the mixture on the stain
  • Let it sit for an hour
  • Wipe off the remainder after the time runs out

This method can be a little messy. Still, it’s an excellent way to tackle a white heat stain on a wood table or other surface.

Use an Iron

If you feel uncomfortable utilizing a hair dryer as we discussed above, an iron is another way to apply heat to remove damage.

The iron method allows you to get closer to the wood and add a layer of protection during the process. Some prefer this method over the hair dryer alternative.

Here’s how you can utilize an iron to remove a heat stain from wood:

  • Gather your materials – an iron that can steam, wood finish, and a cloth
  • Clean the table with a cloth, wet or dry
  • Put the cloth over the stain
  • Put the iron on the lowest heat
  • Move the iron over the stain
  • After, add the wood finish

If the stain won’t come out, apply some steam to open up the wood pores further than just heat will on the stain.

An iron is an excellent tool that can be used to remove a heat stain from wood. Ensure you keep it on the lowest setting to avoid putting more heat damage on the wood than what is already there.

Utilize Wood Restoration

Wood restoration should be a last resort or something to take advantage of if you don’t have the time to perform any listed methods.

This action will cost you a decent amount of money, as a professional might be needed to complete the process.

Here’s how you can fix the stains with restoration:

  • Search online for a reliable restorer
  • Consider your budget
  • Contact the best company
  • Bring the piece into them

It’s best to restore if you have multiple heats stains or one that is too deeply ingrained for a homemade removal technique to work.

Sand the Wood

Like restoration, sanding the stain should be one of the last items you consider.

With finished wood pieces, you might damage them further with the abrasive surface of the sandpaper.

Here’s how you can sand the stain off the wood:

  • Gather your supplies – cloth, sandpaper, and stain
  • Wipe off the wood with a cloth, wet or dry
  • Gently sand the stain away
  • Utilize wood stain to fix the surface

Sanding is tricky to accomplish without ruining the wood. Ensure you only try this method if there is no other option left for the stain.

Check out these differences between a belt sander and orbital sander to know which one you should use!

Add Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is another excellent way to remove white heat stains from your furniture.

Many people already have petroleum jelly, but if you don’t, it should be available at any grocery or drugstore you can find.

Here’s how you can utilize petroleum jelly to remove a heat stain:

  • Gather your supplies – petroleum jelly and cloth
  • Wipe the table off with a clean cloth, wet or dry
  • Put the petroleum jelly on the stain
  • Let it sit for an hour
  • Wipe off the excess jelly

The best part about petroleum jelly is that it doesn’t have a smell and you likely already have it on hand. It’s an easy way to get rid of white heat marks that might appear on your wooden pieces over time.

Work with Steel Wool

Steel wool is a less abrasive version of sandpaper. This method requires a careful hand – you need to select the right size and abrasion level to prevent additional damage from your wooden pieces.

If you don’t feel confident in your ability, it might be better to try another method so you don’t further damage the wood.

Here’s how you can take advantage of steel wool to get rid of heat stains:

  • Gather your supplies – fine grade steel wool, oil, and a clean cloth
  • Clean the surface with a cloth, wet or dry
  • Soak the steel wool in a container of oil
  • Rub the mark with the wool until it disappears

When scrubbing the surface, try not to use too much pressure. The goal is to remove the heat mark and not damage the wood any further.

Steel wool is effective, but sometimes it can be too effective. Ensure you are as cautious as possible to avoid an expensive restoration if things go wrong.

Need more help? Check out the video below!


Can you get heat stains out of wood?

Yes! You can get heat stains out of wood by using a few different techniques. Between using toothpaste and baking soda or sanding the wood surface, there are many methods you can try to remove heat marks from your wood.

Does mayonnaise remove heat stains from wood?

Yes! Mayonnaise can be used as a home remedy for some heat stains. Just apply the mayonnaise, let it sit for a couple of hours, and wipe it away to find your heat mark gone.

Are wood stains permanent?

Not all wood stains are permanent. While some are more difficult to remove than others, you can almost always remove them by sanding down the surface.

Final Thoughts on How to Get Heat Stains Out of Wood

There’s a strong chance you’ll run into heat stains on your wooden table or other surface at some point.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can remove stains and white marks quickly.

Between using a hot iron, baking soda, and even fine grade steel wool – there are several methods you can try.

Of course, prevention is always better than removal.

Try coasters or a sealant to provide a defense for your wood against potential items that might come in contact. Try to get in the habit of putting a layer between your dish and the wood furniture beneath it. The more you protect, the lower the chance of damage!