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How to try to get water stains and scratches off of wood

September 16, 2010

Running out to get ice-coffee I ran into this little cute table on my curb. I have been trying to figure out where to put some of my glass candle holders – I always pick up a few of these when I am in Sweden – and this just seemed like it could be the place. So it came with me home.

On a side-note. People often ask me if I am not afraid of getting “uninvited guests” (read bed bugs) into my home when I pick up things from the street.
Yes I am. Terrified. So I have made up some rules.
  1. Nothing made out of fabric or upholstered will come with me home. I have to absolutely be in LOVE with it in order for it to come along and then a different set of rules apply.
  2. Whatever I pick up always has to stay outside of the apartment for 24 hours to get a closer inspection
  3. When it does come in it goes directly in the shower where it gets a thorough scrub before it is ready for any type of TLC.
So back to my table – it went through the process above and at a closer look you can see that it was not only scratched by also water stained.
What to do? Well, if there is one thing I have learned during my years here in the US is that baking soda is essentially the answer to everything.
This of course, also applies to treating water stains on wood tables.

I mixed baking soda with water and laid it on thick and waited about half of an hour before washing it off.

Maybe baking soda can do a lot of tricks but it did not seem to be up on water stain treatment. Next I knew you could rub oil and salt or even mayonnaise. But I felt it begun to turn into more of a cooking class so decided to forget about the water stain and instead focus on the scratch. My answer to scratches is a trusty, good nut! Any nut would surely do but I happened to have a walnut. You just rub it on the scratch and the oils in the nuts fills in the scratch. Sort of. It kind of depends on what type of scratch we are talking about.
I did that and then I went looking for my walnut stain. A few thin layers of that that I gently wiped off and a few thin layers of lacquer and that was that. The table looks great – with scratches, water stains and everything – I guess we could say I just toned them down a little.
Any tips on how to remove stains, loosen up screws and get candle wax off of your granma’s table cloth using baking soda or any other way – send them along!

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