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Removing Furniture Discoloration and Stains


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From discoloration to scratches, the surface of your wooden furniture is vulnerable to several kinds of damage. Most of these problems, however, can be fixed. A majority of the finishes, in fact, already have a protective coating. Here are some of the common problems.

White spots

Lacquer and shellac finishes aren't resistant to alcohol and water. Condensation from glasses and spills can leave a permanent white spot and ring on the finishes. For removing these spots, first try to polish the surface of your wooden furniture with some liquid furniture polish. Buff the surface firmly. When this doesn't work, use denatured alcohol for staining the surface. Use only minimum alcohol. Too much could damage the finish.

If neither the alcohol treatment nor the polish removes the spots, treat the damaged surface with abrasives. You can purchase a gentle abrasive from any home-supply store. You can also make your own. Mix some cigarette ashes to some drops of light mineral or linseed oil. Form a paste and rub it on the surface of your wooden furniture with a soft cloth. Repeat the process, if necessary. Stubborn spots often require several applications. After this, polish the complete surface with wax.

If rubbing ashes isn't effective, rub the stained surface of your wooden furniture with a mixture of linseed oil and rotten stone. Mix the two to a thin paste and then rub the paste gently over the stains. Rotten stone is a fast cutting abrasive and you've to rub very carefully. You need to check the surface frequently so as to ensure that you're not cutting deep. No sooner the white spots disappear, stop the rubbing and wipe the wood with a soft and clean cloth.


This is a white haze on the large surface of the wooden furniture and is a common problem with old lacquer and shellac finishes. The discoloration is often caused by moisture and can be removed in the same way.

Buff the surface evenly and lightly with steel wool that's dipped in linseed oil. Work along the grain of your wooden furniture. Rub evenly over the entire surface until the haze disappears. Wipe clean the wood with soft cloth. Apply two coats of a hard furniture wax and then buff the surface to shine.

Blushing is often caused by re-amalgamation. If the surface of your wooden furniture is crazed, re-amalgamation must be used, rather than steel-wool rubbing. If neither re-amalgamation nor rubbing removes the stain, the furniture has to be re-finished.

Black spots

These are often caused by water that penetrates into the finish. They can't be removed sans damaging the finish. If the spots appear on a clear and defined surface, you may be successful in removing the finish from the surface only. Else, the full wooden furniture may need to be stripped. Whenever the finish has been removed completely, you have to bleach the stained surface with oxalic acid solution. Then, re-finish your furniture as necessary.

It doesn't take effort to remove stains and discoloration from wooden furniture. You just need to learn the proper techniques.

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