After a flood or a fire, it can be distressing to walk into your home and see your furniture and personal items that have been damaged by water. You may want to get started trying to restore your items right away. While it's always best to wait for instructions from the water damage restoration professionals, there are some restoration efforts that you can begin on your own. Removing water stains from your wood furniture can be a fairly manageable DIY task if you know what you're doing. Once your home is safe to re-enter and the water has been removed from the floor, you can get started working on your furniture. Here are some methods that can help you remove water stains from your wood furniture.
The Iron Method
If you can get to the furniture and begin restorations fairly quickly, the iron method should be your first attempt at removing stains – it's effective, but it works best if the water damage is only a few days old. Furniture that has been sitting longer than that may need a different approach.
All that you need for the iron method is a typical household iron and a cotton towel. Start by emptying any water from the iron – steam won't help the situation. Set the temperature on the iron to low, and place the towel over the stain. Apply the iron to the towel, then lift the towel to see if the stain has been reduced. It might take several passes with the iron before you see significant results. Ideally, the heat from the iron will evaporate the moisture and lift the stain. For table or chair legs, you can use a hair dryer instead of an iron for the same evaporative effect.
The Mayonnaise Method
It may sound strange, but you can actually remove water stains from furniture with the help of a few tablespoons of mayonnaise. This method should be your next step if the iron method doesn't work, but the stains are still white and cloudy, rather than dark.
To remove water stains with mayonnaise, apply the mayonnaise to a paper towel, and then gently place the paper towel on the water mark, and allow it to remain in place for at least 15 minutes. More stubborn stains may require you to leave the mayonnaise on the wood for a longer period of time. Remove the paper towel and wipe off the mayonnaise to see if the stain has lifted. If the stain is still there, try the mayonnaise treatment again, but this time, add wood ashes to the mayonnaise before applying it to the wood.
The Strip and Stain Method
When water has been in contact with the wood for a long time, or when there's simply been a lot of water in contact with the wood, you may notice that the water stains are dark instead of white or light colored. This means that the water has penetrated beyond the surface and into the wood's finish. The only way to get rid of dark water stains is to strip the water stained area and refinish it. You can do that with oxalic acid, hot water, sandpaper, tack cloth, and wood stain. You can find the materials that you need in any home improvement store.
Oxalic acid is sold in crystalized form. You will need to melt the crystals in hot water before beginning. Apply the melted crystals to the stained area, and allow the mixture to dry – you'll see a powdery substance on the surface when it's dried. Rinse the dried crystals off, and use the sandpaper to sand the surface, then smooth the area and remove any wood particles with the tack cloth. Finally, stain the area with a wood stain that matches the color of the rest of the piece of furniture.
Although you may not be able to save everything after a flood or a fire, water damaged furniture is usually salvageable with one of these methods. Repairing your own furniture can also help you gain a sense of control after a stressful event. If you need help repairing other areas of your home, don't hesitate to contact a local water damage restoration company.