Simple Solutions Are The Best

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that I am a girl who could never pass up on a bargain. I love yard sales, second hand stores and getting a good deal, especially when I find something I’ve been looking for. I drive an SUV just so that I have room to bring home some of those deals.

Last weekend Dave and I were out and about, checking out the yard sales, when I spied the table and chairs of my dreams at an estate sale. The set was solid oak, not a scratch on it, and the four chairs were beautiful and sturdy. I had to ask myself why they were getting rid of such a beautiful set.

The owner said that they were moving and they didn’t have the space for it at their new place. Hmmm…

On closer examination I saw that there were white water stains on the tabletop. Lots of them. They had strategically placed other items for sale over the stains, to hide them. The people said that there was a product you could buy at Home Depot that would take those stains right out. I wondered why, if it was that easy, they didn’t do that before putting the table for sale.

The price was right and we wanted to believe that the stains would actually come out, so we bought it, brought it home and set it up in our dining area. It was so beautiful except for those stains. I went online to find homemade solutions and found a wealth of ideas, many of which I tried, none of which worked.

That was disappointing.

However, I did learn that if the stains were white, the damage had not penetrated the wood; if they were dark, then the wood was already damaged.

My son was visiting and he mentioned something about using an iron on the stains. I thought that was logical because if the water was trapped between the finish and the wood, perhaps an application of heat would dry the moisture up. It was kind of confusing because I had not seen this solution anywhere online.

So I decided to give it a try before getting some product that just might damage the finish. Here are some of the white stains. Can you relate?

stains w ovals

I put a tea towel over each stain, heated the iron on the cotton setting, and ironed while counting to 20. There’s nothing magic about counting to 20; it was just my gauge for making sure I didn’t burn the table.


It worked! I did have to ‘iron’ the stains a couple of times but as you can see, the stain removal is complete.

clean table

Et voila!!

finished set

All this just goes to show that sometimes the simplest and  most logical solutions are the best. This is a beautiful oak set, made in Quebec with two leafs and a gear opening. I believe that the seller could have gotten much more than we paid if he had taken the time to remove the stains.