How to Remove White Heat Marks on Furniture - Juniper Home

How to Remove White Heat Marks on Furniture

Tips of the Trade


During the holidays we had some friends over for a dinner party. We served an extra hot meal that night and after everyone left and the dishes were cleared and the table linens removed, I discovered foggy white marks all over my beautiful new table. This one was the smallest, though brightest mark.

Before I had a chance to freak out too much, my husband did some googling and we discovered that on some pieces of furniture if moisture (usually from the steam condensation on a hot dish) gets under the finish, white splotches called heat marks will appear and will stick around until treated.

You’ll be surprised to learn, as I was, that to remedy heat marks, you apply… more heat and moisture! Weird, right? I just used two folded over clean white linen napkins and sprayed them down a little with water. You want there to be several layers of cloth between your iron and the table surface. Then I ironed over the napkins on top of the heat marks for about 15 seconds with the iron on a medium heat/steam setting. Don’t just set the iron down though – keep it moving.

I have no clue why my table looks so dark here. Must have messed up the camera settings.

It was like magic and the heat marks disappeared (though in these photos I can see I missed a spot that doesn’t show in person).

Anyway, random post today, but I thought maybe some of you might have had a similar issue with your wood furniture. Or if in the future you see these heat marks on a thrift store table, don’t pass on it – it’s an easy 15 second fix. I can remember one gorgeous coffee table that I didn’t buy because of it’s heat marks. I thought I would need to strip and refinish the whole thing! Who knew?

**A little disclaimer: this trick worked for me, but I guess a few other readers have not had success. It might be wise for you to try a less conspicuous area on your table first. Be sure you’re using damp cloths with your iron on a medium setting with steam. And be sure to keep your iron moving!**
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223 thoughts on “How to Remove White Heat Marks on Furniture

  1. I have several antiques that have developed whitish-gray spots and streaks. These pieces are dressers and secretaries and have NEVER had anything hot placed on them. In fact, the dresser has the white marks on the drawers which aren’t possibly marked by heat. Please let me know if you have any info on how to remove these marks. These are old pieces so I don’t know their finishes. THANKS

    1. Try fine salt spread over everywhere there’s a white Mark. Let it set for a few days. It might suck out the moisture. That causes the White Market.

  2. Thank you Thank you Thank you for putting this on the internet. It worked for my oak veneer table that I love. I thought a crockpot left steaming on it ruined it forever.

  3. Thank you very much, I was sad about white marks on my table by this way all marks disappeared and, I’m so happy .. Thanks a lot for your help.

  4. Little Green Noebook!!!
    I cannot thank you enough for this miraculous DIY home remedy!!! I put a hot plate on my bed side dresser and it left a foggy mark. My husband called me today IRATE….(21 years retired military) he was livid believe me when I say that! I was panicking cause he loves our bedroom set and I thought it was ruined forever. Your remedy worked like magic, and I was skeptical yet, praying that it works!! So….thank you thank you thank you!

  5. It didn’t seem sensible to IRON my beloved table but I gave it a go and IT WORKED.!! I had left a coffee cafetiere on the table several years ago and the resulting round “FOG” had bugged me ever since. Thank you.

  6. Will it work on kitchen cabinets? I have the white film on the cabinet above my stove. The microwave is installed to the cabinet. I think when I cook especially pasta boiling, the steam rises and discolors my beautiful cherry cabinets. Help

  7. Will it work on kitchen cabinets? I have the white film on the cabinet above my stove. The microwave is installed to the cabinet. I think when I cook especially pasta boiling, the steam rises and discolors my beautiful cherry cabinets. Your previous answers were for a table top . I/m asking will it work on a cabinet a kitchen cabinet.

  8. I can’t believe how this worked. We had a huge spot on our dresser from a vaporizer. We were just sick when we saw it. Had tried using mayo and it did nothing. Had to leave for a family emergency. We were gone for three months. The first thing I did upon arriving was this and it looks perfect. I wish I would have taken photos.

  9. Wow!! I tried this method on my dining room table and it worked like a charm! My beautiful dining room table looks like it’s old self again. Thank you so much for posting this!!’

      1. I haven’t tried this ironing trick, but my kitchen table’s sealer is very prone to these heat marks. I’ve seen these marks appear if a pizza box is too hot or if my kids let a hot waffle triangle fall off of the serving plate – for only a few minutes!

        What worked for me, is smearing a layer of a white grainy toothpaste (like Ultrabrite, Pepsodent, or Colgate) over the heat mark and scrubbing it in a circular motion with a soft towel. On a few of these marks, I had to take several passes and really work at it, but the toothpaste has always been successful in completely removing the heat marks! Good luck!

      1. This method was amazing!!! Thank you so so much! The method that was posted just made mine worse but as soon as I put the white toothpaste on, it came off immediately! I am so happy!

    1. When I read the post above, I got to thinking: Do you have to put the damp linen and iron ONLY where there is a stain to keep from creating more stains?

  10. I used a hand towel (no moisture) and an iron not set on steam. The heat lifted the moisture from the veneer after several applications and completely removed a huge ugly white cloudy ring! I was amazed!

  11. Thanks so much!! I was in a panic! We were putting up some corn and had it spread out on the table on some towels and you could tell exactly where the corn laid when we cleared the table off! White marks everywhere and I started googling and this came up first and I did it and it worked great!! Thanks so much!!

  12. I thought I did not have anything to lose so I tried it. Now I also have a huge white foggy mark!!!!!!

  13. My husband put a hot paper plate directly on our kitchen table today and I was horrified when I saw the white marks! I read this post and tried the less aggressive methods before using my iron. It worked!! Thank you so much for the tip!

  14. OMG! OMG! OMG! I’m not usually an OMG-er but this was amazing! We were about to post our table on Craigslist because we had given up. It was REALLY bad. Tried this on a small spot and then yelled for my husband. We just kept ironing and ironing and ironing. We are keeping the table!

    There is some remaining fog that I wonder if I’m creating as I iron, maybe too long? Maybe not enough water? I’m going to do some tests tomorrow to get every last wisp.

    Thank you so much!

  15. Thanks so much for posting this! I just tried it on my Italian wood dining table which had a sizeable white mark left after someone put a hot pot on it. It worked like a dream! I used 2 dish cloths that I wet with water from a spray bottle and after ironing them on the cotton setting for about 20 seconds, the mark was gone! So happy.

  16. oh my. My husband put a hot loaf on my mahogany Chippendale 10-place table! Your method took the white mark OUT! Thank you Thank you.
    You’re the greatest!

  17. Thank you thank you so much i tried the colgate toothpaste first & it worked tc take some of it off but i got tired of scrubbing with my RA i’d had enough so i went to the iron method i have a beautiful Chissom table & i was very mindful on what i was doing i took two linen napkins soaked in cold water & then rung out till i couldn’t get any more out put it on med. steam & ironed for about 2 s 4 times of this the white ringgs were gone ALL I CAN SAY IS BLESS YOU SO MUCH & THANKS FOR SHARING YOU MADE MY DAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  18. WOW! This really works! My roommate was home alone cooking muffins and without a care in the world set the HOT muffins on the table (which we don’t actually own). It let multiple awful stains. Not wanting to lose our damage deposit we started to brainstorm (aka google). And came across this GENIUS idea! Thank you so much for sharing.

  19. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this tip.
    Over the past five years , I have tried every trick in the book to no avail.
    After trying your tip, my stain was gone in minutes.

  20. We had a mark on our wood floor where a steam mop had been placed after using it in the kitchen. After using this technique the mark has totally disappeared!

    The method I used was to wet a cloth and then wring it out as much as you can. I then folded it over so it was double thickness and out it over the white mark. I then put an iron on medium over it, pressing down for 1 or 2 seconds before removing it and checking the floor… Almost like pressure-dabbing it with an iron. Working my way around the mark completely disappeared! I think the key is to apply the iron in short bursts and not to hold it on too long.

    After this success I then went on to remove some small white heat marks we had on our coffee table which resulted in the same success!

    Thanks for saving our floor and coffee table!

  21. Don’t really know what happened to my table, wed put the cats feeding mat on there whilst doing some decorating and when I picked it up the was a huge white fog mark. I was gutted. I came across this tip whilst searching for a remedy to the problem and all I can say is “wow,” I was a bit reluctant to do it but thought well I’ve got a ruined table anyway. It worked brilliantly so Thank You

  22. Wow just tried this today on my coffee tables. It like magic! Last spring I bought some plants for the garden I had watered them and they such a big water mark :( I tried what you suggested and it worked. Thank you, thank you, thank you :)

  23. Christmas Eve with the family (and no table cloth) left several cloudy spots on my dining room table. I found this site and was so sceptical! (It seems so counterintuitive to put the same elements on it that caused the problem in the first place). I thought I’d just try a small spot…could not believe it was working!! I know have a most spot-free table!!! Thank you, thank you!!!

  24. I had a similar experience recently with white foggy mark from a hot dish. However I was reluctant to use the iron on my beautiful table. Another tip i found was to use a HAIR DRYER. Keep it close but not actually on the table on hot. Move the nozzle along the mark slowly. It took about 2 minutes to remove it completely
    A real WOW moment.

  25. Yep just worked on our wood table, too. Iron on high with steam on high for 7 seconds through a bed sheet folded twice, followed by wiping it dry then applying new polish.

  26. O. M.G. I dumped a boiling hot mug of tea on my antique parkay oak dining room table, was just heart broken over the size of white stain. I just now used the iron with no steam and a dishtowel and it did not work, BUT went back with a 100% cotton pillowcase and ITS ALL GONE in seconds. Thank you.

  27. We had several heat stains on our solid oak dining room table. I was really amazed to see the difference after I took the steam iron and a damp white facecloth folded and ironed in the direction of the grain.
    I was skeptical if it would still be permanently removed until the table dried from using the steam iron. Table dried and the white stains have disappeared. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I had tried toothpaste, salt and baking soda, but nothing worked….until now!

  28. Thank you so much for sharing this helpful tip. I had a humidifier on a dresser and it left about a 4 inch circle, I was heartbroken. I tried your method and am happy to report that my white circle is gone. :)

  29. I left a floor steam cleaner for a minute on my slate tiles kitchen floor and it also left an ugly gray marks. Can I use similar method to remove it?

  30. Incredible tip!!
    I was despondent about putting my hot bowl of spaghetti on an irreplaceable custom table. My bad! I know Bette.
    I managed to destroy a clever little table, made of many different layers. It is NOT wood. However, the underlayment is.
    Using much caution and your directions, I followed your lead.
    New table, once again. Brilliant!!

    Many thanks to you for salvaging my $$$$’s and sanity.
    Wished I could post an, “after” photo.

  31. Yeah!!!! A hot plate left a huge white mark on my table tonight… I panicked!! Tried this and it worked like magic…thank you so much!

  32. How about me being to hasty to iron a table cloth for a dinner part and I decided to iron the table cloth whilst it was on the table. Now I have 3 exact iron bottom marks on the table. It’s cherrywood that was pretty high gloss that was the popular finish 30s ago but it’s Hepplewhite solid cherrywood and it’s timeless. We still love it

  33. Please try a thick paste of cigarette ashes and cool water. Rub it into the white spot gently for 1 min. and let dry for 2 hours then wipe clean. For real

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