Being in the middle of a great party is the best feeling—you're surrounded by the buzz of conversation, the clink of glasses, the glow of candles. But then there's the worst feeling, which you are sure to experience when you catch sight of the water rings dotting your coffee table the next day. Luckily, just like all the dirty glasses, these spots can disappear fast. "White rings on wood furniture reflect the moisture that has soaked into the top layers of the wood finish. Basically, it's moisture that gets into wax, which naturally clouds up," explains Sabrina Fierman, vice president of luxury cleaning service New York's Little Eves. Here are her tried-and-true methods for removing those pesky marks:
A hair dryer
Put your hair dryer on its lowest setting and direct it at the water ring. "Be sure to move the dryer around so there is no direct heat and the wood doesn't overheat," warns Fierman.
Mayonnaise or petroleum jelly
Apply a dab of either substance with a soft cloth and rub it into the mark in a circular motion. "If the stain is not removed completely, apply more product and leave on for an hour or two and try again." In fact, Fierman says you can leave it on as long as overnight.
Look for one that's non-gel and non-whitening, then apply it to the wood in the same direction as the grain, says Fierman. Remove the paste, then use a wood polish to make the surface shine.
Fierman suggests asking your hardware store for the finest grade steel wool available—you don't want to scratch your table. Use it to gently rub lemon oil in the wood in the direction of the grain. "Tread carefully and do not go beyond the confines of the stain or you can further damage the finish," she says.
"I like Old Craftsmen's Brand's White Ring Spot Remover," says Fierman. "I also like an old fashion product called Jubilee Kitchen Wax. It’s very good for a variety of surfaces, including wood, enamel and formica, and protects surfaces from moisture that causes rings in the first place."