Furniture Restoration 

Gilded Age

Tel: +1.815.726.8493 Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday By Appointment
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Tips & Tricks


Removing white spots from water — This is one question I get asked most. How do I remove white rings and spots on my furniture? Given enough time, water can cause as much damage to wood as can fire. The first step in removing a fresh white spot or ring is simply to do nothing except remove the source of the moisture and any remaining on the wood surface and wait.


Do not apply any furniture polish


What the ring consists of is water vapor trapped on the surface of the finish. In some instances, fresh white rings will disappear if given the time to be absorbed by dry air. High humidity will slow this process. A hair dryer will speed up the process, but set it on low and use discretion. Do not, however, presume that if a little heat is good, more heat is better and reach for the heat gun. The white ring may disappear, but only because you melted the finish around it.


If the white ring refuses to leave on it's own then you must try following suggestions.


If your furniture has a satin or dull sheen, use a pad of 0000 steel wool and some lemon oil or wool lube .Put some on the pad and rub the spot moving in the direction of the grain. Once the spot is gone, you may need to rub the rest of the area so the sheen is even.Make sure you go with the grain in long even strokes from one end to the other. To finish the task, simply wipe off the remaining oil and apply your favorite polish.


If you have a glossy sheen, you may try using a little bit of white toothpaste and a dry cotton towel. If this leaves a glossier spot than the rest of the surface, then you will need to get some rubbing compounds and polishes like you would on a cars finish. If a mirror finish is not what you want, you can always adjust it down with the 0000steel wool. Don't forget to use your favorite polish when you are done.


Another simple remedy that sometimes works, is to spread some Vaseline on the damage and wipe it off after the spot is gone.


If none of these has worked that the moisture has penetrated through the surface and is not repairable without refinishing.


Removing dark stains from wood
 — To remove dark stains, rings or gray oxidation, you you will need to use some oxalic acid crystals. it is the main ingredient in the so called deck brighteners. To use them, you will need to mix them with warm water until you reach a saturated solution meaning it won't dissolve anymore. Only mix the amount you need. You will need to apply it with a synthetic brush giving the entire surface a good wet coat(not just the stain). The wood needs to be bare and lightly sanded prior to this step. Leave the acid on until it dries or until the stain has vanished. Follow that with a wash of water to remove the residue. The grain will be raised after it dries, so you will need to sand it smooth before finishing. Make sure you use a particle mask when sanding because the crystals will make you sneeze if you inhale them. Do this outdoors if possible.


Removing candle wax from wood — If some melted wax gets on you furniture, hopefully it hasn't hurt the finish. Since you can't just wipe it off with a damp cloth, you have to scrape it off. Yes it sounds scary, but it isn't really. The scraping tool of choice would be an ordinary credit card. You shouldn't try scraping it all off at once,but by taking it off in layers, it will eventually come off. Since the card is softer than the finish, (we hope),it doesn't scratch the surface. Once you get off as much as you can, you can then remove the remaining wax with a soft cloth dipped in lemon oil.
Some colored candles can stain a finish. If this happends, it is best to try some rubbing techniques. (see above for your type of finish) satin, dull or glossy sheen.


Removing that musty odor — To begin the process of removing a musty odor from the inside of your furniture, you will need to have a spray bottle of denatured alcohol or other anti microbial spray. Open the cabinet and take out all of the drawers and spray inside the entire piece. This will kill ant mold spores that may be lurking.

Let it dry opened up in a sunny place for a good week. If this hasn't done the job, you will need to go to the next step of sealing the raw wood with any type of finish which will seal in the oder. You could also purchase a small electric ozone generator to eat up the odor causing molecules.

A new approach might be using one of the new products for removing odors from fabrics like Fabreeze. Although I would still suggest killing the mold spores first.