How to remove coffee stains on wood coffee tables - 8 ways to get rid of rings and marks

We spill the beans on how to remove coffee stains on wood tables using a range of store cupboard and household products

A coffee cup on wooden coffee table with coffee ring stain mark
(Image credit: Getty Images: Thomas Northcut (#85525885))

Wondering how to remove coffee stains on wood coffee tables? Uh-oh. 

Chances are you or your guests have left an instantly-recognizable ring or mark on your best coffee table, that will want to get rid of before it becomes a permanent feature.

For many of us, once we see a coffee spill, we can pretty much catch it and get rid of its brown appearance before it blemishes our furniture. The fresher it is, the easier it is to eliminate (with the right tools).

However, even if it's old and dried on - there's still hope. We reached out to the experts: furniture pros, coffee aficionados, and interior influencers to give us the schpiel on spills, and, in particular, how to remove coffee table rings.

How to remove coffee stains on wood coffee tables

1. Make coffee stains vanish with vinegar

You will need:

  • White or distilled vinegar
  • Paper/kitchen towel

'Clothes aren't the only victims of the infamous coffee spill. From carpets to nightstands, many surfaces are frequently subjected to coffee stains. The good news is that you can remove coffee stains from almost any special material including wooden surfaces.' says Briana Hoyonski, contributing content editor, Real Good Coffee Co.

'Pour one teaspoon of white vinegar over the stain, let it sit for two minutes, and clear the area with a paper towel.'

2. Use this coffee stain cleaning cocktail

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Toothpaste (non-gel)
  • A white cloth
  • A clean rag
  • Furniture polish

'All that’s needed for this home cleaning chore is non-gel toothpaste, baking soda, furniture polish, and a cloth,' says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid.

'To get started, simply mix one part baking soda and one part toothpaste together, applying this solution with a white cloth in a circular motion to the stain. After the mixture sits, wipe clean with a rag and buff with furniture polish and the circle should be gone.'

3. Make coffee stains go away with mayo

You will need:

  • Real mayonnaise (check the ingredients for eggs, oil, lemon juice and vinegar)
  • A cleaning cloth

'If this method [above] doesn’t quite get the job done, put real mayonnaise on the ring and let it sit overnight, wiping it clean in the morning. Make sure there are coasters nearby next time to stop the stains from popping up again!' says Peterson.

Before you think we're crazy, there's method to the madness as Corey Williams, writer at Allrecipes.com explains. She says:

'This works well because mayonnaise is, at its core, just a tasty combination of lemon juice, oil, eggs, and vinegar. The fat and acids work together to draw out the water while giving the wood a boost of gentle, oily nourishment.'

4. Eliminate coffee stains with olive oil and salt

A pink microfiber cloth with bottle of olive oil and rock salt grinder

(Image credit: Lynsey Crombie)

You will need:

You might be more familiar with dipping bread into this combo on a balmy Mediterranean vacation, but trust cleanfluencer Lynsey Crombie aka @lynsey_queenofclean to know how to get rid of coffee stains on a wooden coffee table.

She says: 'Is your coffee table starting to show marks from mugs and glasses? This tip is the best thing to ease those stains out of the wooden grain.'

'Mix the olive oil and the salt in a bowl into a paste then rub into the damaged area and leave 30 mins before wiping off. The salt draws out the moisture, and the olive oil feeds the wood.'

There's no need to use your best extra virgin olive oil from Greek island trips or fancy Himalayan rock salt. Cheap oil and table salt will do just fine.

5. Erase coffee stains with shaving foam

You will need:

  • White shaving foam
  • Water
  • A cleaning cloth or sponge

Not just a handy lubricant for personal care and grooming, shaving foam can also be used to make more than unwanted leg and facial hair disappear.

Explaining how this bathroom product works on everything from vintage coffee tables to the best modern coffee tables, Lauren Haynes, a cleaning expert at Star Domestic Cleaners says: 'Shaving cream contains active ingredients such as surfactants and cleansing agents that are like the ones found in other household soaps. To clean coffee stains with shaving cream just rub, rinse with water and repeat if necessary.'

Crombie also agrees. She says: 'Shaving foam is one of my favorite cleaners. It is a surprisingly good cleaner due to its combination of soap, moisturizers, and other protective ingredients. Don’t buy an expensive one and make sure it’s white foam not the blue gel. A little goes a long way.'

6. Tackle coffee stains with denture tablets

You will need:

Depending on what stage of your life you're in, and how well you maintain your teeth, you may be far off needing artificial tooth cleaners. But denture tablets can be used to clean everything from a false set of gnashers to your best coffee maker.

Similarly, these powerful pellets can be used with hot water to get rid of coffee marks on your furniture. This concoction can then be applied with a clean cloth, using the same textile towel to remove the excess solution.

7. Maintain your coffee table with WD-40

'While some solutions may eliminate the light stains, dark or set stains are difficult to remove. They always leave a mark no matter how much you scrub them off, and don’t forget these above solutions won’t restore the natural shine on your coffee table. You need a foolproof method.' says Kal Kozomos, digital e-commerce manager at WD-40.

'Spray WD-40 multi-use product[available from Amazon] directly on the stubborn stains and wipe them away with a clean cloth. WD-40 will make sure to bring back the shine and appearance of your coffee table that you desire.'

And Carla Cupp, co-owner of Sisters Cleaning Co. agrees. She says: 'Coffee tables are where people typically rest their mugs or glasses when you are entertaining guests. Don’t be surprised to find stains on it. Luckily, a little WD-40 will help you clean it up. In the future, you might want to consider getting cup coasters.'

How to remove coffee heat marks with toothpaste

While you might think that what's inside your cup has stained the surface of your coffee table, it might in fact be the residual heat that results in the blemish. 

'Heat marks on wood are caused through a combination of heat and moisture. When a hot item comes in contact with real wood, the heat opens up the pores in the material and water enters the wood’s surface. As it cools, the pores close, trapping the moisture,' says Tom Must, CEO of Wood Furniture Store.

'The moisture alters the appearance of the wood, changing its color and leaving behind a stain.  Heat marks are white. If the mark is black, then it’s likely to have been caused by charring, rot, or a process of oxidation — this is most common in older furniture. It will require different techniques to remove those kinds of stains.'

'Toothpaste can be a great way to lift stains because it’s alkaline and can react with stains to remove them. Toothpaste commonly contains baking soda, but we suggest mixing it with more baking soda to ensure it has the best possible effect,' 

'Be sure to use ‘white’ or non-gel toothpaste. Gel toothpaste doesn’t contain the same ingredients and therefore won’t work.'

If you can't remove a coffee stain from a wooden coffee table

There are two options you have if all of the aforementioned options haven't worked and you can't remove a coffee stain from a wooden coffee table:

  • Seek professional help: a wood restorer might be able to use trade cleaning products or tools that are exclusive to them to repair your coffee table. Alternatively, they may be able to provide advice once they've assessed the 'damage' their side. 
  • Upcycle your coffee table: If the coffee stain is still causing you pain - embrace it by creating your own DIY coffee table idea or upcycling a coffee table. You might want to stain the whole table to disguise the coffee stain culprit (using a wood stain or actual coffee), use wood paint to transform light furniture into a black coffee table, or go wild with metallic spray paint to morph it into a gold coffee table.

How to avoid getting coffee stains on your wooden table

Of course, accidents happen, so this isn't foolproof, but one way to reduce the risk of ring marks and dribbles is to invest in some cute coasters that you can find on Amazon.

'All of the options we offer will protect your furniture, so you should search for one that enhances your decor. For example, if your home is wooden themed, opt for a style that blends, such as oak or leafy designs. 'Protecting your furniture doesn't have to be a chore.' says Nadia McCowan-Hill, resident stylist, Wayfair.

Christina Chrysostomou
Christina Chrysostomou

Christina joined the Real Homes team as a digital writer in June 2021. Prior to this she worked on Good Home magazine and events. She lived closed to Epping Forest and is spoiled for choice with lush green spaces, but loves her own English garden that adjoins her ground-floor maisonette, complete with a floral melange of roses, lavender, jasmine and an apple tree.


SPONSORS