How to Remove White Heat Marks on Furniture

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!**
  1. Kathleen Waters

    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

  2. Deborah

    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. Mehrnaz

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

  4. Haley

    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. Murray

    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. Karen Budrik

    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. Karen Budrik

    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. Claire

    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. Jamie Gore

    Thank you!!! Worked like a charm. Stupid pizza box

  10. Kris

    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!!’

  11. t

    Ug. Totally didn’t work for me. I have a huge foggy white mark now

    • Melange

      Me too! It made mine bigger. I’m just sick now.

      • Rachel

        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!

    • Rachel

      Did you try smearing the heat mark with some white grainy toothpaste and scrubbing with a soft towel/rag?

  12. Deb Adams

    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!

  13. Savannah

    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!!

  14. Janelle Dockter

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

  15. Dianne

    Wow wonderful now can use my table without a tablecloth. Thanks so much for the tip.

  16. Marianne fallon

    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!

  17. L Beck

    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!

  18. Mich

    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.

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  20. Snowy Bee

    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!

  21. C ENGLE

    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

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