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, 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.

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