Experiment: mayonnaise to treat water stains | How About Orange

November 21, 2013

Experiment: mayonnaise to treat water stains


I bought a solid wood table with a little drawer at a flea market for $30. It does a fine job of holding up a lamp in the parlor, but it needs some work. The top has water stains and dried-out wood with fine cracks, and the sides have some sort of peeling varnish. But the size is perfect and it's very sturdy.

I'd heard that mayonnaise can remove water stains. Since this table was not a big investment and couldn't really look much worse, I had nothing to lose. Plus I was making coleslaw yesterday so the mayo was already out. Some for the cabbage, some for the table.

I smeared mayonnaise on the worst of the stained areas. Then I figured what the heck, and spread it all over the table stop.


I wiped it all off after 1 1/2 hours and the difference was pretty amazing. The table had turned a deep, rich red-brown, the cracks were less noticeable, and most of the shallow water spots were gone. A few of the deeper marks were left, so I applied more mayo to those and covered them with paper towels to keep the mayo from drying out, then let it sit overnight.


This morning I wiped it all off with paper towels. The table felt very slightly oily, like after you first put on hand lotion, so I wiped it with a water and vinegar mixture which removed the oily feel. Check out the pre-mayo and post-mayo pictures.


Pretty impressive. The deepest water marks still show a little, but it's a vast improvement!

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's awesome! But does it smell of mayonnaise afterwards?

Jessica Jones said...

It has a very faint vinegar smell, but you have to put your nose about an inch away. I'm thinking that will go away with time.

Angie said...

Wow, did it rain over that table??
I have used mayo before on water circles and they dissappear completely. Your table had more extensive damage, apparently.
Yay for mayo!

annie dee said...

Ah, kitchen magic. Good thing you weren't making pulled pork. Not sure what the bbq sauce would have done. Looks really great!

lp said...

Whoa! That is really cool, and it worked so well! I'll have to try that some day....

Grandma G said...

That's quite an improvement! Yeah, the vinegar smell should go away.

Mum

mhgraphicdesign said...

I've always wondered about this. What about the eggs in the mayo. Does it go bad? Does it smell?

smalltownme said...

I wonder about the eggs too. I get good results with a furniture oil like lemon oil or teak oil.

Beth Maybee said...

Although I haven't tried it yet, I've heard you can get the same results using coconut oil. Those worried about the mayo could try that!

Nessy said...

Wow, that is so cool. I wonder if would work on hardwood floors?

Christina said...

Woah. That's wild!

Amber said...

My aunt taught me to rub the marks with a walnut (no shell, just the meat) and that works really well, too! Especially on the stubborn ones.

jabbott said...

Thats amazing x

Gina Marris said...

Wow that's amazing - can't believe what a difference it made!

Jennifer said...

The mayo trick is interesting. If you ever want to completely erase those marks try Howards Restor-a-Finish. A can is about 6 bucks. All you do is wipe it on/wipe it off. We jokingly call it "jesus juice" at our house because it performs furniture miracles.

Jessica Jones said...

Walnuts and Restor-a-Finish! Great tips, you guys! Thanks!

Annie Dee, BBQ sauce. You're hilarious. Somebody else made the pulled pork for that potluck, fortunately, or who knows what my table would look like.

Anca said...

Oh my! That`s so funny :) readind the title I was wondering if it`s a joke, the Pippi Longstocking type of jokes. But I understood after seeing the pictures and reading ;)

Geneviève Thiffault said...

I thought it was a joke too! But when I saw the results... Wow!

Kimberly FitzSimons said...

My parents held a holiday party every year and the day before the party, my mom made me smear mayo all over the leaves of our big plants to make them shiny! I hadn't thought about it for 15 years until I read this post. Thanks for taking me back!

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Oh my!!! That is excellent.

Thanks for sharing.

Smiles,
Kelly

Elsa said...

I had similarly great results (with a similarly water-stained table) with olive oil: dribble it on, rub it in, let it sit, wipe it off. I'm sure tung oil or mineral oil would do nicely, but I always have olive oil on hand and it worked like a dream.

feelincrafty said...

My mom does this! she said it worked most of the time. there was one spot that it didn't work on. very cool!

Esther said...

I'm a cabinetmaker, and I was tought to use linseed oil. It's probably the oil in the mayonnaise that did the trick.

Anonymous said...

cold cream (Pond's type stuff) can also do the trick so yes, it must be the oil.

Karen said...

Love your work!

Kerry A. said...

I've heard toothpaste (as plain as you can buy) works well. I haven't tried it yet, but want to take a crack at it on the restoration of a side table in the new year.

Also, for the walnut, it doesn't so much remove the water stain, as stain the wood itself. Walnuts are a great natural permanent dye, good on clothes and furniture - - but wear gloves, or you'll have brown fingers for days!

Jess said...

yeah, as other said, it looks like the oils in the mayo is what darkened the wood and made the stains less noticeable. I would just use olive oil or walnut oil if you aren't allergic to walnuts and don't forget to seal it up when you are done.

Anonymous said...

I tried the mayo trick on three different pieces of furniture. It worked great on two. On the third, the wood was very dry and now the white marks turned dark. You can even see my finger marks where (i guess) more may was applied! Now what do I do to lighten them up??

Jessica Jones said...

Not sure! Sounds like you may need to sand and refinish.

Deb said...

I realize this post is old but I have always used mayo on water spots and it has yet to fail me. This was an old trick my mother passed down to me and I have passed along to my children. So glad it worked for you too.

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