Does WD-40 Remove Water Stains On Wood? Here’s The Truth!

does wd 40 remove water stains on wood

WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, the 40th formula.

WD-40 is a multi-purpose chemical product used to release Jam in Bosch routers, remove rust in orbital sanders, lubricate bearings in Dremels, sharpen auger bits, and many other woodworking and repairing activities.

WD-40 uses for many kinds of woodworking and wood repairing projects including lubricating moving parts, rusted bolts, saws, squawky doors, and many more.

I have recently identified several mineral-deposited spots on my favorite cabinet.

I was frustrated and tried every possible way to clean those mineral-deposited water stains from it. I found a research paper about WD-40 as a cleaner and tried it on wood.

Here’s how I used WD-40. Let’s discuss, Does WD-40 remove water stains on wood?

No, WD-40 doesn’t remove water stains on wood since WD-40 is a petroleum oil-based product, but water stains are not oil-based but calcium, potassium, and magnesium deposits. Hard water stains can easily remove by acids but, WD-40 is acid-free. Use Vinegar to remove water stains on wood instead of WD-40.

But there’s more to know about using WD-40 to remove water stains.

So, in this article, we’ll explore deeply does WD-40 remove water stains on wood, and how to do that perfectly without messing things up with useful tips and techniques.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Let’s jump in!

does wd 40 remove water stains on wood
Water stains on wooden desk

What Is Water Staining?

Water stains are spots of mineral deposits that occur when the water evaporates from the spot. Water stains contain hard water with lots of minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

When the water evaporates from the hard water, leftover minerals accumulate and make dull patches on the surface. Those patches are known as water stains.

Basically, water stains are hard water that dries on the surface leaving tiny traces of mineral sediment behind that which creates a visible stain on the surface.

Water stains reduce the glossy wood appearance and give a dull looking.

Water staining also known as water spots can cause,

  • Wooden surface etching
  • Wood discoloration
  • Surface roughness
  • Surface imperfections
does wd 40 remove water stains on wood
Water staining on wood

Why WD-40 Does Not Remove Water Stains On Wood?

WD-40 is a petroleum-based chemical compound. It contains alkaline and some hydrocarbons.

Water stains are not oil-based. They contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, and stone-like materials with some hydrocarbons.

As a general rule of thumb, oil-based mix well oil-based compound. Since WD-40 is oil-based and water stains are not oil-based, they do not react and mix well. Therefore WD-40 cannot remove water stains on wood.

In hard water stains, water reacts with carbon dioxide and form di-hydrogen carbonate. These minerals even can find in drinking water.

di-hydrogen carbonate ions react with minerals in hard water,

  • Calcium irons react with di-hydrogen carbonate and form calcium carbonate
  • Potassium irons react with di-hydrogen carbonate and form potassium carbonate
  • Magnesium irons react with di-hydrogen carbonate and form magnesium carbonate

When the water evaporates from the surface, those calcium and magnesium carbonates leave on the surface forming water stains or limescale.

Those calcium carbonates, magnesium carbonate, and potassium carbonate compounds can easily break by using acids.

For example,

  • Calcium carbonates react with hydrochloric acid and break into calcium chloride, carbon dioxide, and water.
  • Formed calcium chloride dissolves in water and can remove easily from the wood surface.

But unfortunately, according to their website, WD-40 is an acid-free product. Therefore, that limescale, hard water stains, and carbonate minerals cannot break using WD-40.

WD-40 mainly puts alkaline than acids. By putty WD-40 over water stains it cannot react with the available minerals in hard water stains and remove them from the surface.

does wd 40 remove water stains on wood
Hard water stains on wood after the evaporation of water

The first step of removing stains from wood is by reacting with the compounds that are available in the stain. But WD-40 cannot do that since it doesn’t contain acids to react with the minerals in hard water stains.

Overall, there’re two main reasons why WD-40 does not remove water stains on wood. they are,

  1. WD-40 is an oil-based compound while water stains are not, just hard water with calcium and magnesium minerals.
  2. WD-40 is acid-free and it cannot break calcium carbonate in hard water stains to remove them from the wood.

What WD-40 Does For Water Stains On Wood?

According to many websites, and YouTube videos WD-40 does remove water stains on wood. But that’s not 100% true.

Yes, you’ll see some kind of difference after applying WD-40 on water stains because of the kerosene-like chemicals in it.

But that’s just kind of an illusion. Chemicals in WD-40 cover the water stains areas and after the application, you’ll barely see the water stain patches. But they’re not 100% gone.

If you look closely when the surface is dry, you’ll notice the etching underneath.

Here’s a simple experiment you can try to see what exactly WD-40 does for water stains on wood,

  1. Take a solvent cleaner and a detergent product
  2. Select a few water-stained areas which were area fixed by using WD-40
  3. Wash those areas with solvent cleaner and detergent product
  4. Wipe the surface with a rag
  5. Let the surface dry completely
  6. Check the surface closely

You’ll notice water stains still exist when the surface is dried completely.

This is what WD-40 exactly does for water stains on wood. It does not remove water stains.

It Just covers the water stains with its chemicals inside. It creates a mask over water stains.

Therefore, in order to remove water stains completely from wood, you need to use products that contain and release acidic compounds to solve the minerals inside the water stains.

This is what we are going to talk about next.

What Product Removes Water Stains On Wood?

  • Distilled water with white vinegar
  • Toothpaste
  • Mayonnaise
  • Backing soda
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Steel wool

Using the above products and DIY methods, you can remove water stains from any wood without any issues.

does wd 40 remove water stains on wood
You can remove water stains using toothpaste

As a woodworker, I recommend using white vinegar to remove water stains from wood since that is the one that most effective to remove any kind of big or small water stains from any wood.

Let’s discuss how to remove water stains on wood using vinegar briefly.

Tools And Materials To Remove Water Stains On Wood

  • Cup of vinegar or cup of lemon oil
  • Cup of olive oil
  • Dry cotton cloth
  • Tablespoon
  • Bucket
  • Fork

Vinegar contains acidic acid which is useful to mix with the mineral compounds in water stains and remove them from the wood surface.

Here’s how to do that,

How To Remove Water Stains On Wood?

Here we’re going to discuss how to remove water stains on wood correctly using vinegar.

Here’re the steps you need to follow when removing water stains with vinegar,

  1. Mix equal parts of vinegar and olive oil in a container
  2. Make the mixture of white vinegar and olive oil
  3. Take the clean dry cotton cloth and moisten it with vinegar solution by dipping
  4. Lightly rub the vinegar solution over the water stain areas on wood
  5. Let the wood completely dry
  6. Check for remaining water stains and repeat the same process above

Here vinegar is the compound that removes water stains from wood. Olive oil helps to clean the wood and polish up the surface.

does wd 40 remove water stains on wood
White vinegar and honey on a wooden desk with water stains

That’s it, folks! This is how to remove water stains on wood without using WD-40. Vinegar is a better product to use water stains from wood.

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What Happens If You Put WD-40 On Wood?

WD-40 helps to clean up and polish the wood. It can remove dust, dirt, grease, and other residues from wood surfaces and give a fresh appearance by eliminating the dull look.

WD-40 can penetrate even through the tiniest cracks, splits, and gaps in the wood and clean the surface. WD-40 is mainly used to clean bathroom and kitchen wood furniture.

Plus, WD-40 is able to remove paint residue, and wood stains without damaging the wood underneath. WD-40 is easy to use and helps to extend the lifetime of furniture and other woodwork.

Therefore, it is considered one of the best cleaners for wood, plastics, and metals.

Does WD-40 Remove Water Spots?

WD-40 is able to remove water marks and spots from mirrors. But it cannot remove water stains or water rings.

WD-40 only creates a mask on water stains by coving the stain spots instead of removing them.

To remove water spots, spray WD-40 onto a microfiber cloth and wipe the surface with water spots.

But to remove water stains, you should use more acidic compounds like Vinegar.

does wd 40 remove water stains on wood
White vinegar

How Do You Get Stubborn Water Stains Out Of Wood?

Use white vinegar with olive oil to get stubborn water stains out of the wood. Vinegar contains acidic acid that reacts and mixes with calcium carbonate and other minerals in water stains and removes hard water stains from the wood.

Olive oil helps to clean up and polish the wood.

If you don’t have vinegar, here’re some alternative products that remove water marks from wood,

  • Toothpaste
  • Mayonnaise
  • Backing soda
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Steel wool

Does WD-40 Work On Squeaky Wood?

Yes, WD-40 works great on squeaky wood. It can penetrate through the tiniest gaps between the squeaky wood and stops the friction from making squeaky noise by lubricating door hinges and floorboards.

WD-40 can fix squeaky doors and squeaky floors and helps to extend their lifetime. It is an excellent lubricant for any wood and metallic project.

How To Remove WD-40 Stains From Wood?

Removing WD-40 stains from wood is easy.

Make sure not to wash the surface directly with water to remove WD-40 stains since those stains are oil-based and don’t mix with water well.

Here’re the steps you need to follow when removing WD-40 stains from wood,

  1. Wipe the WD-40 stain areas with a dry cotton cloth or paper towels
  2. Then wash the WD-40 stain areas using soapy water or detergent
  3. Then rub the surface well with a dry cloth to remove WD-40 stains that mixed with soapy water
  4. Continue the same procedure until all the WD-40 stains remove from the wood
  5. Wipe the excess using a tack cloth
  6. Let the wood surface dry and check it closely

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Does WD-40 Remove Water Stains On Wood?

In this article, we deeply discussed, does WD-40 remove water stains on wood, and how WD-40 behaves with water stains considering its chemical compositions.

Plus, we have knocked down some myths about using WD-40 on water stains and what are the best products to remove water stains on any wood.

WD-40 does not remove water stains on wood. It just creates a mask over water stains to cover spots. WD-40 is an oil-based product while water stains are not oil-based but with minerals like calcium and magnesium. Use acidic compounds like vinegar to remove water stains from wood.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have learned new things about WD-40 and got the answers with facts for the burning topic, does WD-40 remove water stains on wood?

Try to use WD-40 for cleaning and polishing wood. But for the removal of water stains, better to go for an alternative like vinegar which serves the best.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

Leave a Comment