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How to remove white water marks from a French polished top


Alex Webster from QuestTV’s hit restoration show Salvage Hunters has given us a series of his top tips to clean those pesky household problems.

When liquid is left to sit on a polished surface too long it will sink into the finish. The bottom of a hot cup will do the same with heat softening the polish and then trapping moisture inside as it cools. But removing this is often simple.


To start, you will need an extra fine grade wire wool. Make a tennis ball size pad with a ball of the wire wool, start rubbing gently with the grain of the wood and then increase the pressure until it starts to disappear. Be careful that you don't go right through the finish down to the bare timber below, because if this happens it's time to call a professional.

Once the stain has gone, continue over the whole area to ensure a uniform appearance. This should leave your top clean, watermark free but with a matt finish. Bringing back the shine can be achieved by using a good quality beeswax. Use a colour that matches your furniture, apply with a soft cloth and then buff off for a shine. This can be repeated until the desired shine is achieved.

A cheeky tip if you have a highly polished piece of furniture: a higher shine can be achieved by using a soft cloth and a metal polish such as Brasso or t cut.

Apply to a soft cloth so that the cloth feels damp with the polish, not wet, and concentrate on small areas at a time, buffing small areas then going over with a clean cloth, like you would with the wax.

As with all restoration methods, always try on a small discreet area first to ensure the method works on the individual piece. 

We’ve seen them at work on Salvage Hunters, restoring, repairing and refining Drew’s finds but for the first time, SALVAGE HUNTERS: THE RESTORERS is going behind-the-scenes with this expert team to see what it really takes to transform junk into gems.

The brand-new series is packed with process, craftsmanship and expert techniques, as it follows the skilled restorers working at Drew’s base in Conwy, and travels to specialist artisans - from blacksmiths to gilders and electricians to sculptors – who will each demonstrate their unique skillsets.