How To Remove Milk Stains From Wood

Stains on wood can seem overwhelming.

Whether it’s a stain on your wood furniture or your freshly cleaned wood floors, getting stains out of wood can be a challenge.

This stain removal process is especially true of milk stains, which leave white marks everywhere.

If you find one while cleaning up after your toddler, don’t panic.

We’ve done some research, and learning how to remove milk stains from wood is easy.

All you need are a few essential household items to get your wood furniture or floors looking brand new again.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need a few common household items to get milk stains off wood.

The basic items listed above are all you will need. 

Read on to find step-by-step instructions on how to remove milk stains from wood.

1. Clean up any spill immediately

Milk stains are easiest to remove if you clean the wood as soon as you realize milk has been spilled onto it.

Wipe up the milk stain using a fresh clothing cloth, making sure to remove all of the liquid.

Then, examine the area for any stains that may have occurred.

If you catch the milk on the wood quickly enough, wiping it up may be all you need to do.

2. If Dried, Mix Baking Soda And Toothpaste

If the milk stain has dried, don’t panic.

It is still easy to remove.

Mix equal parts baking soda and toothpaste.

Both the baking soda and the toothpaste are mildly abrasive, so they will help to remove the stain from the wood.

Make sure to use white, non-gel toothpaste.

The gel will not produce the same cleaning effects, and colored toothpaste risks adding a new stain to your wood.

Pro tip: Test your toothpaste and baking soda mixture on an inconspicuous part of the wood before applying it to the stain. The baking soda and toothpaste are abrasive and may damage the finish of the wood.

3. Rub toothpaste and baking soda on the stain

Apply a little of the toothpaste and baking soda mixture to a cleaning cloth and rub it gently on the milk stain.

Work gently until the milk stain is gone from the affected area.

Make sure to move in the same direction as the wood grain to prevent damage.

4. Rinse And Dry The Affected Area

Once the milk stain is gone, wipe the area down with a lightly damp cloth.

Remove any lingering baking soda or toothpaste without adding more water than necessary.

Then, immediately dry the affected area to prevent a water stain. 

Pro tip: If, after drying the area, you discover the milk stain is still not completely gone, you can repeat this process as many times as necessary. 

The following video demonstrates how to remove several different stains from wood.

0:25—Clean up any spills immediately with a fresh cleaning cloth.

0:35—To remove white watermarks, make a paste of baking soda and toothpaste.

0:48—Gently rub baking soda and toothpaste mixture into the stain.

0:54—Wipe the wood clean.

1:02—To remove black watermarks, dab the affected area with vinegar.

1:09—If the vinegar is insufficient, scrub the affected area with hydrogen peroxide once daily for a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use dish soap to get rid of milk stains on wood?

You can also use dish soap to get milk off of wood.

In a bucket or bowl, combine a little bit of hot water with some dish soap.

Swish and mix the water and soap until there are a lot of suds.

Then, dip your cleaning cloth into the suds.

Do not dip your cleaning cloth into the water itself—the goal is to apply the soap to the stain without adding more water. 

Gently rub the soap suds onto the milk stains until they are gone.

Then, rinse the affected area with a bit of freshwater from a dampened cleaning cloth to remove any remaining soap.

Immediately dry the site, and apply some wood polish to restore the natural shine of your wood.

Why does milk on wood leave a white stain?

Milk on wood often leaves behind a white stain.

While this may seem obvious because milk is white, the white stain is caused by moisture being stuck between the wood and the finish on top.

Because of this, any abrasive stain removal should be followed by polishing with your favorite wood care product to restore or repair the finish. 

What can I use To Remove Milk Stains From Wood if I don’t have the right toothpaste?

If you don’t have the right kind of toothpaste at home, you can use a few other methods on your wood to remove milk stains.

If the milk stain is darker, you can use hydrogen peroxide to remove it—Mix 1 cup of water with one tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Dab your solution onto the milk stain until it is gone.

Once the stain is gone, wipe the area clean with a lightly damp cloth to remove the hydrogen peroxide and thoroughly dry.

If the stain is older, you can increase your cleaning powers by dabbing the area with a little distilled white vinegar.

Baking soda and vinegar also work well on tough stains and untreated wood.

Cover the milk stain with a thin layer of baking soda and then dip a toothbrush in distilled white vinegar.

Scrub the stain with the toothbrush.

The baking soda and vinegar should react, and the fizzing will help to loosen the stain.

Once the fizzing finishes, wipe the area clean.

You can repeat this as many times as you would like.

If you have already removed the milk and notice that there is still a water stain, you can pass a hairdryer over the affected area to evaporate the moisture.

If the milk stain is still new, you can even use a hairdryer.

Make sure to use the lowest setting. 

If this article was helpful, be sure to check out our related article dedicated to showing you how to get milk stains out of couch cushions.