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How To Remove Water Stains From Butcher Block

We have beautiful butcher block countertops from IKEA that we installed on our own in our kitchen (really my husband Alex installed them and I help maintain them, lol!) It is unsealed and unstained and we love it! 

IKEA Butcher Block Countertops

Recently, I found a water ring on the counter where a water bottle had been left. UGH! We did not seal our butcher block for a few different reasons, so it is susceptible to staining. We do protect it with a great butcher block oil we get from Lowe's that makes it super simple to take care of and keeps it looking gorgeous. Typically, I can just wipe up water or liquid, etc off the butcher block. However, this time, it had already soaked into the wood so there was no wiping it up. This is what the stain looked like before I did anything to it:

Water Stain on Butcher Block

Naturally, I went to Pinterest to see how to remove it. Found lots of blogs on removing water stains from wood, but not butcher block. I tried some suggestions from a Better Homes and Gardens post and combined my knowledge of butcher block thus far (only 6+ months of owning butcher block countertops). Here is what I did:

1. Sanded down the stain some with a sheet of very fine sandpaper that I had on hand. Always sand with the grain! (i.e. the direction of the grain of wood). Our butcher block is unfinished, so the color of the wood is natural. If it was stained, I would not have done this step and I don't know how it would have worked.
Wet To Dry Sandpaper

2. I got out the hydrogen peroxide (I used 3%) and Q-tips. I soaked the Q-tip in the hydrogen peroxide and scrubbed the stain outline, then I would sand lightly again. I repeated this a couple times.

Water Stain on Wood

3. It already looked a lot better. But I wasn't quite satisfied. I dampened a paper towel in white vinegar and wiped it down, then lightly sanded, repeating a few times. It was almost gone! 

Cleaning Wood with Vinegar

4. This next step I was a little worried about but I was invested. I had heard you could use an iron or blow dryer to remove moisture from wood. I was worried about this because I knew from experience leaving a hot plate on butcher block would make it rough (but easily smoothed down again). No lie, I think this was the best step and made the biggest difference. I used my blow dryer, put it on the highest setting and watched the remainder of the water ring disappear.

Removing water from wood with a blow dryer


5. These steps left the area super dry and noticeably light in color, which I knew would not be an issue once I applied butcher block conditioner with a cloth. This is the last step!

Restoring Butcher Block with Oil     Water Stains removed from Wood

TADA! Using this Butcher Block Conditioner restores the sheen, color vibrancy, and protects it for the future. It is something I apply to our countertops regularly--about once a month (which is also awesome because it forces me to clear the countertops once a month! lol) It had been longer than a month since I had last applied the oil, so I think it was more susceptible to staining and I think that is why the water ring happened. This conditioner is something I leave on overnight and will wipe off the excess in the morning. That is it! I think if you are really looking for it, you can see the ring ever so slightly. Overall you won't notice it though. I am very pleased how it came out and would certainly use this method again! 


Hydrogen Peroxide


White Vinegar

Butcher Block Conditioner:

IKEA Butcher Block Countertops:

I sincerely hope this helps if you get a stain or water ring in your butcher block! Let me know if you try it in your home! 

<3 Kristin Elizabeth

1 comment

  • Thank you!!! I already read many of the usual types of advice online (salt & lemons) but really appreciate your blow-drying & sanding tip… it’s been helpful for me with my brand new already watermarked butcher blocked countertops!


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