How to remove burn marks from wood

Nothing ruins the look of beautiful wood floors or furniture quite like unsightly burn marks. Whether it’s from a hot pan left on the kitchen table, a spark from the fireplace, or a misplaced cigarette, these dark stains can be an eyesore. But don’t despair – with the right techniques, you can often remove or minimize burn marks and restore your wood surfaces to their former glory. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through various methods for getting rid of burn marks, so you can enjoy your wood pieces for years to come.

remove burn marks from wood

Section 1: Acting Fast is Key

When it comes to removing burn marks from wood, time is of the essence. The sooner you address the stain, the better your chances of success. As soon as you notice a burn mark, act quickly using one of the following methods:


For minor surface burns, light sanding with fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit or higher) may be all you need. Sand in the direction of the wood grain until the burn mark is removed. Be very gentle and avoid sanding too aggressively, as you don’t want to create dips or grooves in the wood.

Baking Soda Paste

Make a thick paste by mixing baking soda and water. Apply it directly to the burn mark and let it sit for a few hours before wiping away with a damp cloth. The mildly abrasive baking soda can help lift the stain.

Section 2: For Tougher Burn Marks

If the burn mark has set in or penetrated deeper into the wood, you may need a more aggressive approach. Here are some reliable methods:

Oxalic Acid Solution

Oxalic acid is a powerful wood bleaching agent that can lighten or remove some burn marks. You can find oxalic acid wood bleach at most hardware stores. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test it first on an inconspicuous area, as it may lighten the surrounding wood as well.

One excellent oxalic acid solution for treating burn marks is the WOOD ReNew Restore Wood Repair Kit. This kit includes an oxalic wood bleach, along with wood cleaner, wood stripper, and wood repair putty – everything you need to tackle tough burn stains.

Chemical Wood Stripper

For really stubborn burn marks that have penetrated deep into the wood fibers, you may need to use a chemical wood stripper. Apply the stripper as directed, let it sit, then scrape away the softened burn mark along with some of the surrounding wood surface. This method requires refinishing the area afterward.

One highly rated wood stripper is the Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover. This low-odor, VOC-compliant stripper can remove multiple layers of paint, varnish, and tough stains from wood without harsh fumes.

Heat Gun

Sometimes heat can help remove heat stains! Carefully wave a heat gun or wood burning tool a few inches above the burn mark. The intense heat can sometimes cause the stain to release or evaporate from the wood surface. Move the heat constantly and be extremely cautious, as you don’t want to scorch the wood further.

The Wagner Furno 500 Heat Gun is a great option, with multiple temperature settings up to 1200°F, allowing you to apply just the right amount of concentrated heat needed.

Section 3: Creative Stain Concealing Methods

Wax Stick or Furniture Markers

If the burn mark won’t come out fully, you can try concealing it with wax sticks or furniture touch-up markers matched to your wood tone. Rub the wax or marker into the stain to camouflage it.

Products like the Mohawk Furniture Repair Markers come in dozens of wood shades to seamlessly blend into your pieces.

Wood Putty

For deeper gouges from severe burns, use a stainable wood putty to fill in the holes or dents, let it dry fully, then stain over it to blend with the surrounding wood.

Plastic Wood-X Wood Filler is a versatile option that can be stained or painted once dry.

Section 4: Refinishing Options

In cases where the burn mark is too deep or the stain removal methods above still leave a noticeable discoloration, you may need to refinish the affected area. Here are some refinishing techniques:


If the burn covers a large section of a tabletop, floor, or other horizontal surface, you may opt to lightly sand down the entire area to create a fresh, even surface, then stain or seal it again to match the existing wood tone.

For floor refinishing jobs, you’ll likely need to rent a professional floor sander like the BAIR MAIL FLOOR Monster Drum Sander. This powerful walk-behind unit can quickly strip away old finishes.

Staining & Sealing

After sanding out any remaining discoloration, apply a fresh stain like Varathane Classic Wood Stain in the desired shade to blend with surrounding wood. Then seal with a durable polyurethane such as Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane for a long-lasting, burnproof finish.

Section 5: Tips for Tricky Areas

Table and Countertop Burns

For burn marks on wood tables, first try the baking soda paste method. If that doesn’t remove it fully, move on to a wood bleach like oxalic acid. As a last resort, lightly sand down the entire tabletop and refinish it.

Floor Burns

Small isolated floor burns in high-traffic areas can sometimes be concealed with wax sticks or wood markers. For larger sections, rent a floor sander to refinish that area and blend it with the surrounding floors.

Furniture Burns

Depending on the location of the burn (tabletop, leg, frame, etc.) try a variety of methods like sanding, chemical strippers, bleaching, until the mark is minimized. Touch up with stain markers or wood putty as needed.

Section 6: Preventing Future Burn Marks

Once you’ve successfully removed burn marks, you’ll want to take steps to protect that wood surface from future damage. Here are some prevention tips:

Use Trivets and Coasters Always use thick trivets or coasters under hot items like dishes, pans, mugs, etc. Avoid setting anything hot directly on bare wood.

A great option is heat-resistant silicone trivets like the Silikomart SiliconeZone Trivets, which provide superior heat protection up to 675°F.

Place Fire-Resistant Barriers Near fireplaces and woodstoves, use fire-resistant mats or tiles on floors and hearths to catch errant sparks or embers.

The Hy-C Neogard Fire Brick is designed to withstand extreme temps and prevent wood scorch marks.

Apply Wood Sealants

Sealing wood surfaces with a polyurethane coating helps create a protective barrier that is less prone to burns and staining. Reapply sealants periodically.

For maximum heat resistance, use an industrial wood coating like Anchorseal 2 Log End Sealer, which forms a heat-resistant metallicized layer that locks out moisture.

Product Comparison Table:

ProductTypeKey FeaturesPrice Range
WOOD ReNew Restore KitOxalic acid wood bleach kitRestores wood, removes stains & burn marks$29.99
Dumond Smart StripChemical wood stripperLow-odor, removes multiple layers$19-$120
Wagner Furno 500 Heat GunHeat gun1200°F temp, removes heat stains$59.99
Mohawk Furniture MarkersWax touch-up markers40+ wood tones to conceal stains$5.99-$21.99
Plastic Wood-XStainable wood fillerFills gouges, can be stained over$3.99-$9.99
BAIR MAIL FLOOR Monster SanderDrum floor sanderRefinishes large floor areas$49.99 rental
Varathane Wood StainInterior wood stainVariety of wood tones$8.98-$39.98
Rust-Oleum PolyurethanePolyurethane topcoatBurnproof durable finish$18.98-$59.98
Silikomart Silicone TrivetsHeat-resistant trivetsWithstands up to 675°F$19.99-$34.99
Hy-C Neogard Fire BrickFire-resistant brickExtreme heat protection$3-$7 per brick
Anchorseal 2 Log SealerIndustrial wood sealantHeat/moisture resistant$11.99-$285

Section 7: Act Fast, But Be Patient

While time is of the essence for removing fresh burn marks, you’ll also need to exercise patience depending on the severity of the stain and the methods used. Some deeper burns may require multiple treatment sessions or rounds of sanding and refinishing to fully disappear. Don’t get discouraged – persist, and you’ll soon have your beautiful, unblemished wood back.


Unsightly burns on your prized wood furniture or floors don’t have to be permanent. With some dedicated effort using the stain-removal techniques outlined here – from light sanding to chemical strippers to full refinishing – you can banish those burn marks and restore the warm, lustrous look of wood. Just be sure to act quickly, use caution with any harsh products, and be willing to put in a little elbow grease. Your wood pieces will thank you with many more years of gorgeous burn-free service.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.