Can we save this table! (Stain question)

The other day someone put a red piece of paper on our kitchen table. A wet glass was put on the paper and some of the red dye leaked through and got on the table. The table is a light color and the stain really sticks out. It looks as though someone took a red marker and drew on it.

Anyone have any secret spells or potions that might help remove this stain? I’m pretty sure we’re SOL with this, but I thought pooling the collective knowledge of the board might be worth a shot.

I have seen mayonaisse get rid of water rings on a table, but haven’t ever tried it for a stain…

You might try soaking it with oxy-clean, but I doubt it’ll do anything.
The easiest thing to do would be to sand the whole top of the table and then stain it again, or just polyurethane coat it.
It’s easy to do.

You could sand it with the finest steel wool available. I have had good luck at times with that approach.

If the table has some sort of factory finish coat, then applying any solvents or using any abrasive will damage it (my table is like this). If it’s an older table without this sort of special finish, I would agree with trying a mild cleanser with a sponge, then progress to a 0000 steel wool (available at any building supply).

Barring that, you are probably going to have to refinish the table. Or just cover it with a tablecloth and forget about it.

Thanks for the advice so far. It is an antique table, but I’m not sure how old. I was planning on slowly progressing using stronger solutions and more abrasive steel wool or sandpaper each time. I mean, there’s not much I can damage at this point!

We’re figuring it’ll be tablecloth time, or maybe we’ll just always keep a dish over that spot when company comes over…

Before using any solvents on the table, test them on the paper. Since water leached the dye into the table, you may be able to get it out simply by leaving a damp sponge over the stain. Also some red dyes are very sensitive to bleach. You may be able to eliminate the stain with a quick swipe with some chlorox. Again, check the paper first, and don’t leave bleach in contact with the wood for very long.

Red dyes are notoriously photochemically unstable. This would be particularly true of dyes used in something disposable, like a napkin.

You should be able to significantly lighten the stain – and may even eliminate it completely – by leaving the table in bright sun for a few days.

Is it would or manmade material?

If the latter, bleach has worked for me. If the former, I don’t have much to add, except test underneath or something before you apply to the top.

If it’s an antique with any value, do nothing until you speak to someone who restores such things. Somebody on the board is a museum-type who may be able to help you. Not sure of the name.