Will we have to re-finish this table?

Crackerjack housecleaners/furniture professionals, if I may:
I just discovered a oval-shaped, white cloudy scorch mark (I guess) underneath a place mat on our new dining room table. It’s a wood table with a darker (mahogany?) finish. We have a set of oval clay dishes we serve baked pasta in that match the oval exactly, so I’m sure that’s the culprit. Apparently, the place mat (pretty thick woven cotton) served only to add texture to the scorch mark. Anyway, is there a way to “buff this out”? I half-heartedly tried Pledge and got a cleaner, shinier scorch mark that smells lemon fresh :(. Does the whole top of the table need to be stripped/stained?
Thanks in advance.

I have had good luck putting a towel over the mark and running a hot iron over it for several seconds. Sometimes it takes a little while–I just keep lifting the towel to check the progress and reapplying the iron until the mark disappears

I’ve also lightly buffed out marks like that with a paste of plain white toothpaste and baking soda. (Mix in proportions such that it’s still somewhat spreadable, then plaster on and use a soft cloth to gently buff.) This was on an older wooden table - you might want to try a dab on, say, the backside of one of the legs, somewhere that dulling the polish won’t show.

I decided to try keturah’s tip first since it seemed to involve less work and I am lazy even though it seemed (sorry keturah!) completely unlikely that this method would work.

Well, it worked.


I’m so happy!! I have no idea why that works, but it did. I covered the spot with a white cotton napkin and ironed it on low with a steam iron for about a minute and the scorch mark is gone.

Thanks so much and thanks for your responses.

Awesome, glad to hear that worked! It seems to me like steam/warm moisture or something similar does it, as I’ve seen the same effect from leaving a freshly-delivered cardboard pizza box directly on a wooden table. You’ll probably want to use trivets under your serving dishes.

Don’t forget coasters for the hot mugs, too. Our ancient family table had any number of those white scorch marks from coffee mugs.

Glad it worked for you!