Apple's HomePod ($349.00 at Apple) entered the smart speaker space behind Amazon's Alexa speakers and the Google Home ($129.00 at Dell Home), lagging behind in both features and integrations. But that's not the biggest problem people are having with the speaker so far. It has nothing to do with audio quality or that it only works with Apple's audio services or iOS. Instead, the issue is what the speaker is doing to wooden tables.
In what some are calling #staingate, the silicone pad on the base of the HomePod is creating white, ringlike stains on some wooden surfaces. First brought to widespread attention in Wirecutter's review of the HomePod, the speaker can be seen pictured with multiple ring stains on a wooden surface (pictured above).
Apple confirmed the issue to Wirecutter, stating "the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface." Wirecutter's Jon Chase also reports that the ring-shaped stains did fade over time. Stuart Miles of Pocket-Lint also notes a ring appearing after just 20 minutes. The ring faded after a few days, but not entirely.
All of this is to say, choose wisely where you place your Apple HomePod. Below are four different ways to keep it from staining your furniture.
If you're reading this, after the damage was done, there might be a solution. Try some of the tips in our guide to removing stains from wood furniture.
For starters, try to choose a non-wood surface that the HomePod won't stain. Treated wood (stained, oiled, etc.) are most susceptible to the ring-shaped stains from the base of the HomePod. Apple's support page explains why:
It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces. The marks can be caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface, and will often go away after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface. If not, wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks. If marks persist, clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer's recommended cleaning process. If you're concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface.
If avoiding a wooden tabletop isn't possible or ideal, place something under the HomePod to create a barrier between the silicone and wood. For example:
Optionally, if you haven't already removed it, you can leave the protective plastic that comes on the HomePod on the base. However, this might keep the silicone from doing its job and keeping the speaker planted. The protective plastic won't be nearly as grippy as the silicone.
Finally, you can avoid the issue altogether by lifting the HomePod off a tabletop. Instead, try mounting it to the ceiling. For the time being, there aren't a ton of mounting options for the HomePod -- the only on on Amazon is the MERES bracket. But if the Google Home and Alexa speakers are any indication, mounting options may be more plentiful in the future.
Just keep in mind that where and what you place the speaker on can affect the sound from the speaker.
If your HomePod does happen to stain your wooden furniture, Apple does have a suggestion: try cleaning the wooden surface using the manufacturer's oiling method. If that doesn't work, give the stain some time. In the worst-case scenario, the surface may need to be refinished.