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Removing Stains From Hardwood Floors

May 17, 2021

Hardwood flooring is a beautiful asset to your home, however, proper installation can be just as important as maintenance. Spills and messes happen, but when left untreated they can have a greater impact on your hardwoods than you might think. Our best advice is to clean up spills as they occur, but if the stains have been in your hardwoods for some time there’s still hope. Here are a few tips for removing some of the most common culprits.

White Water Stains 

Letting spills sit on your hardwood flooring for more than a couple of minutes can cause staining that will last. The first thing you’ll want to determine about the stain is its kind. A white stain indicates a water stain, which is a relatively easy cleanup. If you do notice a white stain after a water spill, wait a couple of days to see if it disappears on its own. If it doesn’t, you have a few options. For flooring that has a wax finish or penetrating stain, use #000 steel wool and wax to gently rub the stain out. If your hardwoods have a surface finish, we recommend purchasing a cleaner that is specifically made for urethane finishes and gently rubbing it in with a clean, dry cloth. 

Dark Water Stains 

A dark water stain indicates that the stain has penetrated into the finish of your hardwood flooring. These stains are more troublesome and you may have a more difficult time trying to remove them. When attempting to remove a dark water stain, first try dipping an old toothbrush into a bit of bleach and gently scrubbing the stain. We recommend repeating this process after 4 to 6 hours, then letting it rest for 24 more hours. If this method doesn’t work, you’ll need to strip, sand, and reseal the area of the floor where the stain is. Not sure you can take on that project? We can help.

Food and Other Stains

Other stains such as nail polish and stuck-on food can be removed with a simple solution that you can mix right at home. All you need is dish detergent, warm water, and a cloth. Rub the area until it’s clean. For extra stuck-on on stain, try using an old toothbrush to agitate the stain. Pro tip: Whatever you do, don’t steam mop your hardwood floors.  
Have any questions about your hardwood flooring? Contact the 12th & Oak team.