Removing Stains from Wood Floors

by Amy Gordon
(last updated May 27, 2019)

Wooden flooring is truly beautiful in its understated elegance. It can be your possession of pride for many generations to come. You must, however, be careful that the floor remains in pristine shape, free of stains. Once stains start to set in, they can cause long-term damage to the wood's finish. Fortunately, there are many easy corrective measures that allow you to remove stains from wood flooring without spending money on the whole refinishing process.

The solutions or solvents for removing stains from wood flooring should be chosen with utmost caution, as chemicals are generally harmful for wood finish. Before trying any measure for the first time, test it first on a hidden corner of your home to be sure it does not injure the flooring in any way. You should be patient in trying these procedures, since they demand slow but deliberate rubbing over a long stretch of time.

Water Stains, White Spots

One of the most common problems with wood flooring is the watermark. These watermarks often go unnoticed for days, and when they are discovered, the ghastly stain is usually already implanted on your lovely wood flooring.

A very easy solution is to rub the affected area with some toothpaste in a circular motion with a clean wet cloth. After the stain has disappeared, wipe out the toothpaste with the help of another damp cloth.

For more stubborn or older marks, rub the area with a fine grade (000 grade) steel wool. Then recoat the area with wax.

Another process involves sanding the area with light sandpaper and then cleaning it using mineral spirits or a wood floor cleaner and fine grade steel wool followed by a routine waxing of the floor.

Cigarette Burn Marks

The flipping of cigarette butts by the careless smokers results in long term damage to your expensive flooring. To remove this burn stain, apply a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone on the area with burn marks and rub lightly until the stain disappears. Next, clean the area with a clean piece of cloth and polish it.

Chewing Gum, Crayon, Candle Wax

Wax build up or thrown out chewing gum leaves nasty marks on the floor. To deal with this problem, compress the area with ice until the deposit is hard enough to be scraped off. You can also use wood floor equipment specially made for stripping wax. Rubbing with odorless mineral spirits also helps in stripping off candle wax and chewing gum residue from the floor. Clear the remnants with steel wool and buff the floor as usual.

To remove the crayon stains, place a blotter on the area and hard press a hot iron over the blotter.

Dried Milk, Liquor

Beverages are the most frequent things to spill and spoil the looks of your floor. Milk and alcohol are the most destructive among them. Dampen a cloth with ammonia and gently rub the affected areas. After allowing the spot to dry, apply some wax with your fingertip and polish the spot.

Oil Stains

For oil stains, first blot up as much oil as possible with tissue paper or newspaper. Dip a piece of cloth in dry-cleaning fluid and allow it to stand on the stain for five minutes. Using a dry cloth, wipe the area dry and then again wipe the area with detergent mixed with water.

Mold Stains

If water is allowed to stand on the surface for too long, it will invite mold growth. Use a metal or wood scraper to scrape off the surface layer of molds. For the most stubborn spots you can use very small amount of diluted Clorox bleach. Using light sandpaper, rub the area gently and then polish the area with a wax paste.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...


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