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! ...


Removing Coffee Stains

Stains from coffee are some of the easiest food stains to obtain and often are the hardest to remove. These four simple ...

Discover More

Removing Water Stains from Drywall

Water stains on drywall attract mold and mildew, so kill any growth by rinsing the wall with bleach and water. This ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Moles

Moles can be pests if left free to run around the garden. You can get rid of them by using a cat. For non-cat lovers, you ...

Discover More

Remove Stubborn Stains Quickly Get everything looking clean again: Walls, floors, baseboards, counters, blinds, appliances, and more. Micro-scrubbers easily reach into surface grooves, lifting dirt away. This low-cost 8-pack is great for stubborn stains and touble areas. Check out Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 8-Pack today!

More Cleaning Tips

Repairing Stained Linoleum

There are times when no matter what we try, it seems like we can't get that stubborn stain out of the linoleum. In ...

Discover More

Removing Stains from Grout

Begin cleaning grout by applying a liquid cleaner. To make cleaning easier in the future, use a grout sealer, and do not ...

Discover More

Cleaning Spilled Milk

Growing up we were always told to never cry over spilled milk. But what about the stains left behind? Crying over those ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.