How to Remove Stains on Hardwood Floors

- Mar 30, 2020-

Consider your floor's finish before trying to remove a stain from wood floors. If the stain is on the surface, your floor probably has a hard finish, such as urethane. If the finish stain has penetrated through to the wood, the floor probably has a soft oiled finish—common in older homes whose floors have not been refinished and resealed. Wipe surface stains from a hard finish with a soft, clean cloth. Never use sandpaper, steel wool, or harsh chemicals because they can permanently damage the finish.

The following remedies are for hardwood floors with soft oiled finishes. If needed, end each treatment by staining the wood, then waxing and buffing the spot to match the rest of the floor.

  • Remove dark spots and pet stains: Rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax. If the area is still dark, apply bleach or vinegar and allow it to soak into the wood for about an hour. Rinse with a damp cloth.

  • Remove heel marks: Use fine steel wool to rub in floor wax.

  • Remove oil-base stains: Rub the area with a soft cloth and dish detergent to break down the grease. Rinse with clear water. If one or more applications don't work, repeat the procedure. Keep children and pets out of the room until you're done. Let the spot dry, then smooth the raised grain with fine sandpaper.

  • Remove water marks or white stains: Rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax. If the stain goes deeper, lightly sand the floor and clean with fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.