April 5, 2023

Floor Cleaning 101: The Best Ways to Remove Stains from Hardwood Floors

ink stain on wooden floor. Blue stain on orange floor.

Rings, spots, and stains can happen on your hardwood floors any day. But the difference is that not all are fixable with quick wipes and mopping. Hardwood floorings are some of the most durable and sought-after flooring options for many households in the US. They increase your home’s value tenfold and bring timeless elegance to your living space. Due to their numerous benefits, you must do whatever you need to keep them in peak condition, like ensuring they're stain-free. In this guide, learn how to remove stains from your wooden floors.

Things to Know Before Starting

Not all spills or stains affect your hardwood floors the same way. Depending on the amount of spillage, the type of stain, and how deep it went, homeowners can find and fix the spot without much problem. Hardwood species have different tolerance to moisture, heat, or other liquids and elements that you can spill on the planks. Knowing the differences and their resistance to these factors will help you find the best method to remove them.

When removing hardwood flooring stains, you must determine what the ring or watermark looks like. The appearance of the spillage or stain is essential to figuring out the best way of addressing them.

White stains often indicate surface-level type water stains that you can quickly remove. Dark-brown or black stains mean deeper staining that requires more work to get rid of and fix. Identifying these stain colors helps you indicate if the stain is still within your hardwood’s waxy surface layer or if it penetrated the finish and the graining of the floorboard.

Removing White Rings and Water Marks

Removing white rings and water marks start by letting them dry for at least 48 hours. Doing this will help you assess if the stain disappears on its own within the time limit. Once you reach the second day and they remain, you can try one method for stain removal.

Homeowners can use several stain removal techniques and methods, but it will still depend on your floor’s condition if they’re the best option. White rings are stains you can locate on the surface of finished hardwood floors, meaning they only stay on that layer and never penetrate deeper into the wood.

Here are some tools you will need for removing white ring stains.

  • Steel wool
  • Wax
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Mineral spirits
  • Cloth for buffing
  • Urethane finished floor cleaner
  • Scrub pad

The first thing you need to do is clean your polished or waxed floors. White rings often occur in refinished hardwood floorings. You must deal with them properly to avoid removing the coat layer. Take a ball of extra fine-grade steel wool and wax and gently rub them over the water stain.

After this process and the stain remains, lightly sand the area with fine sandpaper. Clean the sanded space with steel wool and mineral spirits or your preferred wood floor cleaner. Once the cleaner dries, stain the area, wax it, and buff them by hand.

Homeowners with urethane-finished hardwood floors can remove white rings with specialized wood floor cleaners instead. Scrub the space with the cleaner and a scrub pad for urethane floorings. Check with an expert which brand best fits your needs when buying.

When none of the previous methods help you remove the stain, you can also consider covering the white water marks with a dry cotton cloth and rubbing it with a hot iron for three seconds. In addition, you can dampen a cloth with denatured alcohol and iron it over the white rings for several seconds.

Removing Dark Water Stains

Flooring black rings or dark watermarks are more problematic than white rings due to their penetration. While white ring marks are surfaced-level stains, black water stains have penetrated through the finish and to the hardwood.

Unlike the methods used in removing white rings, homeowners only need two tools to deal with the dark penetrative stains. These are small brushes, like toothbrushes and bleach.

When removing dark water stains from hardwood floors, you have two options for dealing with them. One of the methods you can try is dipping a small toothbrush into a small amount of concentrated home bleach and rubbing it over the stain. Be mindful not to use too much bleach, or it will fade the finish and natural color of the hardwood planks. Do this process for another round within several hours before letting the are rest for at least 24 hours.

An alternative method to remove the dark rings on your hardwood floors is to strip the damaged wood, sand them, and reseal the area. 

Signs You Need Hardwood Floor Repair Services in Austin, TX

Cleaning hardwood floors is essential to ensure they stay durable and in peak condition. While other causes of damage happen, spills, stains, and water rings can occur any time of the day. Despite wiping and mopping the spillage clean, they’re not the only fix-it option to consider. Knowing the different types of stains and their quick remedies can prevent more damage to your hardwood floors. In addition, it’ll help homeowners check if they need professional services to deal with it.

Visit Kelly Hardwood Floors to get the best hardwood floor repair services in Austin, TX, today!