How to remove black stains from hardwood floors


Once you find black stains on your hardwood floor, they can be undesirable to look at. Luckily, these dark stains are easy to deal with using the right technique, products, and tools. It is important to choose the products carefully and follow the correct methods in removing stains on the wooden floor. Read further to learn ways on how to remove black stains from hardwood floors. 

Steps on how to remove black stains from hardwood floors

When your hardwood floor ends up with black stains, you can readily get rid of them by following these steps on how to remove black stains from hardwood floors. 

  • Cleaning the spot. Soak a ball of fine steel wool in a mineral spirit and rub the stained area. An alternative is soaking it in lemon oil. Allow the mineral spirits to dry. If you are using lemon oil, use enough oil to prevent scratching the floor. Rub gently to prevent scratching the wood. 
  • Sanding the black marks. If the wooden floor is not sealed, finished, or polished, you can sand-off until the stain vanishes. Use back-and-forth strokes until the stain is gone. Wipe away the wood dust using a dry microfiber cloth or use a vacuum cleaner. For polished, sealed, and finished wood, you can sand the black stains out. Just make sure that you will rub the sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain. Feather the edges of the sanded area using a ball of steel wool to ensure they blend well with the original finish. Apply wood varnish, wax, or lacquer as a top coat to match with the original finish.
  • Bleach the stain. The method that involves using wood bleach can also remove stubborn black stains from the wooden floor. These products work by lightening the hardwood floor and helps remove the stains. Aside from the commercially available solutions, there are also homemade options available such as the following:
    • Chlorine. Ideally used to get rid of blood, ink, and food stains.
    • White vinegar. This works as a disinfectant and deodorizer that is good for both stains and odor on your hardwood floor. Mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of warm water. Scrub the site until the stain vanishes and pat dry. 
    • Hydrogen peroxide. Saturate a clean cloth with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit overnight or at least 8 hours or longer until the stain vanishes. If the stained area bleaches, consider sanding and finishing the floor. 
    • Baking soda. Mix vinegar with baking soda to create a paste. Dab the paste on the site and allow it to dry fully. Use a soft cloth to wipe the paste away.
    • Oxalic acid. This works best for stubborn aged stains. Once the bleaching process is over, use a neutralizer before sanding and refinishing the floor.
  • Staining the site. Sand the bleached area first using fine-grit sandpaper. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the wood dust. Choose a stain that matches your floor and apply it with a rag. Let it sit for up to 15 minutes and wipe away to remove the excess. 
  • Applying a new finish. Once the floor completely dries up, apply polyurethane. You can choose your preferred wax on the treated area. 

How to prevent stains on wood

It is easy to prevent dark spots on the wooden floor. Let’s take a look at some of the tips in preventing stains on wood.

  • Always clean up any liquid spills right away.
  • Use the recommended cleaning products for the hardwood floor. Choose a vacuum cleaner or hardwood mop suitable for the hardwood floor.
  • For susceptible sections, use a recommended rug for protection. 
  • Use furniture leg pads. 
  • When cleaning, perform damp mopping.
  • Inspect for mold and mildew formation and remove them right away.

What causes black stains on hardwood floors?

If you discover black stains on your hardwood floor, it has a variety of causes. Blood, water spills, ink, pet urine or poop, and even food spills can result in stain marks on wooden floors. Lack of care and maintenance can also leave dark stains on your wooden floor. In case human urine spills on the floor, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew, resulting in dark spots on your wooden floor.

The black spots on your wooden floor might also form due to extensive exposure to water as well as nails that form iron oxide. It reacts with the tannin present in the wood and turns black. 

Will hydrogen peroxide damage hardwood floors?

Hydrogen peroxide is comprised of water with an extra oxygen molecule. It is often used as a cleaning and bleaching agent. 

It is an effective cleaning solution that is safe to use on a hardwood floor and will not cause any damage if used correctly. With its antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, it goes beyond eliminating dirt and debris. However, the main advantage of hydrogen peroxide is its potent cleaning abilities. In most cases, applying hydrogen peroxide on wooden floors can make them look good as new.

Hydrogen peroxide can clean and sanitize wood. When applied on a wooden floor, it gets rid of surface dirt and stubborn stains. Regardless of the type of stain on your hardwood floors, hydrogen peroxide can restore its appearance. 

Do I have to sand hardwood floors to remove stains?

Certain stains are hard to remove regardless of the product that you will use. It is important to note that sanding and refinishing hardwood floors can be used on stains that penetrated the finish, not those that are deep into the wood but difficult to remove.

Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand and avoid getting deep into the wood. Once you are certain that the stain is fully removed, continue to refinish, and seal the wood. The site you have sanded might look slightly different from the entire hardwood floor. In case the stain was brought about by pet urine, the area might still release odor, thus you need to apply a deodorizing agent. 

Final thoughts

Black stains on the hardwood floor can be undesirable to look at, especially if you have light-colored floors. Do not worry since you can readily deal with the stains. With the methods described on how to remove black stains from hardwood floors, you can thoroughly clean your hardwood floor and keep them free from any stains. 

teammichael

Michael René, consultant, is the leading stain removal expert in Denmark. Read about him and the rest of the team here

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