Removing marks from hardwood floors

First thing to consider before removing any marks or stains from your wood floor is the floor’s finish. There are several types of finish depending on how deep the stain has penetrated through the finish.

If the stain has not penetrated and it is on the surface, probably your finish is a hard one – such as urethane. If the stain has penetrated through to the wood, the finish is maybe a soft oiled one.

Surface stains are easy to remove. Just use a soft clean cloth to wipe the stained area. Avoid using sandpaper, steel wool or any chemicals, as those can damage the finish.

Removing marks from soft oiled finishes requires a little more attention. Treatment depends on the type of stain you try to remove. Follow our suggestions on how to easily remove marks from your hardwood floors.

Fixing white stains or water marks: Let the stain dry for two days to see if it disappears. If it is still cover the stain with a white cotton cloth and rub with a hot iron (set to no steam) for several seconds. If that doesn’t work, rub the spot with very fine steel wool pad soaked in lemon oil to prevent scratching. Then, clean the stain with odorless mineral spirits.

Dark spots and pet stains: These require more attention when penetrated deep into the finish. One of the solutions is treating the stain with bleach. Repeat after several hours and let the area rest until next day. Rinse with clear water. If the area is still dark, strip, sand and reseal the spot if possible.

Cleaning greasy stains: Such stains should come off with dish-washing detergent. Use a soft cloth to rub the stain and the detergent will break down the grease. Rinse with clear water. You may need to repeat the treatment several times.


For regular maintenance, use a spin mop which is self-wringing. It requires no bending and wringing with your own hands. It cleans better than anything else if it is a one that wrings out very dry.

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