𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙛𝙛𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙠𝙨. 𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙖𝙛𝙛𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙠, 𝙬𝙚 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙖 𝙨𝙢𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙩 𝙣𝙤 𝙘𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪

How to Remove Water Stains From Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are susceptible to water, which is why they are not ideal for wet areas. However, accidents occur, and water spills on the hardwood floor in your living room or bedroom will leave unsightly stains.

Nevertheless, this should not make you worry as there are many alternative methods of removing stains from wood floors. Most procedures are, in fact, home remedies and involve the use of common household items.

Keep reading this article to learn how to remove stains from your hardwood floor.

Types of Water Stains

The method you apply to remove water stains varies depending on the type. First, you must know which kind of stain you are dealing with to handle it effectively. So, what are the types of water stains? There are two common types of water stains: white water stains and black water stains.

White Water Stains

White stains or light water stains refer to watermarks that only affect the floor finish. They commonly affect new floors with a polished finish.

Black Stains

This type of water stain penetrates deep into the layers of wood leaving darker colors on wood floors. These stains affect both new and old wooden surfaces. Due to the deep penetration of the stain, removing it involves scrapping off the floor finish to access internal layers.

How Do you Remove White Water Stains From Hardwood Floors?

Removing light water stains is simple and often involves using common household items such as toothpaste, petroleum jelly, and baking soda. However, one method may work better than the other. Where one alternative fails, you are advised to try the next alternative until you get the required results.

Petroleum Jelly/Mayonnaise

Put a little petroleum jelly or mayonnaise on a soft cloth, then rub it on the stained floor. Leave it for about 24 hours. The mineral oils contained should be able to absorb the water and remove the stain.

White Toothpaste

If the jelly and mayonnaise do not work, try using white toothpaste. Apply some toothpaste on a soft cloth and rub it gently on the stained area. White paste has good abrasiveness that helps remove lighter wood stains on the wood floors.

However, abrasive substances can damage the wood grain of your floors. Therefore, you should be careful when using toothpaste. Scrub gently for a maximum of 60 seconds.

Salt with Oil

Take a teaspoon of salt and add oil to make a thick paste. Scoop the paste using a clean cloth and scrub the wood stain gently.

The salt gives the oil grit to remove the stains from the hardwood floor. Do not be too rough on the floor; scrub softly in the direction of the wood grain.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Another home remedy for light spots is to use vinegar and baking soda. The first thing you would want to do is mix equal parts of olive oil and vinegar. Next, add some baking soda to the mixture for enhanced cleaning power. Then, take a clean cloth, soak it with the mixture, and softly scrub the watermarked area.

Pro advice: scrubbing in the direction of wood grains helps preserve your natural wood finish.

Commercial Wood Cleaners

Hardwood floor cleaners are your next ideal option if the above options fail. These products are specifically formulated to remove watermarks on wood floors. Apply some of the commercial floor cleaners onto the affected area and wipe it off using a damp cloth. The commercial cleaner should be able to remove the stain.

Sandpaper or Steel Wool

This should be your last alternative; it involves scrubbing off a layer of wood to remove wood stains. Unfortunately, this option is not ideal for antique wood floors as it damages the wood grains.

Hardwood floor manteinance

Removing Black Water Stains

Removing dark stains is quite involved and requires you to penetrate through the floor finish. Wood bleach is the most common way of removing these types of stains.


Bleach is an ideal solution for dark spots deep within the hardwood floor. You will want to go for commercial wood bleach specifically formulated to remove stains from wood surfaces.

First, you will want to scrape off the floor and finish using sandpaper. Once the finish is removed, apply the bleach directly onto the dark spot. You will then want the bleach to sit in for hours to produce the required results.

Once you have achieved the required lighter color, neutralize the wood bleach using water and vinegar in a ratio of 2:1. After the process is complete, clean the floor thoroughly using a damp cloth.

You will want to apply coats of finish to restore the original look; this could be wood varnish, wax, or wood polish. If you have dark stains on your antique floor, you may consider leaving it as it is, as bleaching will make you compromise the floor’s natural finish.

Removing Fresh Water Stains

Addressing a water stain as soon as you notice it will prevent it from sinking deeper into the actual wood. Use a clean cotton towel to absorb water as soon as it spills on your wooden floors. If the area is still damp, use a blowdryer on the lowest heat level to dry the floor. Alternatively, you can cover the area with a microfiber cloth and pass an iron over on low heat. This should dry the damp area.

You should apply wood polish after that to restore the look of your floor.


Hardwood floors give your house an elegant vintage look. However, wooden floors are susceptible to water and you should take extra care to minimize water spillage on wood surfaces.

Sometimes water spillage, for example, a plumbing leak, is unavoidable, and knowing alternative ways of dealing with watermarks that result from it is thus important.

You should, however, note that some methods work better than others, depending on the type of the stains. Before settling for the abrasive ways, try all other home remedies first; abrasive methods damage the wood grains of your floor surfaces. Also, always re-polish or wax your surfaces after removing the stains to preserve the finish.

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