How Do You Remove Black Water Stains from Hardwood Floors

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how to remove black water stains on hardwood floor

Unsightly black marks destroy the natural aesthetic look of the wood flooring. The accidental water spills seep into the polyurethane thin top layer of wood flooring leaving behind dark stains. But how can I remove dark watermarks from wood?

To remove dark water stains from hardwood floors, clean and dry the area first, then sand it thoroughly until you get rid of the dark spots. Bleach the part using hydrogen peroxide and then stain the floor with a color that matches that of your floor. Finally, refinish the floor with polyurethane.

Below are remedies for removing dark stains on your hardwood floor.

how to remove black water stains on hardwood floor

What Causes Dark Spots on Hardwood Floors

Water spills, blood, ink, food spillage, and pet mess (urine, vomit, and poop) causes of stain marks on the wood floors. Poor cleaning and maintenance habits can also leave dark stains on your wood floor. Kids’ urine enhances the growth of mold and mildew leaving behind dark spots on the wood floor.

High Moisture content leaves a black mold wood floor destroying its beauty. Failure to regularly clean grime and dirt tarnishes your wood finish to dark like stains on the surface. Improper use of steam mops may lead to dark floor marks.

Steam can penetrate through small openings like worn-out thin finish or even through scratches. It doesn’t have to be spaces between planks that can only destroy your floor, avoid steam mops if your floor is not sealed.

Black spots on wood can also appear due to prolonged exposure of water and metal- nails forming the Iron oxide. It reacts with the tannin in the wood and turns black. The use of the best hardwood steam mops is recommended for sealed floors. However, consider other cleaning methods if your floor is not sealed like the use of dry mops, use of vacuum cleaners or just use of soft bristle brooms.

How do you Get Black Water Stains out of Hardwood Floor

Cleaning and getting rid of dark stains on your hardwood floor can be a simple and easy procedure when done correctly, cleaners product and tools. You can remove black water stains out of oak or even dark urine stains from hardwood floors and restore wood look completely.

Select the products carefully and follow the following procedure to remove stains on your wood floor. You need not seek the services of a professional woodworker with the right recommended tools.

1. Clean the Spot

Soak finest steel wool in a mineral spirit and rub the stained area. You may choose to soak it in lemon oil as an alternative. Allow the mineral spirits to dry, In case you are using lemon oil consider use enough oil to prevent scratching the floor.

Take precautions to avoid using excess mineral spirit it can ruin your floor wax and finish. Consider gentle rubbing to prevent scratching the wood. If the floor has small black sediment, pine-sol can be a good solution for you with guardsman watermark remover cloth.

2. Sand the Black Marks

If the wood floor isn’t sealed, finished or polished, you can sand-off until the stain is gone. Scrape the entire stained layer out of the wood’s surface. Use back-and-forth strokes technique until the entire stained layer is gone.

Wipe up wood dust with a dry microfiber cloth or use the best hardwood vacuum machine. For the polished, sealed, and finished you can also sand the black stain out of the wood floor. Ensure you rub the sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain.

Feather the edges of the sanded area with steel wool to ensure they blend well with the original finish. Top-coats the area with wood varnish, lacquer or wax to match the originally used finish or the new desired stain.

Tip: Use belt sander if you want to get rid of stains from a larger wood surface area and maintain the uniform pattern.

3. Bleach the Stain

Using wood bleach is a method that you can help get rid of stubborn black stains from wood floors. These products are formulated to lighten the hardwood floor and in the process, help remove the stain and blemish.

Generally, some of the products are available as homemade while others are commercially available solutions. Here is a way to get rid of the dark stain off your hardwood floor.

Chlorine bleaching agents are best used to remove ink stains, blood, food, and all related stains.

White vinegar is a good cleaning agent. It deodorizes as well as a good disinfectant, Its good for both stain and odor on your hardwood floor. Mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of warm water in a bucket. Gently scrub the stained area until the stain is gone. Pat dry the cleaned area of your floor.

Hydrogen peroxide can help get rid of dark stains as well as lingering smell on your wood floor. Get a piece of clean cloth and soak on hydrogen peroxide. Allow t to sit on the stain overnight or at least 8 hours or longer until it gets rid of the stain.

Tip: If it bleaches your stained section, consider sanding and finishing the floor.

Baking soda is an excellent stain remover especially if added to vinegar. Mix the vinegar with baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste on the stained areas and let it dry completely. Get a soft or microfiber cloth to wipe the paste. It should help get rid of a black stain on your floor.

Oxalic acid is the best to treat stubborn aged stains discolorations like black water and rust stains from your hardwood floor.

Once the bleaching process is over, use a neutralizer before sanding and refinishing your floor for a new protective layer on your surface.

Here a video on how to use oxalic acid to get dark marks out of wood.

Oxalic Acid - How to use oxalic acid

Tips: Ensure you read manufacturers instructions before using any bleach on your floor. Wear protective gloves to avoid getting with your skin as well as ensure the room is well ventilated and lighted. Safety is paramount when using these bleaching agents.

4. Stain the Spot

Sand the bleach area first with a fine grit sandpaper. Use your best vacuum cleaner to remove the sanding dust and other particles on your hardwood floor. Get the stain that matches your floor and apply it with a rag. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes and wipe it to remove the excess stain away.

5. Apply new Finish

Once the floor gets completely dry apply polyurethane. You may decide to use your favorite wax on the treated portion. Wood can intentionally be finished with black satin, and that’s called Ebonizing.

Tip: Use the same finish product you had used for the other part of your flooring. Otherwise, It may force you to refinish the whole floor to avoid discolorations and different color patches.

The steps above can be used to remove black stains out of the wood surface. The method is able to remove black water stain, pet urine and poop with little effort even for DIY.

How do you clean wood with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a good stain remover for white marks and black stains. But, will hydrogen peroxide damage hardwood floors? Hydrogen peroxide is a very effective cleaning product. It extremely safe for kids, pets and wood surfaces when used cautiously. The use of hydrogen peroxide will leave your wood surface looking new and sanitized with anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.

The bleaching effect of hydrogen peroxide removes surface dirt as well as stubborn pet dirt, mud and restore their appearance. However, unnecessarily strong hydrogen peroxide formula may whiten your dark floor finish.

Follow the following steps to remove stubborn dark streaks on wood.

  • Measure a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and pour it in a plastic basin or plastic container.
  • Cut a piece of cotton wool or use soft microfiber. Soak it in the hydrogen peroxide
  • Place the soaked cloth or cotton wool on the white marks and allow it to soak in the wood to completely bleach the stain out.
  • Remove the soaked cloth after about 4-6minutes and wipe up any excess hydrogen peroxide with a dry clean cloth. Pat it dry or allow it to air dry.

Here a video on how to get rid of dark pet urine marks on wood floor

How to remove pet urine stains from hardwood floor with hydrogen peroxide

How do you prevent water stains on wood?

Preventing dark spot marks on wood is an easy affair, ends up-saving on cost. The following ways can go a long way in preventing stains on wood.

  • Always clean or mop any liquid spill as soon as it happens.
  • Use recommended cleaning products for the hardwood floor. Choose the best vacuum cleaner, best hardwood mop for hardwood floor.
  • Get the best rug to protect the susceptible areas
  • Consider getting or putting furniture leg pads.
  • Always do damp mopping and completely avoid wet mopping.
  • Occasionally, check the molds and mildew formation as well as remove them immediately as they are realized.

Why does OAK wood go black?

Oak timber does turn black on areas with Nails, screws, handles, and hedges due to the formation of iron oxide (Ferrous oxide). The tannic acid that makes oak hardwood durable reacts with the iron metal to form dark black stain (Ferrous oxide) on the wood floor.

Is water a stain?

Actually, water can leave very tinny traces of visible stain sediments on your wood surface. Probably, these spot marks won’t do much for the appearance of wood floor or furniture.
But, it forms an unsightly color and at times odor when it comes in contact with Iron and manganese metals. Iron and manganese lead to the formation of dark-reddish-brown or brownish-black stain on your wood surface.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

2 thoughts on “How Do You Remove Black Water Stains from Hardwood Floors”

  1. My sister had the carpet pulled up and exposed her hardwood floors , the carpet been down for over 40 years ! The wood floors are really bad with dark stains , please what can we do ? Don’t have a lot of money on this and she is really upset! Help! Iam her sister and I do a lot of work in her house and I just want her to be happy!?


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