How to Remove White Water Stains on Wood Floors

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water stain on hardwood floor

Whether the white spots on your wood floor are from a spill left uncleaned, heat damage , or something else completely, you likely want your floor back to the way it was before the white spots appeared.

We’ve put together a guide to help you identify what caused the white spots, natural remedies to fix them, and how to prevent white spots on your wood floor in the future.

To remove white water stains on wood floors, sand the water-damaged area with a fine-grit sandpaper to clear the spot and then refinish the area with wood oil. Alternatively, bleach out the water spot with a weak hydrogen peroxide solution or baking soda. You may need to replace the plank with a new one if the damage is extensive.

Ensure you use the right tools and no bleaching and cleaning agent residue is left on the floor.

What Causes White Spots on Wood Floors?

Causes of water white marks on wood floor
  • Stagnant liquid spills from things like medicines, perfumes, alcohol, and juice can end up becoming trapped under the floor’s finish if not mopped up in time. This can result in white or grayish spots that form on your hardwood flooring.
  • Water spots on wood floor after mopping. This could be from mineral deposits from the water or indicate that too much dirty water was left behind after mopping.
  • White streaks or spots may also form due to the wrong cleaning technique and cleaning products.
  • Placing hot items like clothing irons, pizza boxes, and hot pans on your wooden floor can cause white marks.
  • Many homeowners apply a polyurethane coat on their wooden floors to increase resistance to stain damage. Polyurethane is prone to wear and tear of the top thin layer making it susceptible to stain damage. 

When you already have this problem, what can you do to remove the white marks?

There are a few ways to fix white marks on wood as well as ways to prevent and protect your wood surface from stains.

Here’s a guide on the methods you can use to restore the wood finish without causing any permanent damage:

How to Fix Water Damaged Wood

You can fix water-damaged wood floors with common household items such as sandpaper, hydrogen peroxide, mayonnaise, mineral spirits, and baking soda

Freshly made stains rarely soak very deeply and are easy to clean and get rid of out of the wood surface. Old stains such as dark water streaks and pet urine stain usually soak very deeply into the wood making them very difficult or almost impossible to fully get rid of.

Fortunately, there are some procedures to get rid of white spots on the hardwood floors.

Clear the Stains With a Fine Sandpaper

Stains are usually surface discolorations that you may get rid of with nothing more than just a light scraping or rubbing with an abrasive scrub pad or fine sandpaper.

Always take this step before reaching for more serious cleaning solutions and stain remover products that may be dangerous for kids and pets.

How Do You Get Water Stains Out of Hardwood Floors Without Sanding?

You can get water stains out of hardwood floors without sanding by using hydrogen peroxide, mineral spirit, mayonnaise, or baking soda. We’ve included the specifics on how to use each of these methods below.

Clean the Marks With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a good stain remover for both white and black stains on wooden floors. Here’s how to remove stubborn white streaks on your flooring with hydrogen peroxide:

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

Will hydrogen peroxide damage hardwood floors? 

Hydrogen peroxide is a very effective cleaning product, safe for kids, pets, and wood surfaces if used correctly. It 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 and urine marks, and mud. Therefore, it can restore the appearance of wood floors.

Note, however, that unnecessarily strong hydrogen peroxide formula may whiten the dark finish of your floor.

Here’s a video on how to remove pet urine with hydrogen peroxide.

Remove pet urine on hardwood floor

Use mineral spirit

Mineral spirit can remove and destroy any floor wax and finish. Be careful not to apply a lot of it on the stains and the surrounding areas.

When used correctly, it will clear white spots on hardwood floors.

Here’s the procedure to help you get rid of white streaks on wooden floors using mineral spirit:

  • Add some amount of mineral spirit on a spray bottle. Spray the whites stained spots.
  • Gently scrub thoroughly with non-abrasive pad or cloth over the white spots.
  • Allow it to settle for about 4-6minutes, before rubbing the excess mineral spirit liquid.
  • Give it some time to air dry.

Use mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is made from a mixture of eggs, vinegar, oil, and lemon juice. You can use mayonnaise to remove water stains from wood? Its ingredients can help clear out white water stain in your wood flooring and furniture, leaving it shined with oil.

White water stains will still happen even with utmost care, but you can get rid of them with the use of mayonnaise. Here’s how:

  1. Dab a bit of mayonnaise on a clean piece of cloth.
  2. Gently smear the mayonnaise to cover the stain.
  3. Allow it to sit on the stain for at least one 1 hr or overnight.
  4. Reapply the mayonnaise if the initial one dries up.
  5. Clean up the stain with a clean cloth.
  6. Polish the area with good furniture oil.

Note that mayonnaise is a non-destructive method that may be used with other methods I’ve discussed above to remove black water stains.

However, for deep white spots, neither hydrogen peroxide nor mineral spirit can remove them completely. So, consider sanding and refinishing the affected area.

Use baking soda

Baking soda is a good stain remover for water stains on wood flooring. Follow these steps to remove white water stains on your wood surface:

  1. Mix baking soda and water to form a paste.
  2. Spread the paste over the stained area.
  3. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  4. Blot up the paste with a damp cloth.

Repeat the process until the stain is removed.

Apply heat on the spots

Heat can actually get rid of the white marks on the wood floor, not just causing them. Both an iron box or a hairdryer can be used to provide the needed heat.

For use of the hairdryer method,

  • Get a piece of cloth.
  • Use the lowest heat setting and direct the hot air on the white marks on the wood surface.
  • Keep the hairdryer moving over the white stained area until they disappear.
Really works! Remove water stains in wood with a hair dryer!

For Use of the Iron Method

  • Pour out any water that is inside the iron.
  • Take a piece of cloth and place it over the stain.
  • Pick the clothing iron and set it on the lowest heat setting.
  • Run it over the piece of cloth for a short time as you lift it up to check the appearance of the white mark.
  • Repeat the ironing process if necessary to completely get rid of the white marks on your wood floor.

How to Prevent White Stains on Your Wood Floors

Once you’ve removed the white stains from your wood floor, you can put prevention measures in place to keep your floors stain-free from here on.

Here are some of the best ways to prevent stains on your wood floor.

  • 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 moisture susceptible areas.
  • Consider putting pads on furniture legs.
  • Always damp mop and completely avoid wet mopping.
  • Avoid placing hot items on the wooden floor surface.
  • Occasionally, check for mold and mildew formation and remove them immediately as they are realized.

Ways To Prevent Water Rings Marks

The best way to prevent black stains on your floor is to immediately wipe up any liquid spillage, while the floor is still wet. Regular daily cleaning and maintenance is the best secret you can always bear in mind. Consider if the flooring is waterproof. If it’s not, consider making your laminate waterproof.

Pet messes may be something hard to prevent, especially for young ones and is a common culprit for black stains. It would be easy to remove it right away before it penetrates deep into the flooring.

Aged stains will require a lot of effort and cost to remove them depending on how far they have penetrated on your floor. Black stains with rings around are the toughest to remove since they usually affect even the wood from underneath.

Regular cleaning with the right tools, dry mops, and vacuum cleaners may also go a long way in reducing the cost of removing ingrained stains on the floor. Consider daily sweeping or vacuuming to remove dust and loose particles that may scratch your floor. Mop weekly with your best mop and avoid wet mopping or water pooling on the wood surface.

Water Stains Have No Place on Your Wood Floor

Following the steps above will help you remove stubborn wood floor stains. These natural solutions to stained wood will not cause any harm to other household members (including pets). 

Good luck with the stain removal! Let me know what method worked best for you in the comment section below.

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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.

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