How to Remove Stains from Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a beautiful part of any homes; however, occasionally the floors will be stained. Many homeowners think that they must resort to sanding the floors to remove the stains. This is not always true. Removing the stain depends on the type of stains present.

Alcohol Stains

Entertaining guests can lead to spills on the hardwood floor.  Stains from alcoholic drinks can be cleaned up using warm water and a detergent solution. If the stain does not come up, use a clean cloth and denatured alcohol. Don’t soak the cloth, just dampen it and wipe the stain away.


Children tend to color on everything. Should the wood floor fall victim, bring out the toothpaste. Rub the stain using a dab of dampened toothpaste on a sponge. This does not work well on porous surfaces of any type.

Blood Stains

A nicked finger can lead to a trail of blood drops. These blood stains can be removed using a sponge mop and cold water. If, however, this does not work, a mixture of ammonia and cold water can be used to remove the stain.

Dark Spots

Dark spots on hardwood floors are usually due to alkaline liquids that were allowed to dry on the floor. To remove, the area with the spot must first have the wax coating removed. Mineral spirits can be used to do this.

After removing the clear layer, apply white vinegar to the stains and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Wipe with a clean cloth and allow to dry. Repeat if necessary. For dark spots that do not come out a professional may need to be called.

Lipstick Stains

When the end of the lipstick falls out of the tube and lands on the floor, clean up is a breeze. Mix detergent with warm water and use a sponge to remove the stain. If the stain remains, use a fine steel wool dipped in the detergent solution to lightly scrub the stain away. Do not use steel wool if the floor is a ‘no-wax’ floor, instead use a plastic scourer.

Nail Polish

Try as they might, often women will get a smudge of nail polish in the oddest of places. Should it wind up on the hardwood floor, use fine steel wool to gently remove the polish. Rinse thoroughly with a clean sponge. If the finish was removed using the steel wool, recoat.

White Rings

White rings are a common occurrence on hardwood floors. Water causes them and removal is a simple process using lemon oil. White rings mean the water is trapped in the floor’s finish. Pour a heavy coat of lemon oil onto a fine steel wool pad and use this to buff out the stain. The lemon oil prevents the steel wool from damaging the wood.

Hardwood floors should bring years of beauty and enjoyment to a home. Accidents and spills are bound to happen, however, with the right cleaning process, the floor will remain as beautiful as it was the day it was installed.

Contributed by Houston Cleaners, providers of Texas Cleaning

  • Great info.  We have several GREEN products that will remove scuff marks, polish, lipstick, etc. from hardwood, and carpet.  We also have an amazing product that safely removes those impossible to remove glues that hold vinyl tiles down.

  • Good presentation; valuable information.  You might want to address a couple of issues that seem to get folks in trouble:

     Is the floor really hardwood, or a modern laminate?

     What kind of finish is on it?   I've seen both oil and water based urethane, oil and occasionally paste wax.  One behaves differently from another.

  • There are a lot of ways to effectively remove stains in hardwood flooring. I agree that the type of stain should be considered, but it's important to consider the type of wood and the type of finishing used.

    I tried <a href=" flooring St Pete</a> when I installed oak hardwood floorings to my newly built house. The flooring was finished with UV and urethane to assure durability. It was also easier since the finishing made cleaning a lot easier. Simple wiping can solve major stain problems.