How to Remove Persistent Water Stains From Hardwood Floors

Water stains are among some of the most unsightly blemishes that can befall your glorious hardwood floors. When they pop up, they’re difficult to deal with. If they’ve been there for months, they might need to be sanded out.

We have some tips and methods to help you get rid of stubborn water stains from your hardwood flooring before they set in and become a visual nuisance.

The Different Types of Wood Stains

First, it’s important to identify what you’re dealing with. There are light and dark wood stains, both of which have their own difficulties.

Light water stains can simply be moisture trapped near the surface level of wood. These are most commonly referred to as water rings or ring stains when you forget to use a coaster on a wooden table, for example. With hardwood floors, condensation from an air conditioner unit is one of the most common reasons that this happens.

Dark wood stains are much deeper and usually stem from moisture problems. This could be due to trapped moisture under the subflooring, continued humidity, or other problems. Dark water stains almost always require sanding and refinishing to remove.

Use an Iron

A clothing iron can actually help to pull up all that moisture from inside of a water stain, and visually remove 80-95% of it until it’s no longer visible to the naked eye.

All you have to do is make sure your clothing iron is completely empty, and lay a cotton towel down over the water stain. Let the iron heat up on its lowest setting for a moment.

Lay the iron down on the towel directly over the water stain. Press the iron against it for a few seconds, and lift it up to check on the water stain. This may need to be repeated five or more times until the water ring is completely gone, although you should see it gradually lessen the more you do this.

To reiterate: don’t use anything other than the lowest setting, and do not apply the iron directly to your floors.

Toothbrush and White Distilled Vinegar

This age-old method uses something simple: a plastic bristle toothbrush, and white distilled vinegar to remove stains. While this doesn’t lift the moisture out from the wood, it does remove the visibility of water stains.

Simply use a toothbrush to gently scrub circles into the areas of the water stain. Keep in mind that these bristles aren’t the most delicate on your floors, so the finish may be slightly damaged after. This pulls the stains out after a few minutes of continuous circular motions.

White Toothpaste

Vinegar didn’t work? That’s okay—take that same toothbrush and use white toothpaste to get the job done. It’s important that the toothpaste has no added coloring whatsoever.

Simply brush circles into the floor with white toothpaste to remove water stains. After one to two minutes, clean up the toothpaste and inspect the area. Doing this for too long can ironically cause discoloration in other parts of the wood, so if this doesn’t work, try something else.


Sanding and Refinishing

If all else fails, the floors may just need to be sanded down and refinished. Assess all of your flooring to see if the entire space could benefit from refurbishment.

If you’re only experiencing a few water stains that don’t appear to have any underlying causes, consider using an area rug in the meantime until you’re ready to have the floors refinished.

This is a lengthy project. DIY warriors can absolutely get it done, but it’s very time-consuming.

Deep Cleaning and Recoating Options

If your hardwood floors are simply damaged beyond DIY levels of repair, it’s time to bring in the big guns. Contact us today at (215) 515-7355 for a quote on new high-quality hardwood flooring and repair services. Restore those waterlogged, stained floors, or let us help you select an entirely new hardwood floor.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

Recent Hardwood Flooring Projects
in Philadelphia & NJ

Every client of ours brings unique challenges and needs to their hardwood flooring project. Whether it's intricate pattern or border work, or simply a standard installation it's great to see the finished results. Take a look at some of our favorite projects in Philadelphia and NJ below.

Follow Us on Instagram