Hardwood floors are a warm and inviting addition to any room, and people do everything they can to protect them and keep them looking great. They are finished with a polyurethane seal to protect the wood from spills, scratches, and even pet stains. However, it is still important to clean up spills right away.
If you find pet stains on your wood floors, you may want to try sanding them out. Once you start, you will find that the stain penetrates the wood more deeply than you can sand. Once you sand, the wood will still be discolored. There are ways to treat the pet stains, but sanding alone won’t take care of it.
Why Do Pet Stains Penetrate Wood Floors?
You may think of pet stains the same way you do water stains or other spills, but there is a difference. Pet urine contains ammonia, which is a chemical that interacts with wood to darken it. You can have the same problem if you have a potted plant and notice a ring under it. Some fertilizers contain ammonia, which can get into your floors and darken the area.
You need to make sure that you clean any pet stains right away before they have a chance to penetrate deep into the wood. If you catch it right away, you won’t have the same level of damage. However, if it goes unnoticed, the urine will work its way into your floor, and you won’t be able to remove it by sanding and refinishing it.
The worst kind of pet stains are often found under carpet. The home may have carpet installed, and the pet urine could have gone undetected in the past. The end result is a dark black stain on the floor. Most of the time, this type of stain has to be cut out. It is very difficult to remove it with any method.
How to Fix Wood Floors Damaged by Pet Stains
The best way to repair your wood floors if they have pet stains is to replace the boards that are affected. You can cut them out and replace them without having to replace the entire floor. You need to be careful not to damage the boards around those you are removing. The boards will have a tongue on one side and a groove on the other.
The best way to remove individual boards is to take a chisel and cut a groove on each end of the plank you want to remove. Use your rubber mallet to bang the chisel down. Then, take a saw and cut straight up the middle from one chisel mark to the other. This way, you will get the board out without damaging the boards around it. Once you finish removing the boards, you can replace them, stain them, and seal them.
Can I Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Pet Stains?
Another method that has some success uses hydrogen peroxide along with sanding. Once you finish sanding the area, you can take a clean cloth, and soak it in hydrogen peroxide. Lay the cloth over the stain. This helps target the area and allows the peroxide to penetrate the stain. If it is a tough stain, you can use an iron over the towel as this will open the pores in the wood so that the hydrogen peroxide penetrates it more easily.
The peroxide will lighten the stains near the surface, so it removes some of the stain. The thing to remember is that there is a chance that the stain will appear again if you refinish the floors later. Peroxide isn’t lifting the stain out of the floor, but it does bleach the stains so that they are less noticeable.
Stain the Floor a Darker Color
If you have already tried sanding the stain out and replacing the floor boards isn’t an option, you can consider staining the entire floor a darker color. This won’t get rid of the pet stain, but it will mask it. There are certain stain colors that are ideal for pet marks, so this can be a good option.
If you have removed carpet and notice dark stains underneath, your choices are to replace those areas of the floor, or you may be able to choose a dark stain color to conceal the stains. You will want to sand and use peroxide on the stained area, and then cover it with stain.
The best way to handle pet stains on your wood floors is to clean them up right away. You can neutralize the ammonia in the urine with white vinegar or baking soda as long as you catch it when it happens. However, if it does penetrate your floors, it will be a more difficult job. Sanding alone will not remove the stains, but you can apply hydrogen peroxide and then apply a darker stain to the floors. In the worst cases, you may need to replace the affected boards.