How do you get Dark Stains out of Hardwood Floors?

It can take time to remove black stains from hardwood floors — even ones you are cleaning on a regular basis.

It is simple to deal with any regular stain before it penetrates the surface finish and dries in the wood, but difficult dark wood stains require unique methods for removal.

Pet mess (urine, vomit, and feces), water spots, ink, blood stains, and food spillage are common causes of dark stains on the floor. Kitchen floors seem to collect the most stains due to food being spilled by kids from a plate or a family member might have a mishap while cooking. However, something as simple as a glass sweating condensation can leave you with white rings, which are water rings, on your beautiful wood flooring.

Poor maintenance and bad cleaning habits can lead to many wood floors getting destroyed. One of the leading causes of water stains is the incorrect use of a steam mop. For starters, you can use a dry cotton cloth or microfiber cloth with warm water then gently rub your wood floor. However, some hardwood floor stain remover products may damage your wood floor.

Steam doesn’t have to penetrate between planks to cause damage, but can get in any small openings caused by scratches, or a worn out or thin finish.

You should avoid steam mops if your floor is not sealed. This should include any other water-based cleaning methods that leave a film of water standing on the surface.

If your wood is not sealed, opt for other dry cleaning methods such as vacuuming, dry mopping, or sweeping with a soft bristle broom.

Growth of molds on hardwood floors caused by moisture can destroy the beauty of your hardwood floor.

Grime and dirt can tarnish your wood’s finish to something black if you do not clean on a regular basis. Ceiling leakage could drip water on your floor and cause a black stain to form.

So, how do you get dark stains out of hardwood floors?

The secret to an all-time clean and durable hardwood floor is daily maintenance and regular cleaning. The best time to remove any spillage is when it is wet. All you have to do is simply clean that spot by wiping up the spill by hand with a damp rag or paper towel before it has a chance to stain your floor.

Stains with age may take a lot of effort to remove depending on penetration depth. Black water marks with rings are the toughest to remove since the underlying wood has been affected.

Removing a stain depends on the cause, how long it has taken, and the depth it has penetrated into the wood. Here is a guide on the steps to remove black stains from hardwood floors.

How do you Remove Pet Urine?

Dirty water stains on your wood floor shouldn’t be neglected. We all know that accidents happen and pet mess is something pet owners have to deal with. This is common if you have a young pet that has not mastered potty training.

It can happen with older pets while sick, or due to incontinence. Dog urine soaked into hardwood floors is a common culprit for dark stains on a wood floor. And we don’t want these dark water stains ruining our wood grain.

It would be easier if you removed the mess immediately. But sometimes it happens in hidden areas of your house, around the edges of the room, and you notice after time or you encounter a lingering odor.

The finishes used on most hardwood floors can hold the pet mess for a short time before it penetrates into the wood.

Pet urine stains are difficult to deal with. The liquid nature makes it penetrate the wood quickly.

Urine contains elements such as ammonia, chloride, and potassium that can react with wood and, in the process, result in a permanent stain that may require sanding or replacement of the wood.

There are commercial products you can use as a wood floor cleaner to remove pet stains from your hardwood floor. Luckily, you also have the choice of some home remedy options that can be used to clear the stain.

These remedies include white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. White vinegar deodorizes and disinfects, and is the best way to remove the stain with the odor.

To use, mix a cup of white vinegar with the same amount of warm water in a bucket. Use the solution to scrub the stain.

For better results, you can mix the vinegar with baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste on the stain and let it dry. Use a soft cloth to wipe the paste and the stain will disappear.

Hydrogen peroxide is a suitable cleaning solution for removing dark stains and lingering smells on hardwood floors. Soak a piece of wool or cotton cloth in hydrogen peroxide and place over the stain overnight or at least 8 hours during the day. No one said removing wood stains was an easy task, sigh.

Repeat for longer hours if the stain is resistant. Hydrogen peroxide may bleach the section of your floor. To remove the discoloration and return your floor to its original color, you may be required to do some sanding and refinishing, as well as applying a new coat of wax. Don’t forget to buff your flooring after you reseal and wax it. Don’t let these lasting wood floor stains ruin your style.

Wood Bleach Products for Black Marks

This is another method you can use as a wood stain remover for black stains on hardwood floors. It’s suitable to use when you need a stronger stain eliminator if the stain is too stubborn to be removed by home remedies. Removing water stains is easier compared to removing black marks in your surface finish. For example, water marks or water stain in wooden floor can be rub gently with lemon oil. However, hot iron marks on wood floors are hard to scrub with a clean cloth.

Wood bleaching products are formulated to lighten wood and in the process remove the watermark or other blemish. There are various types of bleach.

Household bleach is a weak type of bleach that deals with ink stains, food spills, blood, and related stains. In this case, chlorine can be used.

Oxalic acid is a moderate type that treats aged black discolorations, black water spots, and rust stains. The two-part kit is the strongest and used as the last option.

A wood bleach works best to strip wood of its finish or sand the section so that it can penetrate. While sanding, use fine-grit sandpaper to avoid getting into the wood.

Wipe off clean before applying bleach. After the bleaching process, you will have to refinish and seal the surface for protection.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions on the label before use of any bleach on your wood. Safety is important. Wear protective gloves to avoid direct contact with your body. Work in a well-lit and ventilated room.

WoodFloor Sanding and Refinishing

Some stains are difficult to remove regardless of the product you use. An example would be dealing with established molds and dried paint.

Sanding and refinishing a hardwood applies to stains that have penetrated the surface layer of the finish and not deep into the wood but are hard to remove.

Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand and do not get deep into the wood. When you are sure that the stain is removed, you can proceed to refinish and seal the wood.

The area you have sanded may look slightly different from the rest of the floor. If the staining was caused by animal urine, the area may smell bad and require applying a deodorizing agent. There are floor cleaners specifically designed to remove pet stains and odors.

Replacing the Stained Wood

Some stains may penetrate the top layer of the wood and change its appearance or damage it. An example is the kind of dark water stains that form from water seeping down into the wood for some time before you notice or the pet urine got absorbed and reacted with the wood.

Replacing the planks or boards may be costly since you will need a professional to do it. A section may be replaced or the entire floor depending on the level of the damage.

Regular Cleaning

Knowing how to clean wooden floors can save you the cost and hustle of removing ingrained stains. One reason for stains is that dirt can eat into the finish and becomes difficult to remove when left to sit.

Sweep your hardwood floor on a daily basis to remove dust and loose debris. Consider mopping on a weekly basis. While mopping, avoid cleaning methods that may leave water pooling on the surface.

Why are my woodfloors turning black?

There are a few potential reasons why your floorboards may be turning black, and the reasoning will depend on a few different scenarios, some more serious than the others.

If you have oak flooring, over time, direct exposure to sunlight can cause the wood floors to turn black. While this is not ideal if you have purchased the flooring with the original color in mind, it only affects the color. The oak wood floors itself is still fine, and is not damaged in any way.

There are other causes for black wood flooring, and quite often, mold can be the culprit of this. Mold is something that can be troublesome, especially if it is underneath your wooden flooring, as it is not easily accessible. As the mold is black, the more it grows, the blacker and stained your wooden flooring is going to become.

This is something you will need to get resolved quickly, as mold is a health hazard. If there is mold present, this is typically caused by water, and you may notice that the flooring has also become water damaged.

In this instance, you will want to locate where the water damage is coming from, and resolve the issue to help prevent any further damage.

Does all woodflooring have tannins?

Yes, the vast majority of wood flooring does contain tannin, as this is what gives the flooring its color. If you are unsure of what tannin is, it is a type of acid that can be found naturally in trees and plants. The amount of tannin that a wooden flooring contains does depend on the type of wood.

For example, if you have a darker wood, such as oak or chestnut for example, these typically have quite a high level of tannin. There is far less tannin present in lighter colored woods such as pine.

You will be able to tell if wood flooring contains tannin, as this can cause the paint that is on the surface of the wood to become discolored. While this can be frustrating, unfortunately this is something that will likely happen if there is tannin present.

After painting due to the tannin, you may notice that the paint has some brown or yellow stains, which is caused by this. While this can appear with darker paints, it is more noticeable with white and cream.


Removing dark marks from hardwood floors can be a challenge. Be watchful to deal with any spillage or mess on your floor. Some stains can be impossible to remove once set.

Hardwood floors are an expensive investment that you should always protect. Regular cleaning with the right methods can add beauty and life to your floor. Be sure to check out our video below on tips for removing hardwood floor stains without sanding!

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