Wood floors are durable and treated to resist heat and scorching, but they still are able to burn. When they do, it leaves a heat stain, which takes a lot of patience to remove. It is important not to further damage the wood in the process of restoring it.
No matter what the source of your heat stain is, you can remove it from your wood floor. You need to have patience to follow the steps in the process, from sanding to scraping and applying oil. If the damage is too great, you may need to cut out a plank of wood and replace it. Either way, you can restore your floor back to good condition.
How to Remove a White Heat Stain
A white heat stain is a stain, but the wood itself isn’t damaged. It happens when a hot object comes into contact with the wood. The heat causes the pores of the wood to open, and it lets moisture inside. Then, when the wood cools, the pores close and trap the moisture inside. You will see a white stain mark on the wood.
To remove these stains, there are several different processes you can try. Keep in mind that if the wood is black or dark brown where the heat was, it is probably scorched, and you will need to try a different method to remove it.
1. Use Toothpaste and Baking Soda
One of the reasons that toothpaste works so well is that it is an alkaline. This type of product reacts with stains to lift them off of the surface. You should mix it with baking soda because this enhances its ability to lift the stain. You need to choose a toothpaste that is a paste rather than a gel, as gels don’t have the same effect.
Take a damp cloth and clean the area where the heat stain is visible. Then, dry it before you get started. Create a paste of the toothpaste and the baking soda. You can add a few drops of water if you need to so that it is a paste.
Apply this paste to the stain on your wood. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so that it can interact with the moisture content in the wood. Then, wipe the paste off the wood with a clean, dry cloth. Make sure that you wipe sideways; don’t wipe down into the wood. When you finish, the heat stain should be gone.
2. Try Using an Iron
You may be wondering why you would use more heat to remove a heat stain, but this method actually does a great job. You need to pay close attention and use care when you try this method. The heat from the iron actually opens the pores in the wood again, which allows the moisture to exit.
Always make sure that the area is clean before you begin. You can use a damp cloth to wipe the surface. Set your iron on low, dry heat. Then, lay a towel over the stain, and iron the towel. Move the iron back and forth so that you don’t overheat the stain. If you are having trouble removing the stain this way, you can use steam. Only use small bursts of steam if you try it.
Check under the towel every few minutes, and you can stop when the stain is gone. Otherwise, put the towel back and continue ironing. You can polish the floor with a wood finish once you remove the stain.
3. Lemon Oil
Another product that people use to remove heat stains from wood is lemon oil. For this method, simply put the lemon oil on a clean cloth, and then wipe the stain back and forth until it is removed.
If none of these methods do the trick, your heat stain may have caused more damage. You will need to try a more intensive process to remove it.
Removing a Dark Heat Stain
For small heat stains that aren’t deep into the wood, you can follow these steps.
1. Sand the Area
The first step to removing the heat stain is to sand the area. It is important to be gentle and go with the grain. You only want to remove the top layer of the wood. You can rub mineral oil over this stain and take a fine steel wool pad to scrub it. Continue going with the grain of the wood, and try to remove the charred mark. It is important not to dig into the lower layers of the wood. When you finish this step, you can take a clean cloth and blot it until it is dry.
2. Scrape the Remaining Stain
If you have any of the heat stain left, you can scrape this area with a utility knife. Carefully use the tip of the knife and scrape away layers until the heat stain is no longer visible.
3. Polish Your Floor
You need to clean any debris off the floor before you polish it. Use a damp cloth to wipe the area clean, and then you can polish the floor with tung oil or another product.
What to Do If Your Floor Is Severely Damaged
If you find that you can’t remove the heat stain by sanding and polishing the area, then your floor has greater damage. The heat stain may go down too many layers to be able to repair it without leaving a hole behind. In this case, you will need to remove the section of wood and replace it.
Start by measuring the length of the board you need to replace. Make sure that you choose places to cut that are at least 10 inches away from the boards on either end. You can use a chisel and hammer to cut into the board. Make sure that your cut is clean and straight.
Next, you can cut into the center of this section with a circular saw. You can go lengthwise in a couple of places if you need to. Then, pry the wood out. Next, you should cut the new wood that will replace it. You can lay it in and bang it with a rubber mallet. You will need to stain the new board to match the existing floor.
What Causes a Heat Stain on Wood?
Your wood floors are impacted by extreme heat and moisture. When something hot touches the wood, it opens up the pores and water enters the wood. Then, as the wood cools down, the pores close, but the moisture gets trapped inside. The result is a heat stain, where the wood looks different in that spot.
Sometimes, the heat actually burns the wood. In that case, you need to remove it. This is a more difficult process than removing a stain. A heat stain is a whitish color, while a scorch mark is darker, almost black.
Wood is sensitive to heat because it opens up the pores and lets moisture into the wood. When the wood cools, it locks the moisture inside. You may notice a white heat stain, which is relatively easy to remove. However, if the stain is dark, charred, or scorched, you will need to use a different process to sand the damaged area. In some cases, you may need to replace the board altogether.