Tips for Handling Hardwood Flooring Stains

Like any homeowner, you’re probably very proud of the hardwood flooring in your home. Hardwood floors lend elegance and class to a home; unlike carpets, they do not harbor dust mites and other things that can exacerbate allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues. Many people are quick to point out the easy-to-clean nature of wood floors. While it’s generally true, there are a few types of stains that require a bit more effort to remove than others. By learning about the basic techniques and strategies for removing stubborn stains, you can keep your wood floors in topnotch shape; learn more below.

Basic Care Tips

Before delving into the specifics about handling various hardwood flooring stains, it doesn’t hurt to go over a few basic care tips. To avoid dents and scrapes on your floors, be sure to adhere felt pads to the bottoms of your furniture. If the wood flooring is located in a room that leads outside, have everyone get into the habit of removing their shoes before entering – this will keep the amount of dirt and debris that is tracked in to a minimum. Finally, if a lot of sunlight pours into the room during the day, install shades or blinds to minimize sun damage.


Nothing is more disheartening than discovering a piece of gum stuck to your pristine hardwood flooring. Right away, remove as much of it as you can with your fingers. You may be surprised by how much of it comes right up. You will be left with some sticky residue; if the gum’s been there for a while, a large piece could remain steadfastly stuck to the floor. Place ice in a zip-close plastic bag and lay it on top of the gum. When the gum is frozen, chip away at it with a flexible piece of plastic – credit cards work great. Never scrape off gum with razor blades or other things that could scrape up the finish of your floor.


Water stains are the bane of any wood floor owner’s existence. They are actually caused by minerals in the water; depending on how long the water has sat there, they can go quite deep. With any luck, the water stain that you find will be fairly new. In that case, you may be able to remove it by using a non-gel toothpaste, which can gently rub away the outermost layer. If that doesn’t work, you will need to use a sander with 150-grit sandpaper. Soak up the dust with a cloth that’s been soaked in mineral water, then refinish the spot.


You can avoid the worst kinds of crayon-related damage to your wood floors by only buying washable crayons for your kids. If one of them goes to town on your floors with a crayon, a dab of toothpaste should do the trick. Just rub it gently on the offending marks until they are removed. If clumps of crayon are found, ice them up using the same method that is used for gum. Once it is frozen through, it can be scraped off with a flexible piece of plastic; you’ll never be able to tell that crayon was on the floor in the first place!

Pet Mishaps

Even the most well-trained pets have accidents from time to time. When they do so on your wood floors, time is of the essence. The sooner you clean up the stains, the less damage will be done. Wipe up the mess as quickly as possible. Use a mixture of warm water and detergent to clean up as much of the mess as you can. From there, use rubbing alcohol to gently rub away the rest of the stain; you might have to do this a few times to remove it entirely. Treat the area with odor neutralizing floor cleaner so that it doesn’t retain an unpleasant odor.

Stay on Top of Hardwood Flooring Stains

Caring for hardwood floors isn’t exceptionally difficult. As long as you know the basic tricks, tips and strategies for dealing with certain stains, you should be able to keep your floors looking as good as new. Act fast when spills occur to reduce the odds of incurring long-term stains; keep the right cleaning products on hand to make cleanups a snap. By doing so, your floors should look just as good in ten years as they did when they were newly installed.

Gina Hopkins writes about different home renovation tips and the latest on hardwood flooring trends, out of St. Louis, MO. Always looking for the best bargain on renovation materials, she tends to end up shopping at more often than not.