How to Remove Black Spots on Hardwood Floor

black spots on hardwood floor

Coming across a stain or black spots on hardwood floor is a homeowner’s worst nightmare because stains can be difficult to remove once they set in.

Wiping up spills immediately as they happen before it penetrates the surface finish and dries up is all it takes to prevent this mishap.

But when the spill is left unattended to or not properly cleaned up, they lead to the formation of black spots or rings, and this discoloration causes your hardwood floor to look old.

Stains like pet urine can also be impossible to remove, worse of all, a leak in the ceiling could cause a much bigger stain and water damage to your floor

Another huge culprit of black spots on hardwood floor is a steam mop, if your floor is not properly sealed, or has little scratches or small opening, the steam penetrates into the plank and causes damage

Mold is also a huge culprit of black spots on hardwood floor; it is caused by moisture and poor ventilation and could damage your flooring.

Before you panic, there are ways of removing blemish from your floor, but you to first determine the cause of the stain.

The type and depth of the stain is what determines the type of cleaning procedure required to get rid of the stain.

Removing Black Spots on Hardwood Floor

Examine the Stain

Knowing the cause of the stain will determine how you remove it. Is the stain black or white? White stain means the stain hasn’t set past the surface of the wood while dark stains; on the other hand, it poses a bigger problem and will be harder to remove. That said, removing white spots on hardwood floor as much easier.

Black Spots and Stain

If the stain on your flooring is showing up black, the damage has penetrated the finish and set in.

Your options at this point are very limited; you can try removing the stain by rubbing a little amount of bleach over the floor surface, wait for a few hours then apply a second coat of bleach on it, then let it sit till the next day and see if the stain is lightened or removed.

If this method didn’t work, the only option left is to strip and sand the area. Black stains are quite problematic.

You have to strip the finish of your floor then sand the spot using a fine grit paper. After wiping the floor clean and letting it dry, refinish the floor and add a sealer.

We’ve written a review on the best floor wax to use for a perfect refinishing of your floor.

Wood bleach also works very well, but you have to strip the floor of its finish and sand the section very well so the bleach can penetrate well. You also have to refinish and seal properly after the bleaching process for surface protection.

Ensure to read your flooring manufacturer’s instructional label before using any type of bleach on the floor. Also, when dealing with bleach, be sure to wear protective gloves so as to avoid direct contact with the product and also work in a well ventilated and light up place.

White Rings or Stain

If you have a white stain on your floor, it means its either in the waxy surface of the floor or in the finish. Either way, you are in luck. There are various ways you can deal with it. You can start by letting the stain sit for a couple of days to see if it disappears on its own. If not, you can try any of the following techniques.

Be sure to note that the method you will need to remove white stain from your floor will depend on whether your floor is wax treated, has a surface finish, or how far the stain as penetrated. 

This is because stains on a surface finished floor remains on the surface of the wood while stains go deeper in the wax finished floor. Cover the portion of the floor with the stain with a dry clean cloth and then run the cloth with a steamless hot iron.

You can also scrub the area with a wool scrub brush soaked in lemon oil. The oil prevents scratches on the floor surface. After that, you simply wipe the stained surface with denatured alcohol.

For floors with surface finish, using a cleaner made for urethane finishes works better. While for floors with wax finishing, lightly sanding the area with fine sandpaper and applying mineral spirits or a wood floor cleaner and then let the floor dry very well before waxing and buffing by hand is also recommended.

Pet Stains

As a pet owner, you are laden with the burden of taking care of your pet’s mess. If not potty trained, your pet could present a nuisance; even the potty trained ones can also have accidents.

Pet urine leaves a very ugly black stain or spots on your hardwood floor and also fills the house with a very unpleasant stench that cannot be easily covered.

Dog urine is one of the most common culprits of dark spots on the hardwood floor. Dealing with the mess right away is usually easier, but sometimes they happen in hidden corners and areas where you only notice after a while when you start perceiving the unforgiving stench.

Hardwood floor finishing can only hold pet’s mess for a short while before it penetrates into the wood. Urine is acidic, so it burns the tannins in the wood. Pet urine is quite difficult to deal with, especially if its been standing for a while.

It contains elements like potassium, ammonia, and chloride, and they react with the wood causing a permanent stain that may need sanding or even total replacement of the wood. 

One tip is to sprinkle a good amount of baking soda over the spot, it causes a chemical reaction with the urine and draws some of it out of the wood. You can repeat this method until you get the desired result.

Another home remedy you can try out is; hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and white vinegar. The white vinegar helps to deodorize and disinfect the floor, and this helps a lot with the smell. Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, is good for the removal of dark stain and lingering stench on wood flooring. You can as well make your own homemade floor cleaner.

You can start by mixing a cup of vinegar with a cup of warm water in a bucket, then use the mixture to gently scrub the stain.

Another method you can use is to mix baking soda and vinegar to form a paste, then apply the paste to the spot allow it air-dry. Using a soft clean cloth, wipe off the paste, and if you are lucky, the stain may be gone.

You can also soak a clean piece of cloth in hydrogen peroxide, then place over the stain overnight, repeat till you get results.

Most times, black spots caused by pet urine may require sanding and refinishing. Sand out the stain, then refinish and seal with a protective coat.

Other Stains

Non-greasy stains like nail polish should come off easily with some dish soap and warm water; this should be rubbed onto the spot using a soft cloth. For greasy stains like lotion, butter, or oil, a high content lye kitchen soap can help remove it.

You can also soak hydrogen peroxide into a soft cloth or cotton balls and then placing it over the stain and saturating another ball of cotton or rag with ammonia and then placing it over the first piece with hydrogen peroxide. Keep on repeating this method until you achieve results.

When dealing with hardwood floor stains, always make sure to be cautious of the amount of moisture being used. Always use cleaning products recommended by your flooring manufacturer.

Whenever you are dealing with a difficult stain, be sure to contact a flooring professional for advice on how to remove black spots on hardwood floor.

Protecting the Beauty of Your Hardwood Floor

Never leave a wet object on your hardwood floor, any spill should be wiped off immediately as it happens.

Ensure to potty train your pet because repeated pet urine could totally ruin your floor, and the stench can be very unpleasant. You wouldn’t want your carpet smelling like urine.

Protect your hardwood flooring by applying a clear layer of sealants like polyurethane over it, sealing them properly

Remember, the regular upkeep of your floor is the best way to preserve it and remove every stain before they set in.

So what happens when even after applying all these cleaning methods, the stain still remains, what do you do?

Sanding and Refinishing of Wood Floor

Some stains are very stubborn, and no matter the cleaning product you use, they just won’t budge. You might have to resolve using fine-grit sandpaper to finely sand the spot on the wood.

This method only works for stains that haven’t penetrated the finish and are not very deep into the wood.

After sanding the stain off the wood, you should proceed to seal and refinish the wood. Then apply a deodorizing agent is the stain was caused by pet urine, so as to remove any odor.

Be sure to note that the sanded area may look a bit different than the rest of the floor.

Replacing the Damaged Wood

You may have to completely change the whole stained wood if the stain has deeply penetrated and changed the wood appearance.

Water seeping down the wood for a long time before being noticed, or pet urine being left unattended to can cause a reaction in the wood that can totally damage it.

Replacing your floorboard is a bit expensive, as it requires professional installation. Depending on the level of damage, you may need to replace just one board or the whole floor.

Precautionary Measures

You can prevent fatal damages to your hardwood flooring by knowing how to clean them properly. Dust and dirt can destroy your floor’s finish if left to sit for a long time.

Using a soft-bristled broom, sweep your floor regularly, using a suitable floor cleaner, mop the floor every week or every other week. But make sure to avoid leaving behind moisture or layer of water after cleaning.


Dealing with black spots on hardwood floor can be difficult and frustrating. Tackle every mess and spills immediately they happen.

If you have pets, always be watchful of them, especially sick and old pets who, despite being potty trained, tend to have accidents or young ones who are not properly potty trained.

Avoid making repetitive mistakes as stains that occur repetitively may be hard to remove.

Ensure to always clean your floor regularly and also use the appropriate floor cleaner, if you are not sure of which one to use, you can contact your flooring manufacturer.

Hardwood flooring is an expensive asset that should be protected and well taken care of. How do you tackle dark spots on hardwood floor?

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