How to Get Water Stains Out of Hardwood Floors: 6 simple methods

If you have a hardwood floor in your home, spilling water is probably a common occurrence. Unfortunately, water may cause damage to your flooring. Hence, you should always be careful and keep your floor dry.

Even a small amount of water in the wood can stain your floors. Some stains, like fresh stains, are easy to remove. White stains, on the other hand, may require a little more work. However, the hardest stains to remove are black stains.

Don’t worry. There’s a solution to fix everything. In this article, I’ll guide you on how to get water stains out of hardwood floors. Let’s get started!

water stained hardwood floors

How to Get Rid of Water Stains out of Hardwood Floors

Before you remove a stain, you must first identify the kind of stain. Each type of water stain has a different method of cleaning.

Additionally, whether the stain is fresh or not can play a role in how easily it can be removed. The sooner you notice the stain, the easier it’ll be to clean it.

You can remove water stains from hardwood using a variety of methods. Before you see a good outcome, you may need to approach the stain in several ways. Let’s get started.

Removing Fresh Water Stains Out of Hardwood Floors

If you’ve just spilled water on your floor, responding fast is the best course of action. To clean up the spill properly, follow these steps:

  1. Dab the area with a cotton ball to absorb the water
  2. Dry the surplus water with a blow dryer before it soaks into the board. If at all feasible, do this on the lowest setting. Otherwise, the heat may damage the floor
  3. After you remove the stain, use oil-based polish to buff the surface. This step will remove any residual stain, and your floor will seem smooth

Removing White Stains Out of Hardwood Floors

Getting rid of white stains takes many tries. This is because not all white water stains are the same and may require different removal methods. Fortunately, there are many solutions for removing the white water stains.

White Vinegar and Olive Oil

vinegar and olive oil

You can begin with something extremely simple and readily available. All you have to do is get some white vinegar and olive oil from your kitchen. This combination will help to break down the moisture and replace the oil in the hardwood. Here is how to go about it:

  1. Combine equal parts white vinegar and olive oil in a mixing bowl
  2. Dip a cloth in the solution and use it to wipe the water-stained area
  3. After you clean the stain, wipe the extra solution away with another clean cloth
  4. Using a buffing machine and polishing cloth, polish the wood

Baking Soda

If you want another kitchen item to use, you can use baking soda. This product is effective at removing most stains, and it even works well on water stains.

Baking soda absorbs not only moisture from the wood but also any unpleasant odors. It hardens as it absorbs moisture, making it easy to wipe after. Hence, it’s an excellent method for removing the water stain.

If you’d like to use this method, follow these steps:

  1. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one teaspoon of water, creating a paste
  2. Apply the paste to the stain
  3. Lightly rub the paste to the area using a clean cloth
  4. Apply the extra paste and let it stay overnight if the stain persists
  5. Wipe the stain with a cotton ball or clean cloth the next day

Petroleum Jelly

While it may sound strange, petroleum jelly can help remove water stains. It can softly pierce the floor’s surface without causing damage. The jelly’s oil permeates into the stain, wicking away the moisture.

It’s simple to use; just follow these directions:

  1. Put a small amount of petroleum jelly on the water stain, using a dry cloth or your fingers
  2. Allow the jelly to set for at least eight hours. It’d be far better to leave it overnight
  3. After the time has passed, wipe the area of the stain with a cloth to clean the jelly. If the water stain persists, repeat the process.


Toothpaste can erase water stains. However, if your hardwood issues are substantial, you should use a different method. You can mix equal parts baking soda and toothpaste to remove persistent stains.

However, there’s a downside. If the toothpaste hardens on the surface, it’ll leave a white residue behind. You can remove this residue by polishing the area with a wood cleaner.

Here’s how to use toothpaste to get rid of water stains:

  1. On a clean cloth, smear a good amount of toothpaste. Avoid using gel toothpaste, and instead, use white toothpaste
  2. Using a soft cotton cloth, carefully buff the toothpaste into the spot. Wipe the stain lightly until it’s gone
  3. Clean the toothpaste off with a moist cloth and polish the area

Removing Black Water Stains out of Hardwood Floors

The most challenging form of stains to clean from hardwood floors are black water stains.  These stains appear when water penetrates the wood and mold grows. Unlike light stains, you must draw out the water and clear any mold that has formed.

However, using the following methods will remove the stains easily.

black water stains on a hardwood floor


Because eliminating black water stains is difficult, you’ll need to use a harsher method. Sandpaper is effective in removing black water stains. A 100 grit sandpaper is all you’ll need. This is how to do it:

  1. Scrape the wood’s outer surface using 100 grit sandpaper in the grain’s direction
  2. Buff the edges of the removed section using steel wool. This will help the area blend with the initial finish
  3. Apply several layers of wax to make it look as good as new

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another inexpensive approach to clear the black water stains is to use hydrogen peroxide. It’s a better alternative to bleach as it’s less harsh. Applying it is easy. This is how you do it:

  1. Put a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on the spot
  2. Wipe it with a clean cloth
  3. Dilute the peroxide with water if you don’t want to use the full power of the chemical. That solution is made up of two parts water and two parts hydrogen peroxide

Wrap Up

If you’ve ever wondered, “How to get water stains out of hardwood floors?” you’ll be relieved to learn that the process is simple. Some treatments will perform better than others, depending on the type of stain.

For starters, new stains are considerably easier to remove. White stains, on the other hand, demand a little more effort. A vinegar and oil mixture will most likely suffice. If not, you can try one of the three other options.

Black water stains are the most challenging to remove since they take a lot of energy. Sandpaper, however, will perform the job well.

Now, you know what to do next time someone spills water on your hardwood floors. With these tips, you’ll have a nice, smooth hardwood floor that looks brand new.

Joe Carrow

Reno addict, keen gardener, and baker. I  started blogging in 2012 and have been hooked ever since!

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