Hardwood floors add class and elegance to any home, and if properly maintained they can last for many years. An inevitable part of the maintenance is stain removal. When dealt with early enough, most stains can be eliminated. The trick is to know which removal method to use for which kind of stain. Regardless, your first step is the same: sweep the floor.
Step 1 - Sweep
Clear all dust and debris from your floor with a broom. This allows you to attack the stain rather than the dirt on top of it. It also lets you better examine the nature of the stain and determine how to remove it.
Step 2 - Clean with Detergent
Mix mild detergent and warm water in a bucket. Dip a cloth into the solution and wring it out to get rid of any excess liquid. Now, rub the stained area. Some mild stains should come off easily when cleaned in this way.
Step 3 - Apply Denatured Alcohol
If the stain still remains yet appears to be light, treat it with denatured alcohol. Put some on a cloth and rub the stain until it disappears. Dip another cloth in some warm water, wring it dry, and rub the area again to remove the alcohol once the stain has cleared.
Step 4 - Remove Alcoholic Beverages, Fruit Juice, Food, or Ink Stains
Stains caused by alcoholic beverages, fruit juice, non-greasy food, or ink require a stronger detergent. Mix a cup of commercial wood-floor cleaner with a gallon of warm water in a bucket. Dip a microfiber mop into the bucket and wring out the excess. Then, mop the stained area to clear the stain. If the stain remains, proceed to the next step.
Step 5 - Apply White Vinegar
Mix one cup of white vinegar and cold water in a bowl. Dampen a cloth with the solution and rub the stained area. Once the stain clears, use a wet cloth to remove the vinegar.
Step 6 - Treat Grease, Iodine, or Blood Stains
For grease, iodine, or blood stains, add a cup of ammonia and a cup of cold water. Dampen a cloth with the solution and rub it over the stain. If it doesn’t come off easily, saturate the cloth and try again. Spread the cloth over the stain until it disappears. Dampen another cloth with plain water and wipe it over the treated area until you’ve removed all traces of ammonia.
WARNING: Ammonia can be toxic to inhale, so wear a face mask while applying it (especially if you have respiratory problems).
Step 7 - Pet Urine Stains
For fresh urine stains, dampen a cloth with hot water and clean the stain with some scouring powder. Use another cloth dampened with hot water to clear away the powder.
Stubborn urine stains require a solution of liquid bleach and hot water. Mix a cup of bleach with 10 cups of hot water. Dampen a cloth with the solution and apply it to the stain. Once the stain clears, use another damp cloth to wipe away the bleach. Make sure you use a bleach product that will clean up the stain without staining the wood.
WARNING: Bleach is toxic to inhale and also stains clothing. Wear old clothing, gloves, safety goggles and a face mask while applying it.