How to Remove Black Stains from Hardwood Floors

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Hardwood flooring is probably the most beautiful type of flooring that you can use in your home. This is why it can be an absolute nightmare when you’re faced with a dark stain on your beautiful hardwood.

Maybe it’s from a spilled drink, or possibly some type of water damage which can cause a much more serious stain.

Regardless of how it happened, there are some steps that you must take to properly deal with the stain. Read until the end of this article to learn exactly what you need to do to deal with dark stains on hardwood.

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Assess the Severity of the Stain

First you’ll want to look at how severe the stain is because this will determine what you do next. If the stain is white then it has not set in past the wood yet. This is good because it means there is minimal damage to the hardwood. On the other hand, if the stain has turned black this means it will be that much harder to remove.

Rings from White Stains

If the stain is white then it means that it has only penetrated the finish or the waxy surface fo the hardwood. Here’s what you can do about these types of stains.

The first step is to just give it 2 or 3 days and see if it goes away by itself. If it doesn’t, then you can put a dry cloth over the top of the stain and then rub a steamless hot iron over top of it. This will help to loosen it up.

If this doesn’t work then you can scrub the stain with a wool scrub brush soaked in lemon oil. The oil will hopefully prevent the floor from being scratched. Then rub the stain gently with alcohol and let it set.

Rings from Dark Black Stains

If your stain is black then you’ll have to take more drastic measures. Chances are it has penetrated the finish and set into the wood. Unfortunately, there are a few options at this point.

Household bleach: The first thing you can try is to use a small amount of bleach and rub the stain gently. Wait for a while and repeat this one more time. Let the stain sit for a day and see if it made a difference.

Hydrogen peroxide: Another thing you can try is to use good old hydrogen peroxide. Simply soak a cloth with hydrogen peroxide and dab it onto the stains. Let it sit overnight and dry. If the stain is big then you can leave a cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide on the stain for a few hours.

Wood bleach: If the standard household bleach isn’t strong enough then you can try a wood bleach like oxalic acid. Two-part kits are even stronger but should be a last resort. In order for the wood bleach to work, you’ll need to sand the hardwood to allow the bleach to penetrate better.

Refinishing: If these methods didn’t help, then the only other option is to strip and sand the stain off. This is not an easy job (read more in our hardwood refinishing guide). It involves stripping the finish of the floor and then sanding it with a fine-grit sandpaper. You’ll then want to clean the area and let it dry. The final step is to apply a sealer.

Replacing: If the stain is severe and penetrated the floor deeply then you might have to get the wood replaced. Read all about replacing hardwood in our guide.


Black stains on hardwood flooring don’t have to be the end of the world. If you follow the steps in this article there’s a decent possibility that you can remove them.