How to Remove Black Stains from Hardwood Floors

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how to remove black stains from hardwood floors

There’s nothing worse than a black spot showing up in the middle of your beautiful hardwood floors.

Those dark stains can be a real eye-sore, especially if they cover a large section of your room.

Luckily, it’s 100% possible to get rid of these stains. And in some cases, stain removal is super simple.

Here’s how to remove black stains from hardwood floors and how to prevent them from showing up in the future.

Removing Stains from Hardwoods: Quick Tips and Tricks

Yes, it is possible to remove black stains from your hardwood floor. These stains are caused by moisture resulting in water stains, mold, or mildew within the floors.

To get rid of the dark stains, you can treat your floors with hydrogen peroxide, sand the dark spots out, use a commercial cleaner or have your floors refinished.

What Causes Dark Stains on Hardwood Floors?

what causes dark stains

High moisture content on the floor can lead to the black stains you’re seeing. This means spills that sat on the floor too long, water that has puddled, urine from pets or kids, and even improper cleaning.

These black spots form when the moisture breaks through the polyurethane coating on the floor. The humidity then seeps into the floorboards causing mold, mildew, or water stains.

To prevent these stains from happening in the future, there are a few simple steps you can take:

If your floors aren’t sealed, the number one thing you can do to protect them is to add a coat of sealant. The sealant acts as a barrier, preventing spills and moisture from seeping into your floors.

How to Remove Black Stains from Hardwood Floors

There are many ways to remove stains from hardwood floors. However, before trying any of these methods, you need to spot test in an inconspicuous place.

Your floors may not react well to one of these methods, so please, spot test.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Lift the Stains 

One of the easiest and most effective methods for removing black stains from wood floors is by using hydrogen peroxide.

Here’s what to do:

Soak a clean cloth in hydrogen peroxide and dab onto all of the dark spots. Allow the areas you treated to air dry.

The peroxide will lift the stain from the floors as it air dries. If the stains aren’t entirely removed after one treatment, you can repeat the process.

Sand the Dark Spots (Unsealed and Unstained Floors ONLY)

sand the dark spot

The natural look for hardwood floors is in right now. The problem is, floors that aren’t sealed are extra susceptible to stains.

If your hardwoods are entirely natural (no sealer like polyurethane and no stain), you can sand the dark spots out of the floor.

To do this, simply use fine-grit sandpaper and lightly go in the direction of the grain until the stain is removed.

(If you try this method on floors that are stained and sealed, you’ll end up with spots on your floor that don’t match the rest of the floor. You can attempt to restrain and seal the sanded areas, but they’ll likely still look noticeably different.)

Use a Commercial Hardwood Stain Cleaning Product 

If you’re not one to try household remedies and aren’t ready to completely refinish your floors, you can try a commercial cleaner.

Your local home improvement store should have a few options when it comes to hardwood stain treaters. 

Here are a couple of highly-rated hardwood stain cleaners you can try:

Nature’s Miracle Hardwood Floor Cleaner – This cleaner stains and odors caused by urine, fats, and grease while protecting your floor’s natural finish. To use it, you simply spray it on your stains and wipe it up.

This cleaner claims to lift new and set-in stains.

Simple Solution Hardwood Floor Cleaner – This cleaner is formulated specifically for pet urine and feces stains. You can use it on any hard floor. All you need to do is spray the cleaner on the stain, blot, and wipe up the excess.

If the Stain Won’t Budge – Have your Floors Refinished

refinished floors

Sometimes the dark stains on your floor will be too much for homemade or commercial wood bleach to work. In this case, it’s best to call in the professionals and have your hardwood floors refinished.

If you opt for this route, your floors will get sanded down until the stains are removed, restrained, and then sealed.

Video Tutorial


If the black stains on your wood floors cover large areas and these methods don’t work, it might be time to call in the professionals. You can consider having the stained area of the floor replaced with new boards or having the entire floor refinished.

Just remember, the best way to deal with dark stains on your floors is to prevent them. Always clean up any spills as quickly as possible. And if your floors are unfinished, avoid using wet or steam mops.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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