If he wasn’t already in the wood floor business, perhaps Stephen Diggins’ customers had doubts about his mental health when he published an article entitled What Causes Mysterious Black Stains on Wood Floors?
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With the exception of the usual suspects (children, pets, suitcases on wheels, shoes, bicycles and other criminals), Diggins decided to investigate.
His client’s oak floors were covered with small black and grey stains after sanding. At first he was lost, but after further research and consultation with other soil experts he found a solution.
I wonder what he found? Check out his solution on the site of Wood Floor Business (see the sources below) to find out which cleaning products and techniques are most suitable for your hardwood floors.
What causes black stains on hardwood floors?
There is no answer even if the puzzles are not included in the equation! Black spots can be caused by spills, grease and not properly cleaned food, water damage from ceiling leaks or plumbing, pet urine, lotions and dirt transfer from shoes, shopping trolleys, bicycle tires and, in extreme cases, mould and mildew.
White vs. black spots: What difference does it make?
If you see white stains on your floor, these are probably signs that the stain has not completely penetrated the wood (such as a round stain from a bottle).
While black stains often indicate irreversible damage to the wood requiring more aggressive products, white stains generally indicate that the problem is limited to the varnish or wax layer of the surface and does not penetrate into the wood itself, so cleaning is generally quicker and less time consuming.
10 Effective methods to eliminate blackheads
Now let’s look at some popular and effective ways to remove black stains from your floor:
1) Hydrogen peroxide and water treatment
A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water not only effectively removes black stains, it is also safe for children and pets.
With antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, this combination removes surface dirt, disinfects and removes stubborn stains.
Mix a cup with 35% peroxide in a litre of water, fill a spray bottle and apply to small areas of the floor with a non-abrasive cloth or microfibre cloth.
Dry each section before moving on to the next section. If used correctly, hydrogen peroxide will not damage hardwood floors.
2) Treatment with white vinegar and cold water
White vinegar is the cheapest cleaner to remove black stains on wooden floors.
After cleaning the floor and dusting, fill the bucket with a solution of ½ cup of white vinegar to a litre of hot water.
Immerse the mop or rag in the solution and wring it dry and damp. Never use a wet mop to work, LoveToKnow experts say.
Start in a corner and sweep in the direction of the floorboards to minimize streaks. Continue wetting the mop or rag if you move.
If you have treated a large stain and the vinegar mixture has melted, you may need to freshen up the solution before continuing to work on the floor.
3) Treatment with oxalic acid (bleaching of wood)
Oxalic acid is also a safe biological alternative to removing stains from vegetables such as spinach and rhubarb.
This method works particularly well on black urine stains. So if you have a problem with an untrained puppy or incontinent cat, this method should work for you.
Dissolve 2 tablespoons oxalic acid in 4 cups of hot water. Fill a siphon and soak the stain. Let the mixture soak in before cleaning the area and let it dry.
Renewed appeal if the first appeal turns out to be insufficient. Finally, mix 2 teaspoons of borax with a cup of hot water and wet the treated area.
This neutralizes and reduces residues. Finally, you need to dry the surface thoroughly before walking on it.
4) Steam mop treatment
The proliferation of steam brooms on the market today offers a dizzying range of opportunities for housewives, but the benefits come with warnings, according to Mariette Mifflin, who writes for Ely.
If you are a beginner, read their advice before you start removing stains, as a steam mop can cause black spots if not used properly.
If you choose one of them, follow these special instructions: Sweep or suck up the debris. Attach a microfiber cloth to the floor unit, set the unit to low to medium power, and move slowly over the area to clean it.
Replace the fabric when it becomes darker, indicating stain absorption. Some homeowners recommend using distilled water instead of tap water for this purpose.
5) Treatment of white vinegar and grapefruit oil
The use of essential oils goes far beyond therapeutic applications, so it is not surprising that the recommended recipe for cleaning black stains on your hardwood floors includes grapefruit oil or any other oil you prefer.
In a bucket, mix 2 cups of lukewarm distilled water, ¼ cup of vinegar and 20 drops of essential oil (you can mix 10 drops of two citrus or tree oils to obtain a certain aroma).
Fill the siphon with homemade floor cleaner. Suck up the floor to remove dust and dirt and spray the stains.
You can use a mop or microfiber cloth to work the joint into the ground. After removing the stain, make sure the areas are completely dry before opening them to traffic.
6) Enzymatic cleaner for the treatment of pet stains
Competition has become fierce in the field of pre-mixed enzymatic cleaners designed to remove dark stains from hardwood floors. Therefore, you should consider certain products that are highly valued by pet owners before making a purchase decision.
The protocols for using these products are quite standard, but always read the label or packaging to find out what the manufacturer recommends before working on a stain.
In all cases, avoid formulations containing ammonia. Bustle editors recommend spraying the surface to be cleaned with baking powder and leaving it for a few hours or a night to start the cleaning process.
Vacuum or scrub the baking powder before using the enzyme-based product and you will see that the discolouration and odour is removed.
7) Sanding and jointing
For homeowners who have just discovered a black stain on their hardwood floor because they rolled up the carpet and felt they needed to repair a problem that took months or years to affect the wood, sanding and sealing may be the only way to repair the floor and get rid of the stain(s).
Professionals recommend evaluating the problem by removing a 1 mm layer of surface with 36 or 40 grit sandpaper to see if it cleans the stain.
If that doesn’t work, a second sanding can get the job done or reveal an unfortunate truth: You may need to replace one or more boards.
If one or two sanding treatments are sufficient, adjust the colour of your floor with a suitable stain and seal the floor to finish the job.
8) Liquid detergent and cold water treatment
Who doesn’t remember the TV commercials where little ducklings were rehabilitated after an oil slick through bathtubs of water mixed with detergent?
It’s not surprising that using Dawn or related products can help remove stains from your floor, but to be effective, the product must be pH neutral or you can do more harm than good.
The cleaning process starts by mixing equal amounts of liquid detergent and water. Start with a small area to control the process by wiping the stain with a cloth or cleaning cloth.
When you have finished working on each stain removal area, rinse all affected areas with clean water to ensure that no soap residue remains. Finish the work by carefully drying all rooms with rags or cloths before putting the carpets and furniture back in place.
9) Methyl alcohols for treatment
For the owners, the name Bob Vila is sacred. As the final authority on housekeeping, his suggestion to remove black stains on hardwood floors with mineral spirits is based on years of experience.
Treatment with mineral spirits is simple: Soak a clean, absorbent cloth in mineral spirits and wipe it over the wood to be touched up.
Vila advises homeowners to scrub the wood until the cloth no longer collects any residue. If the stain is difficult to reach, put light petroleum ether on a toothbrush to clean the area. If your wood floor is particularly old and damaged, Vila recommends mixing undiluted white spirit with a mild wood floor soap.
Apply the mixture with a sponge or brush and wipe off the excess material with a clean cloth. Be careful and wear rubber gloves if you decide to use this procedure as mineral spirits are flammable.
10) Bleaching and water treatment
If your black spot is caused by mold, bleach may be the only way to get results.
But what’s the best bleach? According to the Wood Doctor’s website, there are three different types of wood bleaching agent and each works on different stains.
These three types are oxalic acid (in liquid or crystalline form), hydrogen peroxide and chlorine. Since we have already discussed oxalic acid and hydrogen peroxide, this information also applies to chlorine bleaching.
The process of using bleach starts with sanding or rinsing the area to assess the depth of the stain. If it is not too deep, household bleach mixed with warm water should solve the problem.
Soak the stain with the bleach mixture and it will begin to fade. When you are satisfied with the results, rinse the area with enough distilled water to stop the bleaching.
Dry night for the repair. As an alternative to bleach, some contractors recommend the use of swimming pool bleach (dry calcium hypochlorite) for even better results.
After reviewing the above household products and methods, including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, dishwasher detergent, vinegar, methyl alcohol, mops, and other solutions likely to be currently in your household cleaning inventory, there is a category of detergents that should be avoided at all costs: Abrasives.
These products are made for tough challenges, not for hardwood, which is durable but not invincible and can be easily damaged when removing black stains.
Although baking soda is considered one of the most effective and cheapest natural products for difficult cleaning tasks – and is listed as an effective pre-treatment before the use of enzymatic cleaners (No. 6) – baking soda is an abrasive which, when mixed with liquids and used as a cleaning paste, can damage the floor.
However, there are many other remedies for blackheads that are not discussed here, including unusual options such as magic gums, mayonnaise, oil and even toothpaste.
For some, the decision has not yet been made, but who knows which treatments will be considered effective and safe in the future?