Black Stains on Hardwood Floor? (Here’s How To Remove Them)

Dark stains make the hardwood floor look aged and bad. So, how to remove black stains on hardwood floors?

To remove black stains from hardwood floors, sand the affected spot or use a solvent such as vinegar or baking soda to wipe the floor.

Removing black water stains from wood is a trial and error process, so you must try different methods until the dark water stain is removed. You shouldn’t use bleach as it can damage, rust, and discolor the wood.

Black Spots Are Caused By:

The main cause of back spots on wood floors is moisture. If the wooden floor is exposed to moisture (or water) for extended periods, dark stains will appear on the floor. 

Black water stains start as white water stains. That’s because the moisture (water) is at the top of the wood floor and hasn’t yet penetrated it. However, once the moisture penetrates the wooden floor, the stain turns black.

Here are other reasons for dark water stains on the wood:

Wrong Type of Cleaner

Dark water stains will appear if you use the wrong type of cleaner for wooden floors. That’s because these cleaners have a formula that isn’t compatible with wooden surfaces. So, before cleaning the wooden floors, check whether the cleaner is compatible with wood.

Drink Spills

Drink spills like red wine, soda, and grapefruit wine can cause black stains on wood, especially if the floor isn’t sealed. This is because these drinks have colorants in their formula that can tint the wood floor and make it appear black.


Rust (or iron oxide) stain can cause dark stains on wood floors. This is common with floors that have metal railings or fittings. When the metal is exposed to constant moisture (water), it will form a frail oxide coating on the metal. After a while, the rust will fall on the floor and cause dark-brown stains. 

Dark Water Stains Won’t Disappear Itself

Do Black Water Stains Eventually Disappear?

Black water stains won’t disappear on wood floors. That’s because the water stain has penetrated the floor surface, so the stain won’t fade out. You must sand or use a solvent to remove them. 

Also, black water stains aren’t caused by just water; other ingredients and colorants also cause the stain. The colorants will form a permanent discolored spot inside wood fibers. So, if you don’t manually remove the black stains, they won’t disappear.

That’s because the colorants and ingredients won’t evaporate like water. Instead, these colorants will leave a permanent black spot on the wood. The only way to remove a permanent black stain on the wood is to sand or use a solvent. 

How to Remove Black Stains From Hardwood Floors?

Removing black water stains from wooden floors is hard because the wet stain has penetrated the wood. So, to remove the stain, you must get into wood fibers which is difficult. 

However, this post will explain how to do it. But first, here are the tools you need:

  • Clean rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • Sandpaper
  • Hardwood polish
  • Paintbrushes
  • Baking soda or vinegar
  • A soft sponge
  • Hairdryer
  • Wood filler (optional)

1. Clean The Affected Spot

Wipe and Clean The Affected Spot

First, clean the stained spot on the wood. Cleaning will remove the wood floor’s filth, dirt, debris, and moisture.

To clean wooden floors, use a clean rag. 

If you don’t clean the floors, the filth will ground into the floor while removing the stains. This can cause black stains later. 

2. Use a Hairdryer

Use a Hairdryer to Suck The Moisture In The Wood Floor

Before removing the stains, you must remove the moisture (or water) from the wood. 

To remove moisture from wood floors, use a hairdryer or heater. These tools will increase the evaporation rate of the moisture. If you use a hairdryer, move it around the stains, and don’t keep it in one place. 

3. Use Baking Soda Solution

Soak The Affected Spot with Baking Soda Solution

Once the moisture evaporates, remove the dark stain.

To remove black stains from wood floor using baking soda:

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with warm water.
  2. Stir the mixture to make a paste. 
  3. The mixture shouldn’t be light as it can soak into the wood. So, make the mixture thick. 
  4. You can add ashes to make the mixture thicker.
  5. Apply the baking soda paste over the dark stains.
  6. Leave it overnight.
  7. Wipe the baking soda off the wood. 

Baking soda is an alkaline solution that will lift the black stain out of the wood.

If you are lucky, this step will completely remove the black water stain. If not, don’t sweat it. We still have a few steps to try out. Remember this is a trial and error task.

4. Wipe The Surface With Vinegar

Wipe The Surface With Vinegar

Use vinegar or mineral spirits if the baking soda didn’t remove the black stains.

Here’s how to use vinegar over black spots on wood floor:

  1. Apply vinegar (or mineral spirits) over the dark stain spots.
  2. Use a soft sponge to massage the area.
  3. Use a toothbrush to scrub the area. 
  4. Wait 5-10 minutes,
  5. Remove the vinegar (or mineral spirits) residue with clean water.
  6. Inspect the floor.

If vinegar (or mineral spirits) didn’t remove the dark stains on the floor, it means the stains have penetrated the wood floor deep. But don’t worry, here’s what you should do.

5. Sand The Affected Spot

Sand The Affected Spot With Fine-Grit Sandpaper

Sanding must be the last option to remove dark water stains from wood. That’s because sanding will also remove the top layer of the floor. 

To sand off dark spots on wood floors, use fine-grit sandpaper. Sand until the stain comes off. Don’t use coarse sandpaper as you can damage the floor. 

5 minutes after sanding, remove the dust and inspect the floor to see if you need more sanding or not. 

6. Apply Wood Filler (Optional)

Apply Wood Filler

Sanding and solvents can cause gouges and dents on the floor. You must fix these issues, or the floor becomes unusable. 

To fix gouges and holes in wooden floors:

  1. Apply wood filler or joint compound over the holes.
  2. Wait until the filling compound dries (1 hour).
  3. Remove excess filling compound. 
  4. Sand with ultrafine-grit sandpaper. 

7. Polish The Floor

Polish The Wood With Hardwood Floor Wax or Polish

Once you remove the dark spots on floors, wax or polish the floor. Waxing (or polishing) will give the floor an amber-like tone and make it appear bright and glossy. 

Also, hardwood floor wax (or polish) will protect the wooden floor from moisture and water since it’s waterproof. This means waxed floors won’t get dark water stains. 

After you apply the floor wax, allow the wax to dry for 3 days before you re-use and clean the floor. 

Other Products You Can Use To Remove Dark Stains

Let’s check some common cleaning products to see if they can remove dark spots:


WD-40 can remove dark water stains in wood, but it will leave stain deposits behind. This is because WD-40 is a blend of several solvents, including fish oil. So while the dark stain is removed, the WD-40 might also leave deposits of its formula in the wood.

If you use WD-40 to remove dark stains, don’t let it sit on the wood for too long. 


Mayonnaise can remove black spots on hardwood floors. The mayonnaise acts as a water displacer causing stains to come out of the floor. 

However, mayonnaise works best for fresh black stains. Mayonnaise can’t remove old black water stains from floors.


You can use toothpaste to remove dark spots from wood. Toothpaste is an abrasive compound that will remove the stain.

To remove dark spots with toothpaste:

  1. Apply the toothpaste over the affected spots. 
  2. Use a toothbrush to scrub the stains off the floor. 
  3. Scrub for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Let the toothpaste sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the toothpaste using warm water.

To make the toothpaste stronger, mix it with baking soda.

Pressing Iron

Pressing iron can remove wet black stains on hardwood floors. Since the stain is still wet, the pressing iron will dry out the moisture and cause the stain to disappear. However, if the dark stain has dried, the pressing iron won’t remove it. 

To use a pressing iron to remove dark stains:

  1. Place a cloth over the stained area.
  2. Put the pressing iron over the cloth. 
  3. Move the pressing around. 


Salt can remove dark water stains by dissolving the color. To use salt, mix a few tablespoons of salt in warm water and spray the mixture to the affected spots. 

Preventing Black Stains on Wooden Floors

Here are ways to prevent black water stains on your wood floor:

  1. Place waterproof mats or carpets on the floor.
  2. Avoid spills and water stains on the wood floor.
  3. Wipe and clean stains as soon as they occur.
  4. Clean your wood floor frequently.
  5. Cover outdoor wood with drop sheets in the rainy season.
  6. Apply a moisture-resistant and stainless finish on the floor. Lacquer is a good stain-resistant protective finish and can be used on floors.

Final Words

Black water stains are hard to remove from hardwood floors because the stain has penetrated the surface. However, sanding or using a solvent with remove the black stains. 

Once the dark spots are removed, apply a waterproof wax or sealant to protect the floor from water. 

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