How to Remove White Water Stains From Wood Floors?

The last thing anyone wants on their wood floor is those ugly white-water stains. So how do you remove these white rings from your floor?

You can remove white water stains from the wood floor by wiping the spot with a solvent like mineral spirits or baking soda solution. The solvent will penetrate the wood and break down the white-water stains in the wood.

After about 24 hours, the spot will be spot-free. You can also remove white water stains from wood by using products specially designed to remove deep stains from wooden surfaces. This includes magic erasers and hardwood floor cleaners.

Removing white water stains from wood is a trial and error process as you’ll have to try out different removal methods to find the one that works.

What Causes White Spots On Wood Floor?

The main reason for white water spots on the wooden floor is moisture and stains on the flooring. When the floor is exposed to stains, water, and dried-up spills, the wood will start to develop white or grey stains on the wood.

The stain is white because it doesn’t penetrate the wooden floor deeply. So the stain just stays on the surface of the wood where it comes in contact with dry air and forms white patches on the wood.

However, if these spots are left on the surface for long, the stain can turn from white to yellow. They can also turn from white to black stains which are very hard to remove because they penetrate deeper into the wood floor.

Here are other reasons for white water stains on wooden floors:


Heat is another reason for white water rings on your wood and this is very common with wooden floors that have clear finishes like polyurethane.

When the clear finish is exposed to high levels of heat for a consistent period, the heat will cause white cloudy particles to form. The heat can be from a hot meal, pizza box, or hot liquids like your morning coffee.

Water Leaks

Water leaks above or beneath the surface can also cause white water stains on the wooden floor. If the wooden floor is affected by a leak, then water will continue to seep into the wood causing white water stains to appear on the wooden surface.


Constant exposure to rainfall and high humidity can cause white water stains to appear on the wooden surface especially if the rainfall is accompanied by a strong wind. This is because the wooden floor will be constantly wet.

Dried-Up Spills

Dried-up spills can also cause white water stains on wood. When you accidentally spill drinks, wine, soda, or water on the floor without wiping it off immediately, the spill will gradually affect the top layer of the wood.

If this happens regularly, then white or grey stains will start to form on the surface of the wood. The annoying part is these spills will dry up quickly making it difficult to remove them.

Now you know what causes white water stains on the wooden floor but do these spots eventually disappear? Let’s find out.

Related Read: Remove Black Stains From Wood Floors?

Do White Water Stain Eventually Disappear?

Do White Water Stain Eventually Disappear?

It’s common for white water stains on wood floors to eventually disappear. This usually happens when the stain dries out and blends into the wood. However, you should know that this doesn’t happen in every case.

It’s common for white water spots to disappear if the stain was caused by only water. However, if the wet spot was caused by other stains or oils, then it will not disappear because the stain or oil deposits will leave a permanent discolored spot on the wood.

Generally, white water stains fade out over time. This usually happens when the white spot was caused by just water or heat. In this case, the white water stain will just be moisture and a light mix of wood tannins. When the moisture is evaporated from the wood, all that will be left are the wood tannins which will eventually blend back into the wood.

However, if the water stain was caused by a mixture of water and stain or oil, then it will not disappear. For instance, if the spot on your wood floor was caused by a drink spill, the spot will not disappear at least not for a few months. This is because the ingredients in the drink will dry out on the wood. In this case, you will have to sand the spot off to get rid of it.

Sometimes, the spot will also disappear after a while due to the constant usage of the surface. For instance, white water stains on your kitchen floor may disappear over time as you clean, wash, and walk over the kitchen floor. In this case, friction over the surface will gradually fade out the spot.

Next, let’s check out how to remove white water stains.

How To Remove White Water Stains?

There are two broad ways to remove white water stains from wood. You can either remove the white water spot with sanding or without sanding. The method you use will depend on the depth of the spot (how deeply the spot has penetrated the wood) and the state of the stain.

Don’t get confused. This guide will show you everything you need to know about both methods and when to use them. First, let’s check out the sanding method.

Method 1: Sand The White Water Stains

Sand The White Water Stains

This method includes using fine-grit sandpaper to sand off the white water stain in the wood. This method works when the stain has only affected the surface of the wood.

In this case, the sandpaper can be used to sand off the top layer of the wood that contains the white water stain since only the top surface is affected.

This method can also only be used when the water stain has dried out. If the water stain is still wet, the sandpaper will not remove it because it will get clogged easily.

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Wipe and clean the stained wood with a clean rag
  2. Check to ensure that the water stain has dried out
  3. Use fine-grit sandpaper to scuff the stained spots on the wood
  4. Remove dust from the surface
  5. Polish the affected spot.

The reason for polishing the affected spot is to make it look better and original. Now, let’s check out the pros and cons of removing white water stains with sanding.


  1. Sanding works quickly
  2. Sanding helps to remove other spots on the wood
  3. Sanding is a cheap option


  • You can only use this method when the spot has dried out which means you may need to wait for the stain to dry into the wood before removing it
  • Sanding can easily ruin the wood grain especially if you over-sand or use the wrong type of sandpaper.

Method 2: Remove White Water Stains Without Sanding

Remove White Water Stains Without Sanding

This is the second way to remove white water stains from wood. This method largely includes using chemicals to remove the stain.

The chemical can be a solvent like mineral spirit and vinegar or a product specially designed to remove stains from wood like hardwood cleaner or magic eraser. This method can be used while the stain is wet or dry.

This method involves applying the chemical to the affected part of the wood. The chemical will gradually seep into the wood and break down the white water stains. Then after a while, you’ll be able to wipe the white water stain off the wood.

Here is a guide for this:

  1. Wipe and clean the affected spot
  2. Apply the mineral spirits or hardwood cleaning solution to the stain
  3. Wait a few hours for the stain to be dissolved
  4. Check if the stain has been lifted from the wood
  5. Wipe the white water stain off with a clean rag.

Now, let’s check out the pros and cons of this method.


  • It can be used when the stain is wet and when it is dry
  • The method is very effective at removing stains from wood
  • The method will remove other types and colors of stain on the wood


  • The method can be expensive as some solvents and hardwood cleaners are high-priced
  • The method can leave deposits in the wood causing discoloration
  • This method is not ideal for finished or colored wood as the solvent can easily remove the finish or wood stain.

Tip: After using a chemical on a wooden surface, ensure to wash and rinse the wooden surface to get rid of leftover chemicals. If you don’t do this, the leftover chemical can discolor or etch the wood.

How To Prevent White Stains On Wood Floor?

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

  1. Place water-resistant mats or carpets on the floor
  2. Avoid spills and water stains on the wood floor
  3. Potty-train your kids and pets so they don’t pee on the floor
  4. Wipe and clean stains as soon as they occur
  5. Clean your wood floor frequently.
  6. Cover outdoor wood with drop sheets in rainy seasons
  7. Don’t place hot items or food on the floor without using a pad
  8. Apply a moisture-resistant and stainless finish on the floor. Lacquer is a good stain-resistant protective finish and it can be used on floors.

Does White Water Stain Eventually Turn Yellow?

In some cases, white water stains eventually turn yellow. However, this only happens when the stain was caused by dirty or contaminated water. Also, if the stain was caused by a food spill or chemical spill, the spot can eventually turn yellow as it dries out.

Though white water stains usually begin as white patches on the wood, some of these patches turn yellow after a while. This is usually due to staining or decay of the spot.

If the spot was caused by a food or drink spill, then it may turn yellow after a few days especially if the stain wasn’t wiped immediately. The yellowing starts to occur as the tiny food particles in the wood begin to go bad and decay.

Also, if the white water stain was caused by a chemical spill or pet urine, it may yellow over time as the chemical or urine dried out in the wood. In the case of urine, the white water spot will form a large yellowish spot on the wood.

If it’s a chemical spill, the spot will appear as small yellow patches across the wood floor. In both of these cases, the yellow stain will begin to smell.

Final Words

In summary, white water stains are easy to get rid of but the best way to remove the stain is to do so as soon as it occurs. If you allow the stain to dry in the wood, then removing it can get difficult.

You should also remember that white water stains can be prevented by using floor mats and carpets. The carpets will prevent moisture and heat from affecting the finish.

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