How to Remove Dark Stains from Hardwood Floors

Wood floors give warmth and style to any home, but it takes some effort to keep them looking good.  When they’re clean and gleaming, they look stunning. But with time, even the most careful of homeowners will be faced with dark stains or watermarks on their once beautiful floors. 

If that sounds like you, don’t despair. Because with the expert advice in this guide, you’ll have your floorboards looking their best again. Keep reading to learn how to remove dark stains from hardwood floors. So you can restore your floors to their former glory, and proudly invite guests around again.

What this article covers:

How To Get Rid Of Black Spots On Wood Floors

how to remove permanent marker from hardwood floors

One of the most common issues homeowners with hardwood floors encounter is black spots. Luckily, they’re very possible to fix when you know how to get a stain out of a hardwood floor.

Cleaning Hack For Black Spots

If you’re looking for a safe, gentle method for how to clean black spots on wood floors, you can use this cleaning hack. Best of all, you probably have all you need for it, in your home already.

You will need these items:

  • Baking soda
  • Water 
  • An old, soft toothbrush
  • A soft cloth

This method often works well for small drops of ink out of wood floors or even for removing hair dye from wooden floors. But it is generally more effective if done soon after the spill, or if the stain is only on the surface.

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Step 1

Apply a generous amount of baking soda to the black stains on your wood floor. Add a few drops of water, just enough to make a thick paste, and agitate the stain with the old toothbrush. 

Leave this on the wood for 5 minutes and then check to see if the stain is being pulled out. If necessary, leave for a further 5-10 minutes.

Step 2

Wipe the baking soda paste away with a damp cloth and allow the wood to dry. You will only be able to see if the stain has lightened when the wood is fully dry. 

You may need to repeat the process if a faint mark remains. But your stain removal method will often depend on the substance that made the stain. So to remove greasy black stains on wood floors, proceed to the next section.

Cleaning Hacks For Greasy Or Oily Dark Spots

Stains are far more likely on unsealed floors and in areas of the home where spills and stains are more likely (such as the kitchen, living room, or dining room). Greasy stains can be difficult to treat if left too long, so try this cleaning hack as soon as possible after messing with greasy food on your hardwood floor.

You’ll need the following items:

  • Talcum powder
  • Dish-soap
  • Warm water
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Soft cloth

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With the presence of foodstuffs and beverages, stains can be a regular occurrence.  The most important thing to remember when cleaning oil off wood floors is to act quickly. Certain oils are used to stain and seal wood floors, after all. And if left too long, the oil will get soaked into the wood.

Absorb The Grease/Oil

First, sprinkle a liberal amount of talcum powder on the dark grease or oil spot. Talc absorbs greasy and oily residue, so leave it to sit for at least 45 minutes. Then, wipe it away with a cloth dampened with warm water and leave it to dry,

If there is still a hint of oil or grease stain, proceed with the next step.

Cut Through The Grease/Oil

Add a few drops of dish soap to your dark oil or grease spot. Dish soaps have grease-cutting action. Leave it for a few minutes and use the old toothbrush to work it into the stain. Then wipe away with a soft cloth moistened with warm water, Always use warm water when tackling a grease or oil stain.

But while it doesn’t take too long to remove sticky residue from hardwood floors, removing water stains can take some time. So let’s take a look at this common problem, next.

How To Remove Dark Water Stains From Wood Floors

how to get marker out of wood

Dark water stains are another common problem that homeowners with hardwood floors ask us about. For this problem, you need to know the proper way to remove a water stain from a wood floor. This is less of an issue with engineered wood floors which usually have a protective layer. 

When removing moisture from a wood floor, you need something that will displace the water. And this unusual cleaning hack is said to do the trick, safely and gently.

Cleaning Hack For Removing Water Stains From Wood

To remove minor watermarks from a wood floor, try this cleaning hack.

You will need the following items:

  • Mayonnaise
  • A soft cloth
  • Warm water

Step 1

Apply a layer of mayonnaise to the watermark on your wood floor. Leave it for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight for a very bad watermark.  

Step 2

Wipe the mayonnaise away with a soft cloth and warm water. Leave to dry. 

Of course, your floors will always look their best if you establish a consistent cleaning schedule. And we don’t only stock professional carpet cleaning equipment, but wood cleaning equipment, too. 

remove dark stains from hardwood floors

Wood Floor Cleaning And Maintenance 

Consistent care and maintenance of wood floors are key to their longevity and durability. Regular cleaning and polishing of your hardwood floors will reduce the risk of ingrained dirt build-up. It can also remove minor surface stains from everyday spills.

Bare Wood Surfaces

The best tool for scrubbing bare wood floors is the Lindhaus Lindwash Bare Surface Floor Scrubber. It will also make short work of the office, upholstery, and even auto interior cleaning with the extra-value optional accessories.

 how to remove dark stains from wood floors

You don’t even have to move your furniture out of the way, just zoom in under them. This floor cleaner has the world’s lowest profile for a floor cleaning machine. This means you can clean under beds and low coffee tables with ease.

Sealed Wood Surfaces

Most hardwood floors are highly porous, meaning they absorb moisture from the environment. Because of this tendency to soak up moisture, they are not suitable for kitchens and especially bathrooms. Sealing the floors may help to reduce this problem.

Once properly sealed, your hardwood floor will be protected against most spills and stains, especially water damage. We highly recommend our Flat Mop Finish Applicator for cleaning wood floors, and also for applying a finish that will protect and seal the wood.

how to remove dark stain from wood floor

Sand And Stain Floors To Camouflage Damage

Almost no stain is impossible to treat. With the right know-how, even removing glue from a wood floor can be achieved. But sometimes you have to accept that severe water damage has been done. Unsealed natural wood floors are prone to water damage, and this can leave unsightly dark marks. 

Most water stains on the wood aren’t caused by a wipe with a wet cloth or drips of water. They’re caused by excess moisture and large fluid spills. Hardwood floors will soak up any excess water left on the surface. This moisture can ruin the wood, causing it to warp and buckle in time. 

If your floors are in a very bad state, rather sand them down, stain them, and apply a finish. They will look good as new again and have protection against further damage.


With diligent maintenance and the right products, any floor surface can look its best. The same goes for wood floors. Dark spots and even water stains can be treated. 

You’ll keep your wood floors, and even tiled floors and carpets looking good as new, with our wide range of innovative products. Browse our selection today, and invest in your home’s continued style.

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