When it is time to make a decision on designing your home, surfacing your floor is at the top of the list. Depending on your lifestyle and budget you will learn about all of the different materials including engineered wood. This type of flooring is made of 3 to 12 layers of hardwood and plywood, unlike hardwood which is a solid piece of wood. Engineered wood floors are available in a variety of styles including wood types like oak, birch, and walnut. Offered in numerous finishes high-gloss to matte, distressed or rustic, engineered wood flooring is both beautiful and durable.
Like most highly trafficked areas in your home, engineered flooring may show wear and tear eventually. Although these floors can last up to 20+ years and even brave humidity and water spills, flooring is not water-resistant. There are times water or liquids may seep through the cracks and joins. This will cause warping, damage, and discoloration. Water staining is a problem and it is necessary to address it immediately to risk further damage to the floor.
Water stains result in a few different reactions. You may see black spots upon your floor or white patches. If you notice either one of these discolorations, it is recommended you remove the staining. This article will explain why your engineered flooring is stained, and how to remove water stains from engineered wood floors.
Cause of Water Stains on Engineered Hardwood Floors
White spots or white patches
Typically when your engineered hardwood flooring is water-damaged black spots or white patches will appear. White spots or patches are caused by water or other liquid spills or direct heat on the flooring. For example, common household liquid spills such as pet urine, medications, alcohol, juice, water, and even perfumes can harm the appearance of the floors, especially if not immediately cleaned up properly. Additionally, when hot items including irons, hot pizza boxes, or pans are placed directly on the floors, your floors can stain. White staining typically is a surface cosmetic issue that can be easily remedied, which will be explained how to treat later in this article.
When you notice black spots throughout your engineered wood flooring, you have some reason for concern. These types of stains usually mean your flooring has been infested with mold. When water, condensation from steam mopping, and cleaning solutions aren’t dried up right away, it can permeate the floor. And, the longer period of time moisture is given to remain, your flooring is susceptible to mold growth.
Now that you’ve determined what type of staining you are dealing with, you can take action with some do-it-yourself at-home tips and techniques to remove these stains.
How to Remove White Water Stain from Engineered Hardwood Floors
Clean the area with dish soap
DIY-ers like to begin any clean-up project with dish soap best for more surface staining. Usually, a very gentle cleanser, liquid dish soap when mixed with cold water can be an initial step. Dab a clean cotton cloth into the dish soap mixture and gently wash the area. Let it dry completely. If that doesn’t do the trick, move on to trying a different method.
One of the easiest DIY methods for removing white spots on your engineered wood flooring is to use common household products – hydrogen peroxide and a cotton towel. Soak the cotton cloth or rag in hydrogen peroxide and place it on the white spots for about 5 minutes. Then you will remove the cloth and wipe away any excess liquid. Let your floor air dry thoroughly. The wet hydrogen-soaked cloth is a frequent technique to soak up the white stain.
Hydrogen peroxide is a safe method for people and pets.
Peroxide and Baking Soda combination
Another effective way to remove white stains is using the two-part hydrogen peroxide and baking soda treatment. Spray a paper towel with hydrogen peroxide. Do not saturate the towel though. Place it on the stain for several hours, and continue to spray it with the peroxide as the towel dries out.
Once you have let the peroxide do part one of the work, remove the paper towel and sprinkle baking soda onto the stained area. Leave it to dry overnight. And, in the morning vacuum up the baking soda. You may have to repeat this method a few times before the stain is removed.
Baking soda and water paste
Baking soda is a great natural household product to use when mixed with water. You will want to combine equal parts baking soda and water to produce a paste. Gently rub the paste onto the stain using a soft towel like a microfiber cloth. Leave the paste on for 24 hours. The next day you just wipe away the paste and let the area dry.
Another material homeowners can utilize to help remove those white stains from your floor is mineral spirits, which is also known as mineral turpentine. Derived from petroleum, mineral spirit is commonly used as an organic clear solvent in painting. This is a safe and great stain-removal application for engineered wood floors. Just pour a bit into a spray bottle and spray onto the stained area. Gently rub it in a circular motion for about 5 minutes while using a non-abrasive scrubbing sponge. Wipe away the excess with a clean towel and allow the floor to air dry.
How to Remove Black Water Stain from Engineered Hardwood Floors
Similar to how you would treat white water stains on your engineered wood floors, you can apply those methods to your black spot problems.
Hydrogen peroxide is an all-purpose and tried and true household item used in everyday clean-up. In the case of removing black water stains, it is an excellent choice for stain removal. Start by soaking a clean white towel in the peroxide and once wringer out, dab the towel to the top of the dark stains. If your black water stain is extensive you may place the towel on the area for no more than eight hours.
You can also pour your peroxide into a spray bottle and apply it directly to the stained area. Just be careful not to let it spill over to areas that are not stained. You do not want to damage or discolor any part of the flooring that does not need the cleanser.
Check the area and allow the floor to completely dry. If you are still seeing some staining, it is recommended to repeat the process.
Use white vinegar for very intense black spot water stains. Mix a half cup of white vinegar with a gallon of hot water. Use on a limited basis. Vinegar on wood can sometimes have a negative effect so before you apply this vinegar combination to your floor check its safety with the floor manufacturer.
Baking soda and vinegar paste
This combination of natural ingredients is another great option to use for removing black stains. Protect your hands by wearing rubber dish gloves before creating the paste. Mix the two ingredients together to form the paste and apply it directly onto the area. Let it sit for a few hours before spot cleaning the area with a soft clean dry towel.
Professional floor cleaner
If you’ve tried all of the DIY formulations, go to your local home improvement shop to consult with a professional as to which product would be best for your engineered wood flooring.
What You’ve Been Missing
General cleaning up and prevention checklist
In general, it is best to clean up a spill as soon as you can. This way you can avoid leaving moisture build-up that may permeate through any cracks in your flooring.
Check to ascertain when your floors were last polyurethane coated. It might be time to reapply after 3 to 5 years. This will help make them resistant to water or moisture damage.
Take a minute to make sure your cleaning products are appropriate for the type of floors your home has. Vinegar-based, soap-based, or wax cleaning solution products are not recommended.
Also, confirm you are utilizing the proper cleaning techniques. Usually, steam cleaning floors is a no-no. Engineered wood flooring can take a beating when not properly cared for. After normal wear and tear, kitchen spills, puppy accidents and so much more, the floors may eventually show staining. It is not suggested to let these water spills sit for very long. The longer moisture pools on top of the floor, it is prone to surface white stains or more significantly black water staining due to mold growth beneath the top layer of the engineered wood. There are a variety of at-home solutions that can help remove the staining. Use these methods gently to prevent any other damage to your floor. And, when all else fails, call up your floor manufacturer for a consult.