New This Month

How to Fix Wood Floors: 5 Annoying Problems, Solved!

We ask a lot of our floors and floor coverings, both functionally and aesthetically. We expect hard floors to shine as they did the day they were installed, despite the wear and tear we subject them to. Even with regular sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, additional maintenance is required to keep wood floors looking their best. From camouflaging nicks and scratches to removing oil and grease, here are solutions to your messiest problems underfoot.

0406_msl_woodfloors.jpg

Problem: Light Scratches

 

Solution for Polyurethane Finish: Camouflage with wax sticks, available at hardware stores. These are similar to crayons and come in many shades common to wood and bamboo floors. Alternatively, wood stain markers, also available at hardware stores, may be used to touch up scratches.

Solution for Wax Finish: Scratches on waxed wood can be eliminated rather than simply camouflaged. Rub with extra-fine steel wool (000) and reapply paste wax. To fix divots where heavy furniture has compressed wood fibers, lay a damp flannel cloth over the area and heat it briefly with an iron. This will cause the wood fibers to swell and spring back into shape.

 

Problem: White Spots

 

Solution for Polyurethane Finish: Spots are probably dried spills. Rub with a slightly damp cloth, or use a commercial cleaner formulated for polyurethane. 

Solution for Wax Finish: Rub the spot with extra-fine steel wool (000), an then reapply wax. Let the wax dry, then buff with a cotton cloth.

 

Problem: Dark Spots (Ink, Pet Stains, and Water)

 

Solution for Polyurethane Finish: For minor stains, rub with fine steel wool (00). To erase deeper water stains, use oxalic acid (a common ingredient in deck brighteners) available at hardware stores. Mix with water to make a paste, leave on for five to ten minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth.

Solution for Wax Finish: Rub with fine steel wool (00). On deeper water stains, apply a paste made from water and oxalic acid. Leave on for five to ten minutes, then wipe with a dry cloth. Rub on wax and buff with a cloth.

 

Problem: Chewing Gum, Crayon, and Candle Wax:

 

Solution for Polyurethane Finish: Cover the area for five minutes with a pastic bag filled with ice, and then scrape with a spoon or credit card. Follow with a commercial cleaner made specifically for polyurethane.

Solution for Wax Finish: For gum, cover the area for five minutes with a plastic bag filled with ice, and then scrape with a spoon or credit card. For candle wax or crayon, try the ice method or soften with a blow-dryer set on warm. Scrape with a credit card or spoon. Buff with a dry cotton cloth.

 

Problem: Oil and Grease

 

Solution for Polyurethane Finish: Wipe the area with a cloth dampened with a commercial cleaner formulated for polyurethane.

Solution for Wax Finish: Dampen a cloth with odor-free mineral spirits (less toxic than standard mineral spirits, because benzene and other aromatic hydrocarbons have been stripped out). Wipe the area dry, rewax, and buff with a cotton cloth.

 

10 Clever Cleaning Tricks
Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't Miss…