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First Aid for Wooden Floors

Martha Stewart Living Television

 Mark Dunleavy has been working with wood flooring for twenty-five years. Some of that time has been spent at Turkey Hill, where he recently stopped by to share a few basic remedies for nicks and stains.


Wood floors should be refinished once every ten to fifteen years. In between, keep your finish looking fresh and clean with the following maintenance tips:


Spruce up worn areas with a light sanding, followed by a reapplication of urethane.Dents in pine and other soft woods can be reduced by laying damp flannel over an unsealed surface and heating the area briefly with an iron.Apply an ice pack to harden and remove candle drips, crayon marks, and gum.Minor stains can be rubbed out with fine steel wool. Stubborn stains may require oxalic acid, which is commonly used to clean outdoor decks.Regular cleaning with a mixture of two ounces of white vinegar and one gallon of water can prevent damage from built-up grit.

Mark Dunleavy


Comments (4)

  • raddish 31 Mar, 2009

    have you ever removed polish with polish? I do it with my nails all the time. I'm sry to say that if you have had time to write this while the polish has been sitting on your floor well ...your floor is damaged but i don't see how more polish could damage it more.

  • Vendetta 15 Sep, 2008

    How would I get nail polish off my wood floor without damage to the floor? I tried scrapping ( damaged it) mineral spirits ( didn't help) any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank You .

  • Vendetta 15 Sep, 2008

    How would I get nail polish off my hard wood floor? I just broke a bottle of it all over my floor. I tried Mineral Spirits without results. Please any help would be greatley appreciated.

  • Reisen 11 Feb, 2008

    To whom it may concern,

    How can I treat on newly installed wooden floors a urine stain. Please advise.