We have some beautiful oak flooring beneath the old carpet in our house, but there are a few stains. Is there a way to remove those without sanding the whole floor? -Ralph

Stains in wood floors that have gone through the finish and soaked into the wood itself can be difficult to remove and may require sanding and refinishing. If the stain has penetrated too deeply, even sanding may not remove it entirely.

Before resorting to sanding, however, start by trying to remove stains from wood floors using standard hydrogen peroxide available at drug stores. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Soak a cotton rag with hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Place the wet rag on the stain and allow it to soak in the wood to bleach out the stain.
  3. Remove the rag, and wipe up any excess hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Allow the floor to dry.

Another option is to try using a rejuvenator type wood floor cleaner on the stain. Watch this video to find out more.


Further Information


Ralph asks: We have some beautiful oak flooring beneath the old carpet in our house, but there are a few stains. Is there a way to remove those without sanding the whole floor?

Danny Lipford: Unfortunately, if you have some really deep stains in your hardwood floor, it will have to be sanded and refinished in order to get rid of those stains. Even then, some of the real deep stains are really hard to get rid of. Here’s a little trick that’ll help you a lot on that. Basically, take a cotton rag, take hydrogen peroxide, soak it down well, put it over the stain, and allow the hydrogen peroxide to pull a lot of that stain out.

Another thing you want to try before you go through the expense of the sanding and refinishing of your hardwood floor, try some of the new cleaners that are available now, that are called rejuvenators. That’ll thoroughly clean the surface of your hardwood and actually dissolves a little of the finish to give it a nice, consistent look. You may be able to save money instead of having to completely refinish the floor.

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  1. I unknowingly purchased an item that had been stained. I placed it on my hard wood floor which is a light color. How do I remove this spot about 3inches in diameter without redoing the whole floor

  2. I have old pine hardwood floors… I have an area where it has a dark water stain . It’s been there many years. We have stripped it and sanded that area, but it’s not looking much better. Is there another method of removing this dark stain?

  3. Using hydrogen peroxide is something I would never have thought to use. How long should I keep it on the stain? I wouldn’t want to keep it on too long, and end up warping the wood with the liquid. That would just cause even more problems for me.

  4. Hi! Accidentally, The (Swipe Multi-purpose Cleaner) pour on the flour in my room. The floor is wood. I tried to use some detergent and bleach but it makes worse and the stains became more wider. It just happened yesterday.I wish I could send you the image of the stains. But hope you help me how to remove it. Thank you.

  5. I spilled some alka seltzer water on my wood floors over night. I woke to a lighter version of my floor where I spilled the water. I’m guessing that part is actually cleaner than the rest of the floor, however, I don’t want to do that treatment to the whole floor. What can I do?

  6. We are refinishing our 60 year old oak flooring for the second time in 12 years. First polyurethane used was horrible. We had dark stains from our fish tank and a dog with incontinence. I tried your solutions but they didn’t touch my stains. Then I remembered I spilled a cleaner on my floor and didn’t catch it until later. It left a super clean spot on the floor. It was Bissel cleaner with OXY. I bought a new bottle since the old one was now empty. I used a cloth and wiped on the stained wood, then feathered it so I didn’t get a complete white spot. Took 5 or 6 applications to get rid of 95% of the dark marks. What is left, I can live with. Looks great.

  7. My hair dripped with water and hair dye, did not see it immediately and now after a couple of hours the drips have marked the floor. Will peroxide still help in this situation.

  8. Hi their my daughter made slime using ingredient constisting of optrex (eye drops) baking soda, pva glue .
    The slime was made and left on a wooden side for an hour , when I picked up the slime their was a deep wet stain soaked through wood .
    How to I get rid of the stain?
    Please help

  9. Have tried Vinegar, Peroxide, and Ammonia- none work!
    White blotches in places, two even showing what appears to be handprints.
    Any other suggestions?

  10. I removed two layers of linoleum from my hardwood floor and I am refinishing the floor. Glue remained, but was able to remove it with hot water and a scrubby, but a dark stain remained. Will peroxide help or what else should I try??

  11. I have a dog who suddenly became incontinent and now have seveal large dark stains in my wood floor in the last few days. How do I clean this without having to refinish the floors or replace the wood?

  12. I can’t see answers to the question people are asking.
    I have 120 year old wood floors. We a taking up carpet. How can we get rid of dog urine smells and stairs

  13. I left a bottle of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner on the floor it had dripped down and left I’ll wait ring of the bottle on the dark floors what can I use to make the floor dark again where the ring is

  14. I had a rubber mat “protecting” my floor. I had no idea that was bad. My floor slightly yellowed. My husband hasn’t noticed but I’m sick over it when he sees it I’m screwed. Is there anyway to get that neutralized?

  15. is it possible for a suede fabric beanbag stain VARNISH timber floor ? how could i clean the black stained.

    thank you

    • Hi, Dang,
      Thanks for writing to us. Looks like there are some AutoCorrect issues so it’s a little hard to follow along.
      Please re-send the question. 🙂

  16. hellosimon@hotmail.com
    Hi, we spilt a can of Pepsi Max on our oak parquet flooring, where it stayed for probably half an hour. We have only just moved in so don’t know much about the floor but it has a nice sheen, apart from where the Pepsi was spilt. Can you please suggest the best way to clean this and bring up some of the dark bits without damaging the floor anymore or removing any lacquer which might be remaining? Any help would be very much appreciated as we are not sure what to do for the best. Thank you very much. Simon and Clare

    • Hi, Simon and Clare,
      This could be a big job, or a small one, depending on the stain.
      First, try to remove the stain using standard hydrogen peroxide available at drug stores.
      The process is the same for any wood floor:
      -Soak a cotton rag with hydrogen peroxide.
      -Place the wet rag on the stain and allow it to soak in the wood to bleach out the stain.
      -Remove the rag, and wipe up any excess hydrogen peroxide.
      -Allow the floor to dry.
      Wood cleaners, or rejuvenators, are another option.
      If all else fails, then it’s time to sand and refinish the floors.
      Good luck!

  17. PEROXIDE WORKS … AMAZING! Oil stain on floor from clothes steamer – nasty dark mark on oak hardwood floor. Soaked two cotton pads with peroxide & laid on stain for 2 full days, checking every 8 hrs or so to be sure the wood was ok. It so much lighter now; hardly noticeable. Will let dry for a couple of days; then, clean with Murphy’s Wood Soap & hopefully, will be just fine. GREAT TIP – HUGE THANKS.


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