10 remedies for mark-ups on wood floors

Here are 10 secret weapons that'll help you remove pesky messes and stains from your beautiful wood floor.

10 remedies for mark-ups on wood floors

1. Chewing gum

  • For any finish, cool gum with an ice-filled plastic bag until it is brittle enough to crumble; then remove with a plastic scraper.

2. Crayon or candle wax

  • If you have a wax or penetrating stain finish, put a brown paper bag over the crayon or wax, and heat with an iron until the bag absorbs the stain.
  • With a shellac, varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

3. Water stains or white spots

  • With a wax or penetrating stain finish, rub with fine steel wool dipped in wax.
  • If the stain or spot remains, sand with fine sandpaper.
  • Follow up with steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. When mineral spirits evaporate, stain to match the original colour.
  • Apply wax and buff.
  • With shellac, varnish or polyurethane finishes, use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

4. Dark spots and ink stains

  • If you have a wax or penetrating stain finish, treat these like water stains.
  • If they remain, soak them with bleach or vinegar for an hour.
  • Wipe with a damp cloth, then wipe dry.
  • Sand lightly with fine sandpaper.
  • Stain to match your original colour and apply wax with a cloth.
  • If you have a shellac, varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

5. Dried milk or food stains

  • With a wax or penetrating stain finish, rub gently with a damp cloth. Rub dry, then apply wax.
  • For shellac, varnish or polyurethane finishes, again use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

6. Grease and oil stains

  • With a wax or penetrating stain finish, saturate a cotton cloth with hydrogen peroxide and place it over the stain. Saturate a second cotton cloth with ammonia and put it on top of the first. Repeat if necessary. Let dry; then buff with a cloth.
  • With a shellac, varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

7. Heel scuffs

  • With a wax or penetrating stain finish, apply a small amount of wax with fine steel wool; rub in and buff with a cloth.
  • With a shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

8. Mould or mildew

  • With a wax or penetrating stain finish, apply a cleaner designed for wood.
  • With a shellac, varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.
  • Sand and refinish areas where the mould or mildew is beneath the surface.

9. Scratches

  • With a wax or penetrating stain finish simply apply wax.
  • With a polyurethane finish, fix with a touch-up kit made for urethane finishes sold at flooring stores.
  • With a shellac or varnish finish, fix with a hardwood floor finish restorer.

10. Wax build up

  • If you have a wax or penetrating stain finish, remove the old wax with a stripper made for wax. (Do not use furniture stripper.)
  • Remove residue with a cloth and fine steel wool. Let dry, then wax and machine buff.
  • If you have a shellac, varnish or polyurethane finish, don't wax these finishes. It can make the floor dangerously slippery and interfere with subsequent finishes. If you have used it, take it off with a commercial wax remover.
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