How to Remove Water Stains from Wood

COIT's Guide on How to Remove Water Stains from Wood

When you have wood floors in your home, you probably try to keep them as clean as possible for as long as you can, right? But inevitably, spills happen. Dirt happens. Life happens! It’s nearly impossible to avoid spilling something here and there.

One of the most common spills that can cover your wood floors comes in the form of water. Water splashes and water spills from time to time.

If you’re wondering how to remove water stains from wood, check out COIT’s step-by-step guide below.

Water Stain

Types of Water Stains on Wood Floors

When you’re dealing with water stains on your wood floor, remember that there are two kinds of wood stains: dark stains and white stains. When the water spill goes deep into the wood and actually penetrates the wood material deeply, this is considered a dark stain.

On the other hand, when the water stain’s resulting moisture only seeps into the finish, not the actual wood floor, this is called a white stain. These white stains often appear in the form of a circular ring.

How to Remove Water Stains from Wood – Method # 1

Let’s start with the process required to remove a dark stain from your wood floors.

  1. Buy a piece of #100-grit sandpaper.
  2. Start by removing the finish that sits on top of the wood floor using the #100-grit sandpaper. By sure to apply pressure in the same direction that the grain of the wood moves.
  3. On the edges of the dark water stain, apply pressure using #150-grit sandpaper.
  4. Once the finish has been removed in the affected area, take the #150-grit sandpaper and sand the entire stain.
  5. Using #0000 steel wool, apply pressure around the edges of the dark water stain.
  6. Next, take some tack cloth, which is lint-free cloth, and wipe the entire stain. This will help remove any remaining dust that’s left over from sanding.
  7. Using a shade of wood varnish that matches the color of your wood floors, apply a layer to the top of the affected area.
  8. Take the #0000 steel wool you used in a previous step and use it to remove any bumps you see between the old and new varnish.
  9. Using a high quality brand of wood polish, wax the affected area to finish.


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Removing Water Stains from Wood – Method # 2

To remove light stains from wood, follow these two do-it-yourself steps.

  1. Using mineral oil, pour a generous amount onto a soft rag.
  2. Rub the light water stain with the rag and let it sit overnight. It should disappear. If the light water stain is still visible on the wood in the morning, continue the process with these additional steps.
  3. Wearing gloves, apply mineral spirits to a soft cloth and rub what remains of the light water stain. In a few minutes, the stain should start to disappear.
  4. If the stain is still visible, apply a coat of furniture polish onto the wood floor. Depending on the type of stain, choose the above method that matches the appearance of the affected area. These are a few effective solutions to turn to when you’re wondering how to get water stains out of wood in your home.


If the wood floor stain is still visible, consider calling COIT to learn about our professional wood floor care services. Don't forget to checkout our coupons!

Remember to always do a spot removal test on a portion of carpet or upholstery that is normally not visible. These are suggested treatments only and COIT can't be held accountable for any damage sustained by use of the treatments in this spot removal guide.

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Home remedies not working?

If you’re still battling stubborn stains after trying these home remedies, professional cleaning may be a good option to explore. Check out COIT’s Cleaning Services to learn more about the help we can offer.

Contact COIT for stain removal help