How to Remove White Spots From Hardwood Floors

Modern wood floors are coated with polyurethane, making them all but impervious to stains and damage. With age, though, these finishes wear thin. Exposure to water, sun and wear all take their toll. Water spills left on a wood floor may evaporate, leaving white or grayish spots. Alcohol, medicines or perfumes may also cause white spots or streaks. If stains don't disappear with treatment, call a professional wood floor finisher, advises Michigan State University Extension.

Properly cared for wood floors may last 30 to 40 years or longer.
  1. Wipe a dime-size amount of paste wax on the stain.
  2. Rub the stain gently with the steel wool taking care not to destroy the finish.
  3. Wipe the surface clean.
  4. Apply a small amount of camphorated oil to a clean, lint-free cloth to wet it. Wipe the oil on the stain and immediately wipe dry with another cloth.
  5. Add two to three drops of ammonia to 1 cup of hot water. Dip cheesecloth into the ammonia solution.
  6. Rub the cheesecloth on the stain. Wipe with a damp cloth.

Things You Will Need

  • Paste wax for wood floors
  • Fine (4/0) steel wool
  • Camphorated oil
  • Clean, lint free cloths
  • Cheesecloth
  • Ammonia


  • Dark spots on a wood floor are often caused by an alkaline substance, such as pet urine. To remove these spots, first dab the area with a clean cloth dipped in mineral spirits to remove solvent-based waxes (newer floors with polyurethane finishes aren't generally waxed). Ventilate the room and don't use mineral spirits around sparks or flames. Pour 1/4 cup white vinegar on the stain and wait five minutes. Wipe the vinegar up. The acid in the vinegar may neutralize the alkaline stain, causing it to disappear, according to the Michigan State University Extension.
  • Wipe up spills immediately to prevent water damage, which can cause wood floors to warp and swell, in addition to staining or ruining the finish.


  • Test any cleaning product in an inconspicuous place to ensure it doesn't damage the wood floor's finish.

About the Author

Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."

Photo Credits

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