We’ve all heard the saying that death and taxes are the only two certainties in life, but you could probably add floor stains to that list as well. Whether you have hardwood flooring, carpeting or porcelain tile, odds are you’re going to have to figure out how to get rid of a stain at some time or another. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone! Below are 12 handy hacks to help you remove some of the most common stains from your floors. 

Hardwood Flooring

  • If one of the kids decided to do their best Picasso impression with a permanent marker on your hardwood floor, try applying a dab of toothpaste to the area, and then gently work the stain out with a damp cloth.
  • Water stains are another common problem for hardwood floors; they are usually characterized by a smoky white-colored ring on the floor’s surface. First cover the stain with a dry, non-abrasive cotton cloth, and then go back and forth over the area with a hot iron for about 3-5 seconds (make sure it’s set on the “no steam” setting). Once this is done, dampen a cloth with denatured alcohol and gently rub over any areas where the stain might still be present.
  • General stains can be removed from hardwood floors by soaking a cotton cloth with hydrogen peroxide, and then placing the cloth on the stain for about two to five minutes. This allows the peroxide time to soak into the wood in order to bleach out the stain. Once the time has passed, remove the cloth and allow the area to dry, wiping away any excess hydrogen peroxide if need be.

Vinyl Flooring

  • Scuffs and other stubborn marks can be removed from vinyl flooring by wiping them with a cloth that has been dampened with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Bleach is a top choice for stains that cause discoloration, such as tomato sauce, wine or fruit juice. Dilute the bleach using a 1:4 bleach-to-water ratio, and then soak a cloth in the solution for about one minute. Next, lay the cloth over the stain and let it sit for at least an hour before removing it. Bleach takes a little longer to work, but it can definitely knock out these types of troublesome stains.
  • For rust stains, create a “paste” by mixing oxalic acid powder with water, and then rub the paste on the stain using a damp cloth. Make sure to use rubber gloves when handling this highly acidic solution, and also make sure the room is well-ventilated. Rinse the area with clean water when you’re finished.

Carpet Flooring

  • For ink stains, try creating a paste using a mixture of cornstarch and milk, and then apply it liberally to the stained area. Allow it to dry by letting it sit for about two hours, and then brush off the excess residue. Vacuum the area to finish it off.
  • Dark carpet stains can be removed by using a cleaning solution comprised of two tablespoons each of borax and salt dissolved in a half-cup of white vinegar. Apply this solution to the stain using a damp cloth, and then allow it to dry thoroughly before vacuuming the area to complete the process.
  • Red wine on a light-colored carpet is most people’s worst stain nightmare, but fortunately, there is a way to keep it from permanently marring your carpet flooring. The one thing you can’t do is wait around for the wine to dry before springing into action. First, pour white wine over the area to help loosen it up and dilute the coloring. After that, clean the stain using a wet sponge, and then sprinkle salt all over the affected area.

Tile and Stone Flooring

  • Muriatic acid has long been used by flooring professionals to clean even the toughest stains on stone and tile flooring, because simply put, it works! This is a heavy-duty cleaner, so you will need to wear rubber gloves and a respirator, and you need to make sure that the room is well-ventilated. Dilute one part muriatic acid into five parts water, and then apply the solution to the stained area using a toothbrush. Make sure that you have thoroughly cleaned off all of the solution when you’re done.
  • If you have gum stuck to your tile or stone floor, try freezing it with an ice cube, and then gently scraping it away using a plastic ice scraper or old credit card.
  • The grout between tiles is a very common problem area when it comes to stains. Using a mixture of lemon juice and shaving cream in a spray bottle, spray the grout and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then, scrub the grout with an old toothbrush to lift the stains out and get rid of them.

The tips outlined above cover quite a variety of scenarios, but if you have any additional questions about how to remove a stain from your floor, don’t hesitate to call McSwain Carpets & Floors for help. We have extensive experience with hardwood flooring and carpet installation in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky, and we’ve learned quite a few tricks of the trade for removing stains from all kinds of different flooring surfaces. Always feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Here’s to a beautiful, stain-free floor!