10 Quick Remedies for Your Wood Floor’s Biggest Enemies

1. Chewing Gum

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

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.

Shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

3. Dark Spots and Ink Stains

Wax or penetrating stain finish: Treat like water stains. If they remain, soak with bleach or vinegar for an hour. Wipe with a damp cloth, then wipe dry. Sand lightly with fine sandpaper. Stain to match original color. Apply wax with a cloth.

Shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

4. Dried Milk or Food Stains

Wax or penetrating stain finish: Rub gently with a damp cloth. Rub dry; then apply wax.

Shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

5. Grease and Oil Stains

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.

Shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

6. Heel Scuffs

Wax or penetrating stain finish: Apply a small amount of wax with fine steel wool; rub in and buff with a cloth.

Shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

7. Mold or Mildew

Wax or penetrating stain finish: Apply a cleaner designed for wood.

Shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes. Sand and refinish areas where the mold or mildew is beneath the surface.

8. Scratches

Wax or penetrating stain finish: Apply wax.

Polyurethane finish: Fix with a touch-up kit made for urethane finishes and sold at flooring stores.

Shellac or varnish finish: Fix with a hardwood floor finish restorer.

9. Water Stains or White Spots

Wax or penetrating stain finish: Rub with 000 steel wool dipped in wax. If the stain or spot remains, sand with fine sandpaper. Follow up with 00 steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. When mineral spirits evaporate, stain to match original color. Apply wax and buff.

Shellac, varnish, or polyurethane finish: Use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

10. Wax Buildup

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.

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.

  • Republished from:

    Save $20,000 with a Nail

    buy NOW$21.99

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy