Professionally laid hardwood is arguably one of the best types of flooring for homes and apartments. They are beautiful, aesthetic, and lend the space a more mature feel. As trendy and sophisticated as they may seem, they can be challenging to maintain. Watermarks, food stains, and iron stains can be particularly difficult to remove if you know the first thing about bleaching. In this post, we will briefly go over the different kinds of bleaching agents recommended for and how to bleach hardwood floors.
Recommended bleaches for your hardwood floors
There are three popular bleach agents typically used for bleaching hardwood floors. They are;
The three bleach types are recommended for different stains and issues. Household bleach treats ink stains, juice spills, coffee spills, etc. Oxalic acid clears up stains from water damage and rust. The hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide kit is powerful and is only used when both bleach types fail.
How to prepare and use the bleaches
1. Household or Chlorine bleach
Sand away the finish
Using an orbital sander, sand away the finish of your wooden floor. You can use a chemical thinner to get through the finish if you’re having trouble, but we recommend manually sanding it. That will remove some of the stains too.
Pour some bleach on the stain and scrub
Pour a few tablespoons of local household chlorine bleach on the stained portion of your floor, and scrub it for about ten minutes. Wipe the bleach off with a dry cloth, pour ¼ cup of vinegar on the stained spot and wipe it off again. Repeat the process every 24 hours if the stain persists.
2. Oxalic Acid
Protect yourself before you touch the acid
Prolonged exposure to oxalic acid can cause a host of terrifying side effects. Prepare yourself to safely handle the acid by;
- Opening up windows to ensure proper ventilation
- Wear a dust mask when dealing with mixing the powder.
- Wear waterproof gloves and eye protection
- Ensure that it never comes in contact with your bare skin.
Sand off your floor finish
Sand off your floor finish with a generic orbital sander or use a chemical stripper if you don’t have one.
Prepare the Oxalic acid mixture
Dissolve about 2 oz of oxalic acid in a quart of hot water, using a clear plastic container.
Using a stiff brush, brush in the solution of oxalic acid onto the stained bare hardwood floor. Scrub until the stain lightens and repeat once more until it disappears.
Wipe off the solution and rinse
Wipe away the solution with an absorbent rag, then pour ¼ cup of vinegar onto the stain spot. Clean the vinegar away, rinse the stained spot with water and dry it once more. Leave the area to air dry for about 24 hours.
Bleaching with the two-part kit containing Hydrogen Peroxide and Sodium Hydroxide
Remove the floor finish
Prepare the floor for the bleach by sanding off the finish on the stained portion of your hardwood floor with an orbital sander. You can also use a chemical stripper to remove the finish.
Dampen the floor with a sponge or cloth
Using a sponge soaked in water or a towel, dampen the area of the floor, you intend to clean. This will prevent your floors from soaking up too much bleach during the treatment.
Mix the kit
Mix the two-part kit in a plastic container following the instructions inside the box, then apply the solution onto the stained part of the floor with a hard-bristle brush.
Waiting and cleaning
Check on the stain removal progress after ten minutes and clean the solution with a rag and reapply if the stain persists. After successfully removing the stain, wipe the solution with a cloth, rinse with water, and wipe again. Apply the kit neutralizer on the stain spot, and wipe it off with a clean rag. Let the floors air for 24 hours before reapplying the finish.