First aid for wood floors depends on the type of surface. If the stain or scratch has penetrated the finish only and is not in the wood, you are dealing with a surface finished floor.
Surface finishes like varnish, lacquer, or shellac form a protective layer over the wood surface. Urethane, a varnish, is the most common surface finish on wood floors.
When removing stains from any wood floor, always begin at the outer edge of the stain and work toward the middle. Always use the wood flooring manufacturer’s repair and finish products when known. The following problems & cures are for surface finishes:
Chewing Gum, Crayon, Candle Wax
Apply a plastic zipper seal bag filled with ice on top of the stain until it is brittle enough to crumble off. Clean the area with a product safe for urethane finishes (FULLER Wood Floor Cleaner & Polish).
Most common burns can be treated in three steps. Rub with sandpaper until the burn is no longer visible. Stain with the same color dye as the surrounding floor, available from your floor manufacturer or a hardware store. Finally, apply urethane finish, also available from the manufacturer of your floor or hardware store. For burns that reach deep into the wood, individual plank or parquet boards may need to be replaced.
Food, Water, Dark Spots, Dog Spots
Use a cleaner developed specifically for urethane finishes to remove the spot or stain. More stubborn spots may require additional scrubbing with the cleaner and a wood flooring scrub pad or steel wool.
Oil, Grease Stains
Rub the area with a cleaner safe for use on urethane (FULLER Wood Floor Cleaner & Polish).
Mold or mildew
Rub the area with a cleaner developed for urethane (FULLER Wood Floor Cleaner & Polish). If the mold or mildew lies underneath the surface finish, sand and refinish the area.
Repair with a touch-up kit for urethane finishes, available from any wood flooring retailer. For small surface abrasions (scratch is white) a small amount of wood polish (FULLER Spray ‘N Polish – Furniture Polish) applied with a soft cloth, wiping in the direction of the scratch will bring back to floor original color.
The best way to fix a finished wooden floor is to prevent flaws in the first place. Maintenance of your floor is very simple.
Sweep or vacuum regularly. Use a soft bristled broom and dustpan with a rubber contact or a vacuum with a wood floor attachment (the beater bars can dent your floor.)
Soak up wet spills as soon as you can. Pet stains, beverages and food can all discolor the finish on your wood floor. In fact, they can even seep into and stain the wood.
Repair and refinish your floor as needed. The sooner you mend the imperfections in your floor, the less likely they will continue to damage the underlying wood.
If the finish on your wood flooring looks dull and lifeless, give it a good cleaning to remove accumulated dirt and wax. If the finish remains dull even after cleaning, it’s time to refinish. Higher-traffic floors will require refinishing more often.