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Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures
Spot Cleaning Stains On Wood Floors
Internet - Housenet's Interior Repairs
Spot Cleaning Stains On Wood Floors
SPOT CLEANING STAINS ON WOOD FLOORS
A. This procedure includes guidance on removing dark spots,
white marks, grease and oil stains, mold or mildew, and
wax or chewing gum on wooden floors.
B. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines
cover the following sections:
1. Safety Precautions
2. Historic Structures Precautions
4. Quality Assurance
5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
6. Project/Site Conditions
7. Sequencing and Scheduling
8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
Preservation Officer (RHPO).
NOTE: Chemical products are sometimes sold under a common
name. This usually means that the substance is not as pure as
the same chemical sold under its chemical name. The grade of
purity of common name substances, however, is usually adequate
for stain removal work, and these products should be purchased
when available, as they tend to be less expensive. Common
names are indicated below by an asterisk (*).
A. Steel wool pads (Fine Grade 000)
B. Mineral spirits:
1. A petroleum distillate that is used especially as a
paint or varnish thinner.
2. Other chemical or common names include Benzine* (not
Benzene); Naphtha*; Petroleum spirits*; Solvent
3. Potential Hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
4. Safety Precautions:
a. AVOID REPEATED OR PROLONGED SKIN CONTACT.
b. ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when handling
c. If any chemical is splashed onto the skin,
wash immediately with soap and water.
5. Available from construction specialties
distributor, hardware store, paint store, or
printer's supply distributor.
D. Solvent-based floor wax
E. Household vinegar:
1. Potential Hazards: CORROSIVE TO CONCRETE, STEEL,
WOOD OR GLASS.
2. Available from grocery store or supermarket.
3. Vinegar contains about 4% acetic acid and may be
suitable for some purposes requiring acetic acid.
F. Household bleach:
1. Other chemical or common names include Bleaching
solution*; Laundry bleach*; Sodium Hypochlorite
(NaOCl); Solution of chlorinated soda*.
2. Potential Hazards: CORROSIVE TO FLESH.
3. Available from chemical supply house, grocery store
or supermarket, hardware store or janitorial supply
G. Oxalic acid (COOH)2 or (H2C2O4):
1. A poisonous strong acid that occurs in various
plants as oxalates and is used especially as a
bleaching or cleaning agent and in making dyes.
2. Other chemical or common names include Dibasic
acid; Ethanedioic acid; Acid of sugar*.
3. Potential Hazards: TOXIC; CORROSIVE TO CONCRETE,
STEEL, WOOD OR GLASS.
4. Available from chemical supply house, dry cleaning
supply distributor, drugstore or pharmaceutical
supply distributor, hardware store, or photographic
supply distributor (not camera shop). (Often sold
under a manufacturer's brand name; the chemical
name may appear on the label.)
H. Paper towels and clean, soft cotton cloths
I. Plastic bags
J. Ice cubes
K. Clean, potable water
A. Industrial-sized floor buffer
B. Plastic spatula
1. Carefully read manufacturer s instructions for any
chemical to be used for cleaning. Follow
recommendations for safety and handling as well as
2. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation when using
B. Surface Preparation: ALWAYS test selected method of
cleaning on a small area first before beginning the
3.02 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
NOTE: USE CAUTION WHEN USING SCOURING POWDER AS IT CAN
PERMANENTLY SCRATCH WOOD FLOORS. DO NOT USE WATER-BASED
CLEANING SOLUTIONS OR CLEANERS THAT REQUIRE RINSING WITH
WATER. USE A SOLVENT OR SOLVENT-BASED CLEANING WAX.
A. For Dark Spots:
1. Rub area with steel wool and mineral spirits.
2. Then, wet a rag with household vinegar and apply to
the stain. Allow to sit on dark spot for a few
3. Repeat this process if it seems to lighten the
4. If the spot does not lighten, mix a 50/50 solution
of household bleach and water and apply to the
5. If the spot still does not lighten, then apply
oxalic acid to the center of the spot. Avoid
getting bleach on the surrounding wood. Several
applications may be necessary.
6. When the spot has disappeared, neutralize the
bleach with vinegar and allow to dry. Sand, stain
and refinish to match the original color.
B. For White Water Marks:
1. White marks are usually a stain in the finish, not
in the wood.
2. Rub the mark with very fine steel wool and apply
C. For Grease and Oil Stains:
1. Blot stain with clean towels.
2. Saturate stain with dry cleaning fluid. Check
appearance every few minutes.
D. For Mold or Mildew:
1. Wipe area with rag soaked in household bleach.
2. Provide adequate ventilation in future to eliminate
damp, stagnant air conditions that can result in
the growth of mold and mildew.
E. For Wax or Chewing Gum:
1. Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and place on top of
the wax or chewing gum. Allow it to sit for a few
2. When the material has hardened, scrape it away with
a plastic spatula and recoat the floor with floor
A. Upon completion of stain removal, rinse the area
thoroughly, and allow to dry. Repair any areas where
finish has been removed.
END OF SECTION