When your hardwood floor shows up stubborn stains that just won’t go no matter what you try, bleaching it becomes a good option. To bleach wood floors, there are three commonly used methods: chlorine bleach, oxalic acid or a two-part kit containing hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide.
You can choose a method from these three based on their staining composition. Perhaps you are aware that chlorine bleach is the weakest of them all and is good for ink stains, juice spills, etc. Oxalic acid works well black discoloration caused due to age, rust stains and water damage. Lastly, a peroxide two-part bleach kit is the strongest of these three and is used only as a last resort.
How to bleach wood:
Chlorine Bleach: To know how to bleach wood floors using chlorine bleach, follow these steps:
#1: Begin by sanding the floor so that any existing finish is removed. If the stains are very stubborn, use a chemical stripper to take off the stains.
#2: In a plastic container, mix hot water and dry calcium or sodium hypochlorite. If you prefer, you can use liquid chlorine bleach that’s used in homes by pouring two teaspoons of it at a time to the surface that needs staining. Use either this calcium-sodium mix or household bleach to the wood and stain it, and brush it with a stiff-toothed brush. After 10 minutes, wipe it away with a soft rag. If you still find stains, let the bleach remain for another 24 hours.
#3: Wipe off any left-over bleach using a soft rag. Drizzle 1/4 cup vinegar on the damaged area to get rid of the effects of the bleach and rinse with water. Don’t use too much of liquid as this might cause the wood to distend. Wipe off the extra water immediately and let the stained area dry overnight.
Oxalic Acid: To know how to bleach wood floors using oxalic acid, follow these steps:
#4: Sand your hardwood floor or use a chemical stripper to get the finish off it. Wipe it clean and dry before you apply oxalic acid. Dissolve 0.06 liters (2 oz.) of oxalic acid in a liter of very hot water in a plastic container.
#5: Using stiff-toothed brush, brush this liquid onto the floor and let it remain until it shows signs of lightening. If necessary, reapply it and scrub again with the brush. With a soft rag, wipe away the excess oxalic acid solution when the stain lightens. Add a rinse of 1/4 cup vinegar and then wipe dry and follow it up with a water rinse so that the entire surface area is saturated. Dry the area with a soft rag and let it air dry for the next 24 hours. To know more, watch this video:
2-Part Bleaches: When nothing else works, resort to bleaching wood floors using this two-ingredient bleach, with the following directions:
#6: Get rid of trip wood of your floor’s finish using a chemical stripper or sand the area. If there’s dust on the floor, clear it now. With a sponge, wet the stained area so that the wood doesn’t absorb bleach excessively.
#7: Mix hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide contained in the bleach kit in a plastic container. Follow the instructions on the pack. With the help of a stiff-toothed brush, brush the bleach solution on your hardwood floor and let it remain for 10 minutes. After this period, check the effect of the bleach and wipe off any excess with a soft rag. Reapply if you need to. Rinse the area with water when you finish and remember not to refinish the area that was bleached for the next 24 hours.
Tips and Guidance:
- Don’t bleach on white oak surfaces as it can discolor.
- Always wear protective gear like gloves and overalls.
- Wear a face mask so that you’re well-protected against dust during the sanding phase and when toxic fumes emanate during the finishing stage.
- Staining should always be done in an area free from dust and well-ventilated.
- When bleaching, it’s prudent to have a bucket of water and sponge near you so that you can take care of yourself if your skin is exposed to caustic stains or bleach.
- When applying sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide bleach, wear long neoprene gloves whose ends are cuffed so that water does not drip, and a waterproof apron and dark glasses.
- If left-over materials are no longer in their original boxes, mark the boxes clearly, naming them, so that you know what they and you can reach out for them when you need them next. Store all staining materials in a cool and dark place, away from kids and pets.
- When getting rid of toxic chemicals, follow all the environmental guidelines strictly.
Now that you have all the options before you to remove stains from your hardwood flooring, go ahead and use the one that suits your flooring best.