Kathy Kelley's Blog
One of the benefits of hardwood floors is their durability. When they start to look worn, refinishing takes time, but is much less of a hassle than replacement. Yet sometimes, stains won't simply buff out of the surface of your hardwoods. If you’re dealing with tough stains, like juice or wine spills or ink stains, and need to prep your hardwoods for new finish, bleaching is the answer. Whether you bleach the entire floor and refinish it or simply bleach the area with the stain, this process is not difficult and can restore the look of your beautiful floors. Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1 – Prep the Floor
Sand the floor to remove the finish, using a chemical stripper if necessary. You need to remove all of the finish for the bleach to soak in well.
Step 2 – Mix the Bleach
Oxalic acid crystals, which you can purchase at a hardware store, are the best material to use for bleaching hardwood. Mix these crystals into water until no more crystals dissolve. This will take some trial and error, and hot water works best. Be sure to use gloves to protect your skin.
Step 3 – Apply the Bleach
Use rubber gloves, safety goggles and a respirator mask, then grab a sponge and apply the solution on to the stain. Allow it to dry completely. Apply a second application if needed to completely eliminate the stain. Wash off all of the bleach crystals that remain with clean water.
Step 4 – Neutralize
Make a solution by mixing two heaping tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of water. Apply this to the wood to neutralize the bleaching solution, and allow the area to dry.
Step 5 – Refinish
Once you are sure the stain is gone and the wood is dry, refinish the floors as you see fit. If you only bleached part of your floor, take some sandpaper and sand the area, fading the edges of the repaired area to the edges of the rest of the floor. Then, find a matching stain and refinish the area you treated.
Whether you are getting a house ready to stage for sale, have purchased a home and discovered hardwoods under the carpet that need a little TLC, or simply want your existing home to look its best, bleaching the hardwoods is often the best way to get rid of stubborn stains. Before you assume that your stained hardwoods have to be replaced, consider trying this easy DIY solution.