Wood is a durable floor covering. It can endure the day-to-day stress that constant use puts it through. In most situations, wiping up spills and vacuuming the floors regularly can keep floors looking new. Unfortunately, wood can become scratched or stained. The first thing you need to do is determine the severity of the scratches or stains. Are the blemishes in the top coat of the wood finish or in the wood?

Repair Solutions for Damage to the Penetrating Stain

If the scratches or stains are in the wood, then the finish is a penetrating stain or finish. They ruin the beauty of wood by making it look dull and old. Here are some tips on correcting the most common problems that damage the penetrating stain.


To repair a scratch, rub a wax stick over the scratched area. Make sure the wax matches the color of the flooring.

Dried Milk or Food Stains

Get a damp cloth and gently rub the stained area. It is important that when you rub the stain, start from the outer edge and work inward. Once the floor is cleaned, dry the floor and apply wax.

Water Stains or White Spots

To remove these stains, use #000 steel wool and wax. In most cases, this fixes the problem. If the problem is not corrected, lightly sand the spot with fine sandpaper. After you rub the spot, clean it using #00 steel wool and mineral spirits. A wood floor cleaner can be used in place of the mineral spirits. Once the floor is dry, stain, wax and buff dry.

Heel Marks and Mold

These marks, while unsightly, are easy to repair. Simply rub the scuff marks with a little wax and find steel wool. To restore the floor’s shine, hand buff it. Mold is a rare occurrence on wood floors. If you should happen to encounter this issue, rub the affected area with wood cleaner.

Gum, Crayon and Candle Wax

If any of these items find their way onto the floor, freeze it off. Fill a plastic bag with ice and put it on the gum. The gum will become brittle and break off. Crayons and candle wax are removable by placing an ink blotter on the wax. Place a hot clothes iron on the blotter. Another solution is to place solvent-based wax around the edges. The wax loosens the crayon and candle wax, making it easy to remove.

Oil and Grease

Oil and grease can be cleaned off the floor by using a lye-based kitchen soap. Saturate the stain with the kitchen soap. Follow the kitchen soap with ammonia. Repeat the process until the stain is removed. Once the stain is gone, dry and hand buff the floor. Hydrogen peroxide can be used in the place of the dish soap.

Dark Spots and Ink Stains

The same solution for water spots works for these types of stains. If they do not work, use household bleach or vinegar. Let the bleach of vinegar soak on the stain for an hour. When the soaking has finished, rinse with a damp cloth and dry. Stain, wax and hand buff the floor.

Cigarette Burns

If the burn is superficial, rub it with fine sandpaper or steel wool. For the best results, apply wax to the steel wool. For deep burns, scrape the burn with a pen knife and remove the burned pieces of wood. Rub the area with sandpaper. Then stain, wax and buff that area of the floor.

Wax Build Up

Maintaining your wood floors may keep them looking great, but it can also lead to a wax buildup. Use odorless mineral spirits or a product for wood floors that is designed to strip wax. Use a soft cloth and steel wool to remove the residue. After the floor has dried, buff and wax it.

Repairing Floors with Surface Finish Damage

You can differentiate a scratch or stain in the wood from surface finish damage. If the damage appears to be in the finish, it is surface finish damage. Here are a few tips to correct common damage to the surface finish.


There are touch-up kits available to correct any stains in the floor. Make sure to use a kit that is made for urethane finishes. These kits are available at any flooring retailer.

Food, Water and Dark Spots

Cleaners that are designed for wood floors with urethane finishes should remove the stains. If wiping the stain with cleaner does not initially remove the stain, try adding a little more rubbing effort and using a wood flooring scrub pad. It is important that the scrub pad is designated for use on urethane floors.

Grease Spots and Cigarette Burns

Again, a urethane floor cleaning kit should remove grease, lipstick, crayon and oil stains. Cigarette burns will require more effort. If the burn is not deep, it can be fixed using a urethane finish touch-up kit. Rub the burn with sandpaper, stain and refinish the floor. If the burn is deep, the individual plank may need to be replaced.

Gum, Crayons and Wax

Apply a plastic bag to the area. The ice will cause the substances to harden, making them easy to break off. Once the gum, crayons or wax are removed, clean the floor with a urethane floor cleaner.

These are some tips to repairing the most common issues that homeowners have with wood floors. It should be noted, that you should use the flooring manufacturer’s suggestions for repairing, finishing and cleaning their floor. If you should need further assistance in your repairs, contact Brothers Flooring and Remodeling.