Can I Use Stain Fu on Wood Floors?
The answer: Yes! and possibly no. Let us explain…
What You Need to Know About Wood Floors
Wood is composed of cellulose, enzymes, lignins, water, and amino acids. When wood gets wet, the cellulose and lignins swell and spread out, often times raising the grain of the wood, as well as causing dark water marks to form when the wood dries. When strong contaminates absorb into wood from substances like urine, vomit, blood, bleach, or even vinegar, the cellulosic binders in wood have a tendency to dry with even more dark marks.
Moreover, biological contamination causes bacteria to form that attacks the contamination, causing further dark water circles and marks when it dries.
It’s Like Biting Into an Apple
When you bite into an apple and set it on the shelf, over time the exposed apple flesh will turn brown because the sugars (cellulose) in the apple are oxidizing. The same reaction occurs when bare wood is exposed to water and allowed to dry. Now add in the bacterial factor and the wood gets real ugly, real quick!
Finished Wood Floors
Most wood floors these days have a polyurethane or aluminum oxide finish applied to the surface, either applied at the wood floor manufacturing plant, or by a contractor or homeowner.
These finishes definitely help in reducing contaminants (and soil) from reaching the wood fibers.
However, over time and/or given enough volume of contamination, the contamination may soak in under the finished wood floor, causing those ugly dark marks to appear and get worse over time.
Options to Rid of the Ugly Dark Contamination Staining
The surest option is to have the wood floors evaluated by a professional as every situation is different.
The professional may recommend (from least expensive to most):
- Localized refinishing
- Complete refinishing
- or in the worst case scenario – Replacement
One Big Word of Warning if You Do it Yourself
If you decide not to have a professional evaluation and prefer to tackle the wood floor stains/odors yourself, please keep in mind that you may make it worse . Again, every situation is different.
In some cases the contamination is so deep that the wood itself is rotting due to fungal growth and bacterial action. If this is the case, nothing you can do short of replacement will make it better.
In other cases it’s possible the contamination is only slightly under the surface of the finish and doesn’t need to be sanded down or replaced.
It’s your floor. Whatever you decide is your call and your responsibility. It’s important that you know the risks of attempting to do it yourself.
Only a professional who has lots of experience with wood floors can make that case-by-case determination.
Using Stain Fu on Wood Floors
Stain Fu is designed to break down and eliminate organic odors and stains from water safe and colorsafe materials.
Unfinished wood flooring is not watersafe; however, if the wood floor finish is intact, it can be considered water safe to a degree.
If the wood floor finish is missing, you risk making the staining worse through color/stain removal, creating more dark marks, or even lightening the wood beyond the original color.
Stain Fu doesn’t differentiate between good organic matter (like wood floors) and bad organic matter (like urine). It just goes to work breaking down organic material it contacts.
Always test first
It’s always best to test Stain Fu in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it is safe for that particular material, including wood floor. The trick is finding an inconspicuous area that is similar to the condition of the area you want to treat, meaning the wood floor area that has no contamination is probably not like the contaminated area.
If that’s the case, test in a small contaminated area, say no bigger than an inch or two.
1.) Shake Stain Fu well
2.) Hold the nozzle close to the surface, and lightly jet out about a half spray, just enough to cover about 1 to 2 inches.
3.) Let Stain Fu sit on the surface and watch to see if it soaks in. If it soaks in very quickly (within a minute or so) the wood floor finish is compromised and you’re on your own as we do not recommend using Stain Fu on bare or compromised wood finish.
If it doesn’t soak in within 10-15 minutes, the finish should be ok to proceed.
If it passes, continue
Assuming Stain Fu passed the test above, do the following:
1.) Apply Stain Fu by spraying the surface and let it do it’s work. Leave it on the surface for a good 15-30 minutes. If Stain Fu dries up within that 15-30 minutes, apply it again.
2.) After that 15-30 minutes (or more, with a second application of Stain Fu – perhaps up to 45 minutes) wipe up the area. Do NOT rub or scrub the areas as that may cause more finish or lignin damage.
3.) Allow the area to thoroughly dry and evaluate. Sometimes that’s all you need, but sometimes you need to do a little bit more.
4.) Now that Stain Fu has neutralized the urine, you still have some dark marks remaining that you want to lighten, you’ll need to apply a safe acid to the spots, like lemon juice or oxalic acid.
You should see rapid improvement of the dark marks as the acid reverses the oxidation.
Wrapping it up
Wood floors are tricky materials to treat for stains and odors because of the variables involved. But if you really want to give it a whirl yourself and have followed this guide, our experience is that Stain Fu makes those ugly stains look and smell much better. Again, you are more than welcome to contact me if you need even more assistance.
Thank you for being awesome and using Stain Fu!
About the Author
Hi there! My name is Scott and I’m your Personal Cleaning Craftsman to help you in removing tough stains and odors with Stain Fu Stain & Odor Remover.
My first passion is stain removal. Weird, I know, but that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for over the past 20 years.
My second passion is helping people. You may not have known this, but your purchase of any of our products comes with me and my team any time you need support!
We Are Here For YOU
If you need stain removal help, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com . If you need to reach me via phone, my number is 517-618-0961.
Wait – Who Are You?
I am the leader of our multi-generational family of professional cleaners going back to 1983. We started off as a housekeeping company cleaning homes and commercial offices. In 1984 we added professional carpet, tile, and upholstery cleaning to our growing list of services and attended professional cleaning seminars and courses to master our cleaning craftsmanship.
Over the next few decades we professionally cleaned millions of square feet from tens of thousands of items like carpet, tile, wood, upholstery, walls, ceilings, partitions, drapes, blinds, sinks, toilets, showers, marble, travertine, granite, brick, concrete, boats, RV interiors, outdoor furniture, boat covers, clothes, bags, and… WHEW – I could go on, but I think I’ll stop there!
I’ve personally been a professional cleaner since 1994 when I was honorably discharged from the military and went to work for my parents in their cleaning business. Over the decades I’ve attended dozens of professional cleaning and restoration courses, seminars, and labs. I was also lead trainer for several professional cleaning products companies and have extensive knowledge of cleaning and odor removal chemistry, techniques, and methods.