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What Causes White Spots On Hardwood Floors?

White spots can stand out like a sore thumb on hardwood flooring, especially if you have darker hardwood like Mahogany or Cherry, so how can you go about getting rid of them and what causes them in the first place?

White spots on hardwood floors are usually caused by water spillages that are left to evaporate rather than being cleaned up. These spots can also be caused by drywall dust, as well as heat.

Join us as we take a look at everything there is to know about white spots on hardwood floors; including how to prevent them, clean them up and why exactly they are so common on hardwood floors.

How Are White Spots Formed On Hardwood Floors?

White spots are most commonly formed by water.

When water is left to evaporate from a hardwood floor, this process can cause white spots to form on the surface that are difficult to remove. This is why it is essential to clean up any spillages on your floor as soon as you can – the longer you wait the worse the damage will be.

Other liquids can also cause white spots to form as well such as juices, alcohol and just about any other liquids you can think of.

Another factor that can cause white spots is heat. This one is a bit more unusual but if you leave a hot item on a hardwood floor for an extended period of time then this can also cause white marks to appear, or even burn marks depending on how hot it is.

Polyurethane Layer

Most hardwood floors are coated with a layer of polyurethane as standard from the manufacturer.

This is a layer designed to protect the floor from spills and scratches, but over time it can be worn down significantly. When this layer becomes worn, your hardwood floors become more vulnerable to damage from liquids which makes the likelihood of white spots forming even higher.

This is important to consider because if your hardwood floor is quite a few years old you will need to be more careful with spills and general upkeep. You can also apply a new layer, but we will get into that tactic later in the article.

How To Clean White Spots On Hardwood Floors

There are a few different ways to clean up white spots, but we are going to focus on 4 of the best methods in this article.

If you want to see any other methods added, or know of any great tricks for removing white spots from hardwood flooring then let us know!

Method 1 – Vinegar and Water Solution

The first method that we suggest trying is using a solution of vinegar and water in a 50-50 mix.

Simply add the ingredients to a spray bottle and then generously spray the white spots with it to completely cover them. After this, use a soft-bristled brush that has preferably never been used before to scrub the solution into the spots.

Once the spots have been removed from the wood use a clean cloth to wipe away the excess moisture. After this, your floor should look completely different as the white spots are no more.

Method 2 – Hydrogen Peroxide

Another viable solution to try is hydrogen peroxide, and don’t worry, if you use it properly you don’t have to worry about damaging your floor in the process.

This method is very simple and requires a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide as well as a cotton pad. Using the cotton pad, apply a generous amount of the solution onto the white spots and allow this to settle for 5 to 10 minutes.

After the time is up, use a dry cloth again to wipe the floor clean.

If you want more advice on how to use hydrogen peroxide specifically for hardwood floors then check out our dedicated guide here.

Method 3 – Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Now, this one is a bit obvious but there are an endless amount of hardwood floor cleaning solutions on the market that you can buy for decent prices.

It’s definitely worth trying one of these out. Although they may not guarantee to remove the white marks, there is a good chance that they will and if not at least you’ve got a good excuse to give your entire floor a deep clean!

Method 4 – Mineral Spirit

Last but certainly not least is mineral spirit.

Mineral spirits are great to use on wood and especially for white spots. To use mineral spirit, simply pour a generous amount of it onto the white spots and rub with a clean cloth.

Mineral spirit can take a while to cut through some tougher white spots or other stains, but it’s definitely worth trying if you have any around the house.

How To Prevent White Spots On Hardwood Floors

An even better way of dealing with white spots is to prevent them from forming in the first place, rather than having to clean them up later.

We’ve got 4 easy ways you can prevent them from forming right below.

Clean Spillages As Soon As Possible

Water, and other fluids, will cause white spots to form if left unattended for a long period of time; so the easiest way to prevent this is to clean up any spills as soon as you can. It’s also especially important to get fluids out of any cracks that you may have on your floor.

We recommend using a clean cloth or paper towels for this and taking care to get as much of the liquid from the floor as possible.

Keep Heat Away From The Floor

This one is kind of a given, but keep any hot items such as pans or hair dryers away from your floor. They can cause white spots to form in no time at all, so keep this in mind.

Speak To Your Contractor

If you have moved into a new home and notice the floor has white spots on it, then contact the contractor who installed the floor for advice and help to remove them.

In this instance, it is highly likely that drywall dust has settled onto the floor and that the spots are created by a build-up of this dust. It should be the responsibility of the contractor to clean up after themselves, so giving them a call is always a good option.

Apply A New Coat Of Polyurethane

If your floor is quite a few years old, the chances are that any protective layers have started to wear which can make it more likely to become damaged by water.

By applying a new coat of polyurethane, either water-based or oil-based, you can protect your floor from spills. This will lower the risk of white spots forming and it only needs to be done every few years or so to keep your floor protected.

If you go oil-based this will also enhance the look of your floor, whereas a water-based polyurethane coating will keep your floor looking the same as it normally does if this is what you want.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve learnt what causes white spots on hardwood floors, as well as some great techniques you can employ to prevent and clean them as well.

Remember that white spots are actually quite easy to remove, and there are a number of ways that you can get rid of them as well.