Green Home

How To Get Blood Out of Upholstery

Learn how to get blood out of upholstery.

How To Get Blood Out Of Upholstery Featured

Blood stains on your upholstery? Getting it out can be tricky, but it should be possible if you act fast and use the right cleaner.

To remove blood from upholstery, blot up the excess and use a cleaner such as hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, off-the-shelf upholstery cleaner, or baking soda & water. Some upholstery may need to be dry cleaned instead. Always check the label first.

Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t always quite that simple. Removing blood stains can be tricky, and many of the cleaning solutions we’ve listed above (there’s some more below) may also react with your upholstery in different ways. It’s important to balance speed (dried blood is harder to clean) with caution (you don’t want to ruin your couch or chair by using the wrong product while removing blood).

(BTW – you might also want to check out our Couch Cleaning Guide if you also have other more general stains that need cleaning)

Let’s get started:

6 Steps to Remove Blood Stains From Upholstery

Step 1: Stop the Bleeding!

You or your child’s well-being is more important than your furniture, so apply first-aid as necessary! This will also ensure that you won’t get any more blood on the upholstery while you’re trying to clean it.

Step 2: Blot to Remove Excess Blood (If Fresh)

If the blood stain hasn’t dried yet, blot the stained area carefully with a paper towel to mop up excess blood before it has a chance to soak in. Start on the outside and work your way towards the center to avoid spreading the blood. Do not scrub as this can spread the blood further and push it into the fibers. The quicker you can take action, the more blood you may be able to get off before it soaks in.

Step 3: Check Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Check the label on the upholstery to see if the item should be dry cleaned. If you see the letters W, S, or SW, this indicates you can clean it safely at home. The SW indicates you can clean it with solvent-based and water-based cleaners, respectively.

If only an S or W appears, you must only use solvent or water-based solutions as appropriate. If it says ‘S’ for example, you can only use solvent-based cleaners and cannot use cold water.

If instead you see an X or ‘dry clean only’ your best option is to take it to the dry cleaners. Taking further steps on a dry-clean-only piece may risk damaging your upholstery – you have been warned!

Step 4: Dab With Cold Water

Please Note: The following steps assume your fabric is labeled ‘SW’ and can be cleaned with both solvent-based cleaners and water-based cleaners. If you are not sure which cleaners you can safely use on your fabric, we recommend you consult with a professional.

Start cleaning the blood stain by dabbing with a cloth with cold water and then blot dry with another cloth (dry). Keep repeating this for as long as it keeps removing blood. Only use a clean white cloth when cleaning upholstery to avoid color problems.

Start on the outside and work your way in to avoid spreading the blood. Do not scrub as this can spread the blood stains further and push the blood into the fibers. Do not use warm or hot water as this can make the blood stain worse and make it harder to get the blood out.

Step 5: Color Test Then Apply a Cleaning Solution

In addition to premium branded upholstery cleaners, there are a number of common household items that can help remove blood stains. Before you use one of these extensively, we recommend that you color test them. This means applying a small amount on a hard to see part of your upholstery to check it does not affect the color or stain it. There’s no point removing a blood stain only to replace it with a new one!

Commonly recommended household cleaning solutions used for blood stain removal include:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda (one part) and water (two parts)
  • Rubbing alcohol (a solvent)
  • Diluted dishwashing liquid
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Hairspray

Apply your chosen cleaning solution to a clean cloth and then dab plenty on to the blood stain and leave it to do its work. Leave for up to 30 minutes and then use a second dry cloth to help remove any residue. If using hydrogen peroxide, wait until you see small bubbles form and then wipe off – you should not need to wait 30 minutes. Repeat this process until the blood stain is gone.

Step 6: Rinse With Cold Water and Dry

Once the blood stain has been removed, rinse the area with cold water using a clean dry cloth. This ensures that all the cleaning material has been removed. Blot with a dry cloth to dry the area.

Removing Blood Stains on Leather Upholstery

If you have a specialist leather cleaner that will remove blood stains, use that first. If not, most manufacturers suggest you can use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on leather. Use sparingly and as directed above, dabbing on and then leaving for a while before taking off. When it starts working, you should see small bubbles form – once you see these, wipe it off.

Another choice that should be safe for leather is diluted white vinegar. After cleaning the leather, use a leather moisturizer on it.

Remove Blood Stains from Removable Couch Seat Covers

If the blood stain is on a removable cover and it is suitable for machine washing, you’re in luck. Remove the cover, turn it inside out, and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Put the cover into the washing machine with laundry detergent using the instructions on the label or the manufacturer’s website.

How to Get Blood Stains Out of Car Upholstery

Car upholstery should be treated as above. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and check the material before applying any cleaning material to the blood stain.

What Happens If You Can’t Get Blood Out of Your Upholstery?

If you can’t get the blood stain out, contact a specialist; they may have products you do not have access to that can get the blood stains out. If the mark remains, consider covering it up with a cushion or throw. You could also get your furniture reupholstered.

Finally, if you must replace your furniture, we recommend you read our guide here – it will help you find an eco-conscious brand for your next couch or chair.

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James Evans

James is a copywriter based in the UK. He writes on sustainability, finance, tech, and anything else that interests him. He likes tea.

Green Home

How to Clean Your Couch

Learn how the right cleaning products and methods can revitalize even the most tired couch

How To Clean Your Couch Featured

Like all household items that get a lot of wear, your couch can easily look tired and grubby. Sticky fingers, spills, pet hair and regular grime can leave your couch looking very sorry indeed.

But there’s no need to hunt for a brand new couch just yet! By giving this vital piece of home furniture a good clean, you’ll be amazed at how you can revitalize your whole room and add years to your couch’s lifespan.

Let’s look at how to clean a couch so that it looks as good as new.

What Do Your Upholstery Cleaning Codes Mean?

Before you begin looking at how to clean a couch, make sure that you’re familiar with the material that’s been used to upholster it. After all, you wouldn’t use leather conditioner on a velvet couch, so familiarize yourself with the cleaning codes found on your manufacturer label.

The code for your couch will likely be underneath or at the back of your couch, and will display, along with the fire code, one of the following: W, S, S-W, X, DC or F. These relate to the washing instructions for your couch. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these codes mean:

  • W stands for Wet cleaning. It means that the products that you use on your couch cushions must be water-based. With this couch code, you can safely dilute fabric detergents or similar products with water, and even use a steam cleaner. Chemicals such as rubbing alcohol should be avoided.
  • S stands for Solvent cleaning. This type of couch will show up water stains and so can’t be cleaned with water. Instead, use only a water-free solvent or a dry-cleaning product. Solvents can be toxic in closed rooms though, so be sure to well ventilate the room when using them.
  • S-W stands for Solvent-Wet cleaning. It can be somewhat of a confusing code because it seems to give conflicting advice, but it means that the fabric upholstery can take both water-based cleaning products and dry cleaning solvents. It can also mean that different parts of the couch should be cleaned in different ways. If you’re in any doubt, spot clean only and call the manufacturer for clarification.
  • X stands for No Products. If you have an X code, your couch fabric is too delicate for any kind of cleaning products and should only be brushed, or lightly vacuumed.
  • DC stands for Dry-Clean only. This is similar to the S, or solvent, code, and means that no water-based products should be used.
  • F stands for Foam cleaning. It’s a rare code to find but some couch fabrics can only be cleaned with a mild cleaning agent that, when applied, becomes a foam.

How to Clean a Couch (Regular Cleaning)

You can save yourself a huge cleaning job once a year by keeping up to date with light couch maintenance. When it comes to knowing how to clean a couch, the trick is that little and often is always better. We recommend you follow the cleaning tips below once a week to keep your couch in good condition.

Cleaning an Upholstered Couch

Take your vacuum cleaner and use a light setting and preferably an upholstery attachment and go over the couch, including along the back and the arms. Take off all of the cushions and vacuum up crumbs, dirt, and pieces of food that have slipped down under the cushions.

A regular vacuuming removes not just crumbs and dirt but germs that rest on the surface of the fabric, particularly if you regularly have your pet on the couch, too.

Cushion covers can be removed and taken outside to be shaken or beaten over a washing line to remove more ingrained dirt. Some cushion covers can even be put in the washing machine if they’re made of a more durable fabric but you must always check the label to make sure this is an option. However, many people prefer not to put their covers in the washing machine because they find they can’t get the right shape back again afterwards.

For small stains on the sofa, use distilled water mixed with a water-based cleaning solution and put into a spray bottle. Spray the solution lightly onto the fabric and dab the area with a cloth. Never rub the cleaning solution into the couch, as it can only stain the area further. Instead, always dab lightly.

If your couch label specifies a solvents-only cleaning process, first ventilate your living room and then apply the dry-cleaning solvent to the area you want to clean. Gently work the stain out with an upholstery brush.

Take away excess moisture with a dry cloth lightly pressed on the fabric, and then leave the couch to air dry. If cleaning a stain on a cushion, don’t put it back on the sofa until it’s dry.

Cleaning a Leather Couch

While leather makes for a more expensive material, it’s so much easier to keep clean and is often the fabric of choice for those with allergies to dust because it doesn’t hold dust and dirt the same way upholstery couches do.

Once again, vacuum first to get off all your pet hair, crumbs from the toast the kids ate earlier, and germs. Many vacuum cleaners come with more than one brush attachment to choose from.

Then, it’s as easy as wiping down the couch with a microfiber cloth or even antibacterial wipes, which are a great way to keep your leather couch protected against bacteria.

To get rid of marks and stains, you can begin to introduce soft cleaning products, starting with regular dish soap and water, dabbed into the marks with a cloth. If the dish soap doesn’t do the trick, then try a 50/50 solution of a cup warm water mixed with a cup vinegar as an effective yet still gentle cleaner.

If there’s grease on the leather, make a solution of warm water and baking soda. Baking soda has active agents that lift dirt from all manner of materials without damaging them.

If you’re not sure about whether your cleaners will damage your furniture, first do a spot test in a small area that’s not usually on show, such as the back of the couch. Wait to see the results before you apply the product to the rest of the couch.

Cleaning an X-Code Couch

If your couch is marked as an X for cleaning products, then don’t use any products on the piece of furniture, including water, which can stain.

Instead, lightly vacuum the couch and cushions only, using the correct brush attachment.

How to Deep Clean a Couch

Sometimes, the regular light cleaning just won’t do. Maybe the kids have had an accident on the couch, or you’ve got something tough like blood on it (click here for our guide for cleaning blood off upholstery), or maybe you’ve bought a second-hand sofa but want to give it a thorough cleaning once you get it home.

In that case, deep cleaning is the answer, and the best method of deep cleaning your couch is to use a steam cleaner. The beauty of steam cleaners is that it’s not so much the detergent or chemical used, but the steam itself. High heat kills bacteria, tackles odors, and lifts stains.

A good handheld steamer will work well without any added products but if the stains or odors are more stubborn, add an approved steam cleaning upholstery cleaner, and be sure to read the instructions on the back of the bottle and spot test as normal (always check steam cleaning is appropriate for your fabric before proceeding).

Odors can also be treated with a sprinkling of baking soda over the cushions, which is left for a while, and then vacuumed away.

How to Remove Stains From a Couch

Stains on your couch are an unfortunate occurrence from time to time, whether from glasses of red wine slipping out of hands or the occasional spill of coffee. Don’t worry, though: acting fast is the key. A dry cloth immediately dabbed on the area will soak up much of the offending product.

Cleaning your couch of tougher stains depends on the type of fabric your sofa is made of, so once again go back to the label.

For fabrics that can take water-based products, it’s not always necessary to use a commercial upholstery cleaner. Here’s where your cup water/cup vinegar solution in a spray bottle will be your best friend.

Spray, dab, and repeat the process until the stain has lifted. It may take several applications to get rid of the stain completely, so if your pure white sofa just won’t recover from the red wine spill, call a professional cleaner to your home. Their whole job is couches, and they’ll know what to do!

Grease stains can be dried out and lifted using baking soda, and this applies to both fabric and leather couches in your home. For a biro mark on a leather sofa, a small amount of rubbing alcohol applied with a Q-tip can lift the ink, but it can also dry out the leather, so be sure to treat the leather of your couch with some good-quality leather furniture cream afterwards.


Good couch care can mean the most-used item in the home will last much longer than expected! By following the instructions carefully and being sure to use the right products for your couch, you’ll find that the family sofa will look and smell great.

Green Home

4 Easy Methods to Remove Wax From Wood

Learn how to remove was from wood by freezing it using ice, melting it using a dryer or iron, or even through careful use of white spirit or vinegar.

Remove Wax From Wood Featured

A thin layer of wax can be good for your table or desk – furniture and flooring is often coated with wax to increase its resistance to moisture and protect it – but blobs of candle wax are not ideal.

You can remove candle wax from wood, by freezing it using ice, by melting it using a dryer or iron, or even through careful use of white spirit or vinegar. Our recommendation is to use ice, as it hardens the wax and makes it easier to scrape off in once chunk.

4 Methods For Removing Wax From Wood

Here are some popular ways to remove candle wax that has melted on, or even into, your wood. Because the wax was hot as it landed, the finish of the wood will have melted slightly and bonded with the wax (this is what makes the wax hard to remove). When you do remove the wax, there may be a mark. In some cases you may need to re-varnish or re-wax.

1 – How to Remove Candle Wax By Freezing It

The aim of this method is to harden the wax by freezing it so that it is easier to scrap off with the tool of your choice (we recommend an old credit card or plastic ruler). If the affected piece is small, you can stick it in your freezer, but in most cases you’ll need to bring the ice to the spill. Put ice cube or ice cubes in a bag or wrap them in a cloth then put them on the wax to harden it.

If the wax is frozen it should scrape off quite easily and in flakes. Be careful not to scratch the wood too hard; even a credit card can damage the surface when trying to get those last few bits of remaining wax.

2 – Removing Wax From Wood By Melting It

As you apply heat, wax softens, which can make it easier to remove from the affected area. You can use a blow dryer at low or medium heat to achieve this. Some users also suggest using an iron at low heat in place of the dryer (use it with a clean cloth or paper bag between the iron and the table to help protect the area). Personally, we think the hair dryer is safer as its easier to control the heat.

Set your blow dryer (or iron) on a low heat setting to avoid damaging the wood’s vanish. Once you have softened the wax you can remove it by simply scraping it off now that it has softened slightly.

This method has it drawbacks however, because for some wood furniture that has deep wood grains, melting the wax will cause it to become further embedded in the wood. This is not ideal as it will be far harder to remove once it is deep inside the wood. To avoid this while utilizing this method, control the heat so the wax is soft, but not fully melted.

3 – How to Remove Candle Wax From Wood Using Vinegar

Scraping wax often leaves remnants stuck to the surface. These are pieces of wax that have bonded with the surface of the wood (often the varnish). Vinegar is acidic, and can be used to collect the remnants of the wax by breaking its bond with the surface. You can use this method in conjunction with the ice cube method or heat method listed above.

Please Note: Vinegar may do more than just remove candle wax – it can strip the furniture wax or varnish from the furniture. In order to avoid or minimize this, when removing candle wax, just add a small drop of vinegar to a clean dry cloth and apply it carefully to the affected area only. If you use too much vinegar on the cloth, you risk damaging the finish even further.

4 – How to Remove Candle Wax From Wood Using Mineral Spirits

Some users have reported success using mineral spirits (white spirit for you UK folks) to help remove the stain that wax can leave. To remove the residue of candle wax from wood, first use one of the other methods to get most of the wax off then apply a small amount of the spirits using a clean cloth or very fine steel wool to the affected area.

Please Note: If your piece of furniture has a varnish or another finish, this will likely remove it along with the wax. White spirit is an irritant and should be handled carefully, if it gets onto your skin it will cause a mild reaction such as drying or cracking. Leave it on your skin longer and it can cause redness, burns, and even blistering. So be careful, apply only a small amount to a clean cloth and wipe the area carefully.

Does White Spirit Remove Wax From Wood?

Yes, white spirit (or mineral spirits) does remove wax from wood. However, it removes everything else too. White spirit is a strong solvent that will remove and vanish or staining that your wood has on it. Be careful when using white spirit on wood, as it will strip the wood of its coating.

How To Remove Wax From Wood Floors?

Wood floors can be treated the same as wooden furniture. To remove candle wax from wooden floors requires the same tactics. Try freezing it off first. If that fails then try the other methods. Wood flooring is more often treated with more resistant varnishes, so candle wax may not be as damaging.

How To Remove Wax From Hair?

Petroleum jelly shampoo can be used to remove wax from hair. The shampoo will dissolve the wax than can then be washed away down the plughole.

Final Word

In many cases, the methods above can help you get candle wax out of your wood and make it look as good as new. If, however, you are considering purchasing a new piece of furniture we recommend you check out this great guide we’ve written about sustainable and eco-friendly furniture companies. 

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James Evans

James is a copywriter based in the UK. He writes on sustainability, finance, tech, and anything else that interests him. He likes tea.

Green Home

How Soon After Carpet Cleaning Can You Put Furniture Back?

Moving furniture too soon after carpet cleaning can risk water damage. Learn how long you should wait in this article.

Carpet Cleaning Featured

Removing furniture before cleaning your carpets ensures that your carpets can be cleaned quickly, easily, and thoroughly. Of course, this is hardly convenient, and you’ll want to put that furniture back as soon as possible. However, if you put it back too soon you can risk water damage to your furniture, rusting of metal parts, and make the denting on your carpet worse.

How Long After Carpet Cleaning to Put Furniture Back?

You should not move furniture back after carpet cleaning until your carpet is completely dry. The typical rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours, but the length of time may vary depending upon the thickness of your carpet, the method used to clean it, and environmental factors. Some carpets may be dry in as little as 6-10 hours.

The method used to clean your carpet – hot water extraction, steam cleaning, dry cleaning – may have a significant impact on the dry time; the more water is added to your carpet, the longer the time to dry. For this reason, you may wish to use dry cleaning methods if it is important that you are able to quickly walk on your carpet.

You may be able to reduce the dry time and get furniture back on your carpet quicker by using dehumidifiers or fans in the room that has had professional carpet cleaning. Both these methods reduce the time to dry wet carpet dry quicker (humidifiers reduce humidity, fans increase air flow which aids evaporation).

Failure to adhere to these guidelines can lead to damage to your furniture legs. The dampness can damage wood parts and cause metal parts to rust, leading to further rust stains on your carpet and wood stains on your furniture.

How to Protect Furniture From a Wet Carpet

If you really must move furniture back into your room quickly after a professional carpet cleaning, you can do so by putting something underneath the furniture so that it is not in direct contact with the carpet.

Waterproof protectors are available on Amazon and in home stores, but you can just as easily make do with pieces of polystyrene or something similar. Putting something on top of the carpet may increase drying time for that part of the carpet.

p.s. Need some new furniture to go with your clean carpets? Check out our sustainable furniture guide for some ideas.

How Long After Carpet Cleaning Can You Walk On The Carpet?

If your carpet has just been professionally cleaned it is best to walk across it as few times as possible before it has dried (up to 24 hours). At a minimum, you should wait at least 30 minutes before walking across the carpet after it has been cleaned, and then only with clean white socks so that colors do not transfer to the carpet.

Walking on carpet before it is completely dry can lead to dirt and odors entering deeply into the carpet fibers, which will reverse the work done while cleaning it and make it harder to clean the next time.

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James Evans

James is a copywriter based in the UK. He writes on sustainability, finance, tech, and anything else that interests him. He likes tea.

Green Home

How to Remove Mildew On Wood Furniture

Learn how to remove mold and mildew using regular household cleaning items.

Remove Mildew On Wood Furniture Featured

Our homes are filled with wood furniture. From desks to beds, chairs to bookshelves, we’ve been using wood to furnish the home for over 10,000 years.

Unfortunately, wood furniture is highly susceptible to mold and and mildew, particularly if it’s been left in humid or damp conditions for too long. Whether you’ve been living in a house with mold problems or have purchased an antique beauty that has grown mold spores, you’ll want to get rid of the mold as soon as possible.

With a few simple solutions, many of them easily found in regular household items, you’ll be able to remove mold from wood furniture and soon have your items looking as good as new.

How to Remove Mold and Mildew From Wood Furniture

The important thing to know before you tackle the problem is what type of mold your wood furniture is growing.

If your furniture is painted, stained or varnished, then there’s a good chance that the mold or mildew is sitting on top of the wood and hasn’t yet penetrated beneath the surface. If that’s the case, then this is great news.

Either way, you shouldn’t take mold spores lightly. These tiny spores are found in the air all around a mold patch and can easily be inhaled, potentially causing a serious health hazard. So, before you tackle your mold problem, get on the safety goggles, air mask and rubber gloves.

Don’t use your nice clothes, as this is dirty work! The last thing you want is stains on your favorite jeans when you’re battling mildew.

Move the furniture to an area with good ventilation not just for your health, but to stop the mold from spreading to other pieces of furniture. If possible, take the furniture outside and tackle it there, as opposed to inside the home.

Removing Surface Mold from Wood Furniture

Wearing gloves, swipe across the mold and see if the wood underneath is still intact. If it is, then it’s likely you only have surface mildew. One way to tackle this is to get a vacuum cleaner, preferably one with a HEPA filter, and remove the mold this way.

Once you’ve done this, remove the vacuum bag outside where there’s plenty of ventilation, put it into a separate plastic bag, tie it up and dispose of it safely.

Once you’ve removed as many of the spores as possible with the vacuum cleaner, the remainder can be cleaned off with a mild solution made from dishwashing detergent mixed with some warm water. By cleaning the wood surfaces with a soft bristled brush or cloth, you should find that the mold spores lift easily.

For molds that have spread for a longer time and have taken hold a little more strongly, then the cleaning process may need to be a little more rigorous and you’ll need to apply white vinegar to the affected area.

By filling a spray bottle with white vinegar you can cover a larger surface area evenly, without concentrating too much one on spot. There’s no need to dilute the vinegar with water, as it will not cause stains on your wood.

Leave the vinegar to kill off the fungus spores on the wood surface over the following hour and once you return, wipe off again with a clean towel. It helps if the towel is slightly damp.

Go over the wood surface again, now with a dry towel, in order to catch any loose spores. Mold is a live fungus that only needs a small amount to be left behind for the whole process to begin all over again.

Removing Deep Mold from your Furniture

If you’ve tried cleaning the mold off using the dishwashing detergent and soft bristled brush approach and it’s either reappeared quickly or seems to be under the wood surface, then you’ll need to make up a stronger cleaning solution or even look at more practical methods to remove the mold.

Those rubber gloves and face mask from earlier are even more vital now! Furniture that has been sitting for long periods of time in conditions with very high moisture levels, for example extreme humidity or after flooding, may have developed black mold.

Black mold, or stachybotrys chartarum, is a toxic type of mold that appears more slimy than the powdery surface mold found in less severe cases. It often makes the furniture smell musty and damp, but don’t get too close for a sniff as you don’t want to inhale any of these potentially toxic spores.

You might think that bleach is the answer but you’d be surprised. Bleach isn’t as likely to remove mold from wood furniture as you might think. Rather than killing the mold or mildew, bleach is more likely to blanche the color of the spores so they’re less easy to spot, but still present and active.

Bleach can also end up leaving a stain on your wooden furniture without affecting mold growth, so no matter what you’ve heard, put down the bottle of bleach and look for something that’ll do a much better job.

A mold removal expert is likely to recommend a borax solution rather than bleach. Borax is a white powder found with other cleaning solutions in your local store. Use one cup of borax in a gallon of hot or very warm water, mix well and apply the solution to the affected area.

Scrub with a coarser scrub brush than the soft bristled brush from earlier. You may need to try a different scrub brush attachment if the first doesn’t work. Once you’ve tackled all the mold, don’t worry about rinsing off the borax solution as you want it to continue working even after you’ve scrubbed the wood.

Leave to air dry, preferably in the sunlight. Mold is like a vampire: it thrives in the dark and hates the sun. The UV rays help to kill mildew and mold so feel free to leave the furniture outside until dark if it’s a dry, sunny day.

What to Do When the Mold Won’t Leave!

If you’ve tried the household detergent and water solution, the vinegar in a spray bottle method, and even the borax solution and you still can’t shift the mold, then it may be in too deep.

Take some sandpaper and gently sand off the mold until you can’t see any more. Start with a finer grain of sandpaper then work up to a coarser sanding if you need to get deeper. Once you’ve finished sanding the affected area, use the vacuum to remove to remove dust, take the bag out, and dispose of it in a sealed plastic bag.

It’s still a good idea to treat the deeper wood with the borax and water solution to snuff out any chance of the mold returning. Air dry in the sun, and only when the furniture is completely dry (this may require several days) should you refinish the wood with sealant or paint to stop the mildew from returning.

If the piece of furniture is already too damaged by the mold and cleaning would make no difference, then consider having the affected area cut out altogether and replaced. If this is an antique piece of wood furniture, you will need to contact an expert restorer to do the job for you.

If all else fails, you may need to replace it. We recommend you check out our sustainable furniture guide, packed full of great eco-friendly furniture manufacturers.

How to Prevent Wood Furniture From Getting Moldy Again

Even if you’re now an expert with your vinegar spray bottle and borax water combination, it doesn’t mean you’ll be rid of mold for good. It’s always better to treat the environment as opposed to dealing with mold and mildew outbreaks.

If your home suffers from damp, take steps to rectify the problem and if you’re a renter, then approach your landlord. All the detergent products in the world are pointless if the environment is making the mildew thrive. Besides, even if your furniture remains unaffected, your health won’t.

Mildew and mold are notorious for exacerbating lung conditions and causing chronic illnesses, which is all the more reason to get on top of the issue as soon as possible.

Use air conditioning and de-humidifiers to reduce moisture in the air so that you’re not allowing any mildew to take hold. If one piece of wood furniture is affected by mold, move it away from the others so as not to cross-contaminate, and deal with it effectively.

Always clean affected wood furniture outside of the home and once you’re done, throw away all of the materials you’ve used, including any cloth, brush, air mask or glove in a sealed plastic bag.


There’s no reason to give up on a piece of furniture just because it’s suffering with a mildew issue. As long as you follow the steps above, use the right cleaning products for the right surfaces, and take active environmental measures to stop it recurring, you can conquer this problem for good.

Green Home

How to Clean Non-Removable Couch Cushions

Learn how to clean and remove stains from those tricky non-removable couch cushions.

How to Clean Non Removable Couch Cushions

When we choose a new sofa, we usually look for two things: how it looks, and how comfortable the cushions are. We don’t often worry about whether the cushion covers are removable… until they need cleaning!

So, if you and your cushion covers are in a bit of a sticky spot, don’t worry, as these cushion cleaning tips have you covered.

Cleaning Non-Removable Cushion Covers

You’re not likely to find leather sofas with non removable cushion covers, so this article is looking primarily at fabric and upholstery couches and their non removable cushions. If you have a leather sofa that needs cleaning, we recommend you check out our comprehensive coach cleaning guide.

Let’s get started:

Step 1: Vacuuming your Cushion Covers

First, your couch cushions will immediately look better after a light vacuuming. Find the upholstery attachment (it’ll have a soft brush) and go over the couch to remove surface dirt, dust, hair, pet hair and general debris from your sofa cushions.

Some vacuum cleaners may be without an upholstery brush attachment. If that’s the case, be careful when using the vacuum on your cushions and use a low power setting so as not to mark or tear the fabric in the process.

Step 2: Give Your Cushion Covers a Good Beating!

Even if the cushion cover is not removable, the cushions themselves may be. If you can, remove them and give them a good beating outside – this is a great way to remove dust and debris. Then, you can tackle any stain you may find. Skip this step if your cushions cannot be removed from your couch at all

Step 3: Check Your Cushion’s Label

Because there are so many different types of fabric, you should always consult the care label on your couch. It is usually found under one of the cushions or at the back of the couch itself. This will tell you how to clean the cushions.

Check if you can use water based products on your cushions, or whether you’re restricted to a dry cleaning solvent stain remover before tackling any stain on your chair. Always test a cleaning product on a small non-visible area of your couch or cushion before using it somewhere it might be seen.

Step 4a: Cleaning Non-Removable Cushions With Water-Based Cleaning Products

If your care tag shows either a W or an S/W, then you can use water-based products. When tackling stains and marks, first try a solution of dish soap and warm water on a paper towel or sponge. Dab the stain on your cushion cover and don’t scrub – scrubbing can push the stain deeper into the cushion stuffing.

If the soap and water concoction doesn’t work, then it’s time to give the couch cushion a more thorough cleaning with some more active cleaning products. That doesn’t mean you have to rush down to your local hardware stores just yet, though.

A solution of warm water and baking soda can work wonders when applied to stains and is particularly effective when it comes to grease. Allow the active agents in the soda to lift the grease and then dab the affected area of the cushion cover with a cloth.

Similarly, a solution of equal parts vinegar and water applied with a cloth can take out plenty of stains without damaging the fabric of your cushions. If you’re not sure whether the material will discolor, try first on a piece of fabric from a hidden area of the sofa, such as the back, before you try it on the stain itself.

Step 4b: Cleaning Cushions With Solvent-Based Cleaning Products

There are some fabrics that will carry an S on their care tag, and this means that no water whatsoever should come near the fabrics. In this case, use a recommended solvent-based cleaner to tackle stains but always ventilate the room first.

You can use a little ingenuity to make this easier by grabbing an air compressor from your office (if they have one) or borrowing one from a friend. Apply the solvent-based cleaner or foam to your non removable cushion cover, and once it’s done its job, blast it away with the air compressor. No more stain, but no water comes into contact with the cushion cover.

Step 5: Using Steam to Clean Non-Removable Couch Cushions

Even couches that shouldn’t have water in liquid form can benefit from another form: steam. Steam cleaning is a highly effective way of cleaning sofa cushions. The steam itself can work wonders, but you may also be able to add either soap or a specially designed cleaning product to the steam cleaner to really give your non removable couch cushion covers a deep clean.

The heat from the steam draws out dirt and and stains that the vacuum cleaner may have found too stubborn. Steam cleaning also destroys bacteria and removes unpleasant smells on your cushions from pet hair, older fabric and spills that have been dry for a while.

While a steam cleaner is a great investment for many areas of the house, it doesn’t mean you have to buy one. Instead, check local hardware shops and other local businesses who rent out steam cleaners for these kinds of jobs.

Step 6: Dry Your Cushions in the Sun

If you have someone to help you, take the couch or the cushions outside to dry in the sunshine. This is a particularly good tip for when your cushions have been damp and have developed mold in some areas, as the UV rays from the sun kill mold cells.

How to Clean Tough Stains on Non-Removable Couch Cushions

If the above steps don’t help, you may need to investigate a solution for the specific stain that is on your cushion. There’s a solution for most problems: Ice cubes can be used to freeze chewing gum, so that you can then just pick it off. Rubbing alcohol applied to your sofa cushions with a clean cloth can lift ink stains. An enzyme cleaner removes blood, vomit, urine and other unpleasant liquids.

When to Call the Professionals

If you’ve tried all the above cleaning tips for your chair cushions and nothing’s worked, it’s okay to admit defeat! Call a professional chair or couch cleaning company in your area who specialize in cushions and who will have all the quality cleaning items and the experience to tackle any stain.


Non-removable cushion covers don’t have to be such a headache! Following the tips above, you can clean almost any issue with your couch cushions. Once you’ve cleaned your couch or chair cushion, keep it in good conditions with a regular going-over with the vacuum cleaner. This will save you a lot of bother and help you keep your sofa cushions looking and smelling fresh.

Green Home

How to Remove Wrinkles From a Leather Couch

Learn how to remove wrinkles from your wrinkly leather couch

How To Remove Wrinkles From Leather Featured

Incredibly hard-wearing and a real sign of luxury, leather is still being used for all manner of items, from clothes to furniture. But because it’s a natural product, it doesn’t always behave the way we’d like it to. In particular, leather couches and other items can wrinkle and crease with use.

But should you settle for a wrinkly leather couch? No! Thankfully, if your leather sofa is showing wrinkles and creases, there are ways to remove them. Read on to find out more.

(p.s., more than just wrinkles on your couch? Check out our comprehensive guide to couch cleaning!)

How to Remove Wrinkles and Creases From Your Leather Couch

Getting the wrinkles out of leather is important, and not just aesthetically. Over time, the wrinkles and creases can widen and become cracks, eventually causing significant damage to your settee.

That doesn’t mean that all creases have to come out. Some creases are natural, but if your sofa has developed wrinkles post-purchase you should consider treating them. Thankfully, the main item you need to help you is heat. Too much heat, of course, can damage your leather, so use these tips carefully, and don’t let your couch get too hot.

How to Use a Blow Dryer To Remove Wrinkles From Your Leather Couch

A blow dryer won’t get as hot as an iron but it will still heat up your leather enough to remove smaller, shallower wrinkles and creases. Turn the blow dryer onto the maximum heat setting and hold it eight to ten inches away from the leather wrinkles.

Every few seconds, smooth one of your hands over the leather to encourage wrinkles out of leather and repeat the process until the wrinkles have disappeared. If the blow dryer method doesn’t work, try something hotter.

Using a Heat Gun to Get Wrinkles Out of Leather

Getting wrinkles out of leather couches might not work with a hair dryer, so you might want to now try a heat gun. Heat guns look like blow dryers but you certainly wouldn’t want to dry your hair with one. Because heat guns get so hot you must be careful not to get your leather too hot.

First, apply a leather conditioner to the leather furniture to avoid it cracking. Leave this to soak in for an hour. Then, plug in the gun and put on the lowest setting.

Wave the gun over the wrinkled piece of leather furniture, getting no closer than 7 inches to it. Don’t let any one piece get too hot, and continually wipe the leather with a washcloth dampened with water.

You may create a light steam but don’t worry. Steam from a steam cleaner is too intense for leather furniture but a small amount from the heat gun won’t damage the leather. Continue the process

Removing Wrinkles in a Leather Couch with an Iron

If the wrinkles are too deep for the blow dryer or heat gun, it’s time to introduce the iron. But before you plug in your iron and take it to your leather seats with abandon, wait!

First, remove any water from inside the iron and then set it to its lowest temperature setting. Then, place a brown paper bag or sheet of material or cloth over the crease and slowly but steadily move the iron over the creased or wrinkled area.

You don’t want to let the iron heat any one area too much so keep it moving. Remove the paper bag or cloth and check the depth of the wrinkles. If they’re still there, first let the leather cool down and then iron again in the same way as earlier.

Repeat the process as many times as necessary to get the wrinkles out of your leather couch. You may never get a completely smooth surface but you’ll have removed plenty of the wrinkling using this method. Once again: never forget the paper bag or cloth on top of the couch first!

At this point, apply a leather cream or conditioner because an iron can quickly dry out your leather and cause a different kind of damage, so don’t undo all the good you’ve just done.

Should You Use a Steamer on Your Leather Couch? (No)

Using steam to get wrinkles out of a leather jacket, leather skirt, leather purse or even curtains can work by allowing the weight of the leather materials to straighten the wrinkle with the help of the steam. You can’t use a steamer on these items but you can use steam from a hot shower. The same cannot be said of a leather sofa.

To be clear, you should not take a steamer to a leather sofa. One of the reasons you place a paper bag over the leather before you put the iron over it and empty the water reservoir is to reduce the amount of steam that gets near the leather.

How to Remove an Indentation From a Leather Couch or Seat

Sitting in one particular part of the couch will cause indentations over time. That’s why it’s a good idea to turn over the leather seat cushions if they’re removable, to equal out the wear. But if you have an indentation, you can fix it.

First, check that there’s no damage to the seat cushion core. If that’s what’s causing the indentation or sagging, no amount of leather treatment will restore the shape. If you’re happy it’s a leather indentation, then first try the ironing technique.

Like before, run the iron over the affected surface, making sure to put down a brown paper bag or cotton cloth first. When it heats up, move it around, stretching it out gently all over the leather until you’ve restored the shape.

Getting indentations out of leather furniture takes more time than it would getting wrinkles out, but the same methods still apply. If the wrinkle or indentation has caused a crack in the furniture, you can even repair this yourself with a leather repair kit, or if it’s beyond your own expertise, contact a leather furniture professional who will help you restore the material.

Look After Your Leather

In the same way you look after a leather jacket or favorite pair of smart leather shoes, you should also take the time to look after your leather couch. Clean up spills of water and other liquids as soon as they happen, and act before wrinkles get too deep.

Use a leather conditioner every few months, rubbing in the cream to keep it supple and avoid wrinkles and cracks. Prevention is always better than cure, and looking after your leather before the wrinkles appear should always be your aim.

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James Evans

James is a copywriter based in the UK. He writes on sustainability, finance, tech, and anything else that interests him. He likes tea.

Green Home

How to Apply Polyurethane to Your Table

Learn how to add polyurethane to your table to protect it from damage, increase its resiliency, and make it more beautiful.

Applying Polyurethane to Table

Editors note: we are currently assessing whether this article meets our sustainability standards – stay tuned for an update!

Your table sees more than its fair share of action during the day. It’s at the center of your home, and it’s no surprise that it gets its shares of dings and scrapes during every day use. But if shabby-chic isn’t your style, a dinged up piece of furniture may not suit your home.

Applying coats of polyurethane to your dining room or kitchen table will protect it from damage and make it more beautiful. A polyurethane finish provides long-lasting durability and resiliency and keeps your table looking new and fresh even as it gets older. Applying polyurethane is a great way to refresh an old table and give it a new lease of life.

This is a project that even a novice DIYer can take on and find success. By protecting your table you’ll reduce waste by ensuring it lasts longer before you need to purchase a new one. Read on for everything you need to know about applying polyurethane to your table and breathing new life into the centerpiece of your room.

Oil vs. Water-Based Polyurethane

The first decision you’ll have to make when it comes to using polyurethane on a dining room table is whether you’re going to go with an oil-based polyurethane or a water-based polyurethane.

Water-based polyurethane provides tremendous protection with a rockhard, durable finish that is almost crystal clear. It dries quicker but is more expensive.

Oil-based polyurethane gives even more protection but with a slightly milkier finish (it has 45-50% “poly solids” which help create the tough surface). It is cheaper and requires less maintenance because it is tougher.

Most DIYers use an oil-based polyurethane to finish their table. Not only is it cheaper, but the harder finish means you’ll need to do a lot less maintenance on it over the years and your kitchen table will be better protected. If achieving the clearest possible finish is important, then water-based polyurethane is still a good (but more expensive) choice.

Whichever option you choose, the methods and tips for applying that follow will still apply, although you will need to leave longer between coats if you are using an oil-based product.

How to Apply Polyurethane to a Dining Room or Kitchen Table

The overall process for applying poly to a table top is pretty simple and straightforward.

You will need:

  • Sandpaper (you’ll need both rough and fine sandpaper grits)
  • Mineral spirits (that’s white spirit for UK folks)
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Wood filler (for repairing damage)
  • Your choice of oil-based or water-based polyurethane
  • Foam brush (leaves fewer marks than a bristle brush) or a spray gun if you have one

Step 1: Prepare and Repair Your Table

Before you apply polyurethane you will need to prepare the surface of the table by cleaning and sanding it. Begin with a rough grit sandpaper, working your way up to finer sandpaper while sanding in circular motions until you get the tabletop surface as smooth as humanly possible.

If you have to repair any imperfections on the table surface now is the time to do it. Work some wood filler into the scratches or dings (being careful to match the wood species itself) and then sand that away after allowing it to dry, too.

Then you’re going to want to put some mineral spirits onto a microfiber cloth and wipe down the entire table surface, picking up all the dust that would have been left behind – dust that would have caused all kinds of imperfections in the poly finish. Let this dry before you apply polyurethane.

Step 2: Apply Your First Coat of Polyurethane

Table prepared? It’s time to start applying the first coat of polyurethane to the kitchen (or other) table. Your initial coat should be a very light, and it’s best if you can spray the finish directly onto the surface – avoiding all brushstrokes completely.

If that’s not possible, invest in a high quality foam brush. Foam brush tools aren’t going to leave behind the kinds of brushstrokes that can be permanent, even if you go for two coats (or three coats) later down the line.

Remember: You want each individual coat to be thin, to have plenty of time to dry and stabilize, and to minimize brush marks as much as possible.

Step 3: Allow the Polyurethane to Dry Completely

If you do not allow the polyurethane time to dry before applying additional coats you will end up with the top and final layer hard, but the layers underneath will still be soft. This will result in a finish that can be easily dented and will not protect your dining room or kitchen table.

Always use as thin a layer as possible and leave plenty of time to dry (check the instructions on the can for the minimum time for your choice of polyurethane – probably 24- 48 hours).

Step 4: Add Additional Coats of Polyurethane

Once the initial coat has dried completely (check your instructions, probably 24-48 hours for oil-based) you’ll want to add additional coats. You’ll get better protection and finish by having many coats of polyurethane rather than one thick one.

First though, you should prepare the surface with some light sanding. You always need to sand before adding an additional coat, not just if the layer is too thick or has small bubbles in. By giving the polyurethane a quick go-over with sandpaper (say, 300 grit) you’ll help the next layer stick to it. When sanding between layers, go with the grain.

Always vacuum or wipe with a lint-free cloth to remove dust before moving to the next step.

Step 5: Finish the Polyurethane-Coated Table With Sanding and/or Wax

Use a fine sandpaper (1,500 grit) to get off any small imperfections or bubbles on the final coat. After allowing the polyurethane time to cure (up to a month), you might want to add wax on the top. This doesn’t add much in the way of protection (the polyurethane is tough enough as it is) but some prefer the look.

How Many Coats of Polyurethane on a Kitchen Table?

A kitchen table should have at least three coats of polyurethane and can benefit from more. Many coats of polyurethane (thin layers) will provide better protection and help your kitchen table to last longer. Some guides recommend a minimum of two coats, but this is unlikely to be enough for an item that gets so much use.

Should You Use a Spray or Brush for Applying Polyurethane?

You should apply polyurethane to your kitchen table using a spray if possible. This is the only way to guarantee that brush strokes never show up in each individual coat of polyurethane (permanently shining through each individual layer). Spraying your finish on to your kitchen table will result in a better result than if you used a brush.

Polyurethane Application Tips

  • If you apply polyurethane over a table with a paint finish it may cause the paint to yellow and you may want to consider other types of finishes instead.
  • When spraying, make sure that you are aware of the width of the spray pattern and tried to “bleed back” into at least half of each coat as you move across the table.
  • Look for wet and glossy consistencies across the entirety of the surface when spraying. If you see any spots that look cloudy or milky, it’s time to go back over them with another jet of finish.
  • When spraying be sure that you are doing so in a well ventilated area; the VOCs put out by this kind of finish can be devastating to your health and wellness. For best protection, always wear a mask that can filter out VOCs.
  • If brushing, make sure that you use a foam brush tool and not the natural bristle options most people use for painting. Bristly brushes may leave visible brush strokes on your kitchen table.
  • Really take your time, especially if you’re using water based finishes as they can leave a streaky finish.
  • Whatever you do, recognize right away that you’re going to have to apply multiple layers and coatings of finish to get the results you’re after. Don’t be impatient.


At the end of the day, the beautiful thing about polyurethanes (when applied correctly, anyway) is that they offer a fantastic protective layer to your furniture in a way that things like shellac, urethane, and traditional paint and stain simply can’t.

Just be sure that you are following the “rules” and best practices of how to apply these coatings (especially when it comes to the first few coats and the final coat) and you’ll end up with a wood finish you will love and depend on for years to come!

Green Home

How to Measure a Table For a Tablecloth or Skirting

Learn how to measure a round, square, rectangular, or oval table for the perfect size tablecloth or length of skirting. Includes easy formulas + examples.

How To Measure A Tablecloth Featured

There are some skills that we never realize we need until the time comes! And measuring a table in order to get the correct dimensions for the perfect tablecloth is one such skill.

Whether you’re looking for the right size table linens off the shelf, or you’re a little more creative and are looking to make your own, there’s a real skill to getting the dimensions right so that your tablecloth looks perfect.

Now, some of this will look like math…. but don’t worry, it’s easy math. All you need is measuring tape, a little basic addition, and this article to help you get the measurements right for any tablecloth size (or skirting) – regardless of whether your table is square, a rectangle, an oval, or a circle. So, whatever size or shape of table you’re looking to cover, check out the following guide.

(p.s. in the market for a new table? Check out our guide to beautiful eco-friendly tables – good for your kitchen and the planet!)

Need to Know: Overhang and Drop Length

Very rarely will you find a tablecloth that fits exactly on top of the table with no overhang. If you’re measuring for a felt table top protector, then that’s a different story, but for tablecloths and skirting, you’ll want the fabric to hang over the edge.

The distance the tablecloth comes down from the top is called the drop length. You may not know this, but there are different levels of formality associated with the length of the overhang drop. The longer the overhang, the more formal the event or placement in the room.

So, how much should your tablecloth overhang?

For a table that’s been designated for everyday use, a drop length of eight inches is recommended. However, for a formal event such as a wedding or dinner party, a drop length of up to fifteen inches makes a fabulously dramatic statement on a dining table.

How to Measure a Round Table for Tablecloths and Skirting


If you have a standard table size, measuring for a table cloth is easy. Assuming you want an 8″ drop on all sides, 48″ diameter round table will require a 64″ diameter table cloth. A 60″ diameter round table will need a 76″ diameter tablecloth and a 72″ will need am 88″ tablecloth.

If you need a custom size, or want to vary the drop length, the calculations are straightforward. First, take your tape measure and measure the diameter of the table (the diameter is the distance from one side of the table to the other, going through the center).

To calculate the tablecloth size, take your diameter and add it to two times the desired drop length. We double the drop length because we want it to drop on both sides of the table. For example, if our round tables measured 50″ and we wanted an 8″ overhang, we’d need a 66″ round tablecloth (50″ + 8″ + 8″ = 66″).

If you’re making it yourself, don’t forget to add an extra inch (times two!) of overhang fabric for turning up the edges all the way round. So that’ll be 68 inches in total.


Both skirting and tables come in standard sizes. For a 48″diamater round table, you’ll need 13′ or 14′ skirting. For a 60″, you’ll need 17′ skirting, and for a 72″, you’ll need 21′ skirting.

If you’re making your own skirting for a table top that isn’t one of the standard sizes shown above, you’ll need to this is useful to know if you’re measuring up for skirting. The circumference of the table is the number of inches all the way around the table. You’ll need at least that length of skirting plus about an extra foot to give you some slack (more with large tables).

How to Measure a Square Table for a Tablecloth or Skirting


To measure a square table for a tablecloth For a square table you’re going to want to take the table measurements of the length and width of the table and add double the desired overhand. This will give you the length/width of the tablecloth. For a square, the length and width of the table and tablecloth will be the same.

For example, a table with the measurements of 75 inches by 75 inches, plus a desired drop of 8 inches all the way around, will want a 91″ x 91″ size tablecloth (75″ + 8″ + 8″ = 91″).

If you are buying a square tablecloth you may not find the exact size. An inch difference will not be noticeable. If you’re making it yourself, don’t forget to add an extra inch (times two!) of overhang fabric for turning up the edges all the way round.


To measure a square table for skirting you will need to measure from one edge of the table to the other and then multiply this by 4 to get the circumference. If you are only covering 3 sides of the table, you’ll multiple by 3 instead. For example, table dimensions of 48″ x 48″, would result in 192″ or 16′ of skirting required (48″ * 4) for all four sides.

How to Get The Right Size Tablecloth or Skirting for an Oval Table


Measure an oval table for tablecloth by treating it like a rectangle table. Measure the width and length at the widest points (going through the center) and add double the drop height to each measurement. For example, an oval table that is 50″ long and 30 inches wide at its widest points with a drop of 15″ will need a tablecloth measuring 80″ x 60″ (50″ + 15″ + 15″ x 30″ + 15″ + 15″).

Because of the shape of the oval table the drop will not be even around every side.


To measure an oval table for skirting you will need its circumference. If you do not know this, wrap string or something else round the table. mark where it overlaps, and then take it off and measure with a tape measure. You will need this length at a minimum for the skirting to go all the way round the oval table.

How to Measure a Tablecloth or Skirting For a Rectangular Table


To measure for a rectangle tablecloth you’ll need to measure both the table length and width separately and add double the desired drop for each. For example, a banquet table of length 50″ and width 30″ and a 15″ tablecloth drop would need a tablecloth of 80″ x 60″ (50″ + 15″ + 15″ x 30″ + 15″ + 15″).

It is not always possible to get a uniform drop on every side unless you are making it to fit. Also, remember that some tables are extendable. In this case, you’ll want two sizes: one for when the table is closed, and another for when it’s open. If you’re making it yourself, don’t forget to account for extra fabric for turning up.


To measure a rectangular table for skirting you will need to measure along each side you want skirting and add the values together. If a table is 60″ long and 30″ wide, and you want skirting all the way round, you will need 180″ of skirting, or 15′ (60″ + 60″ + 30″ + 30″ = 180″).

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James Evans

James is a copywriter based in the UK. He writes on sustainability, finance, tech, and anything else that interests him. He likes tea.

Green Home

How to Remove Black Stains From Hardwood Floors

Learn how to remove black stains from your beautiful hardwood floor

Remove Black Stains On Hardwood Floors Featured

Black stains on hardwood floors can ruin the appearance of an otherwise beautiful hardwood floor. How can you remove these stains from your flooring, and which is the best way to go? Let’s find out.

To remove the black stain on your floor, you can use hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or baking soda. If the stain is particularly tough and you cannot get it clean, you may need to have the floor sanded, but that should be a last resort.

What Causes Black Stains on Wood Floors?

Black stains on hardwood floors are often caused by grime and dirt, pet urine, or mold. In the case of grime and dirt, a lack of regular maintenance can contribute to the severity of the stain by allowing dust and dirt to buildup on your floor and give mold an opportunity to grow undisturbed. In most cases, the longer you leave the stain, the harder it will be to clean.

  1. Grime, dust and dirt – Left to accumulate, everyday dust and dirt can cause dark, stubborn stains that can be tough to get rid of and may damage the entire floor surface and finish of your hardwood floor. If cleaned regularly, these should wipe off easily.
  2. Pets – Pet urine can cause large dark stains on wood flooring if they are not cleaned in time. Try to clean pet urine up quickly and train your pets to ensure this doesn’t happen.
  3. Mold and moisture – A damp house may experience dark water stains on wood. You may also see spots of mold growing in these dark and damp corners. Mop up excess moisture and water and consider taking steps to decrease the humidity in your home.
  4. Other Stains – Other causes of dark stains on your hardwood floor include ink spots, coffee stains, blood or food stains.

How Do You Remove Black Stains from Hardwood Floors?

Here are three methods to remove dark stains from wood without sanding (plus a note on how to sand if you need to). Please note that if you have white stains, these methods may be inappropriate. If your wood has a finish on it, then some of these substances may remove that finish.

If you are concerned about damaging your hardwood floor we recommend you consult with a professional first. This can be expensive, but they will be able to help you remove stains and dark water stains without damaging an expensive floor. Proceed at your own risk!

Warning: Wash your hands with water after you finish and follow any safety advice given, especially when handling hydrogen peroxide. We recommend you wear gloves and goggles.

How to Remove Dark Stains on Wood Flooring With Baking Soda

Baking soda, like white vinegar, is a natural substance that you can use to help clean black stains from your wood floor. Mix equal parts of water and baking soda together to create a paste and then rub it over the stain using a circular motion. Wipe away once you are finished.

How to Remove Black Stains From Hardwood Floors With Hydrogen Peroxide

With its antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and its ability to bleach wood, hydrogen peroxide is an effective cleaning solution for all types of stains, including water stains.

You will need:

  1. A bottle of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide
  2. A spray bottle
  3. A lint-free microfiber cleaning cloth
  4. A pair of rubber cleaning gloves

To remove a black stain, spray or dab 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution only on to the areas which are stained. Check back regularly to see if the wood has bleached back to it’s normal color (this may take several hours). Remove excess with a dry cloth.

A word of warning: the bleaching effect could make your wood lighter than you want if you are not careful, particularly if you get it on unstained wood. If you bleach the wood too much, you will need to sand it and then refinish it. Always use safety precautions when you use hydrogen peroxide to remove the stain.

To get rid of larger, darker marks, you can leave a hydrogen peroxide-soaked towel over the area for a few hours and then remove it and allow the wood surface or wood floor to dry.

How to Remove Black Stains From Hardwood Floors With Vinegar

Using white vinegar is a popular method used for removing common stains – including pet urine, dirt and grime, and dark water marks – from your hardwood floor. Naturally acidic, the vinegar will lighten and remove black stains. This method uses the same white vinegar you can buy in any local store:

Mix a white vinegar and water solution (1:1) and then apply to the stain. You can either leave it on there or scrub with a cloth. Like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar is a bleaching agent, so check back regularly and do not leave for too long. you must be careful with how much you use.

Warning: the bleaching effect of vinegar could damage your floor. We’d recommend you use the baking soda method (above).

How to Remove Stains on Wood Floors By Sanding

Sanding does remove marks, but it is a lengthy process. First, apply masking tape to protect unstained wood around the stain. Next, use fine grit sandpaper or fine steel wool to sand the stain. You may need to follow this up with a bleaching solution like hydrogen peroxide. If you have bleached the stain, you may then need to stain the wood to match the rest of the floor.

How to Protect Hardwood Flooring Against Black Stains

Keep in mind that it is easier to remove a stain before it has time to permeate and seep into the wood. Prevention is always better than cure. If you have a new wood floor, or have recently removed marks from your flooring, now is the time to take steps to keep it stain-free.

We recommend you:

  1. Protect Your Floor – Waxes and other finishes can help protect your wood floor from both dark stains and white marks. Consult a professional if you are unsure which finish is best for your particular wood. Investment now can give your wood floor many more years of life.
  2. Clean Regularly – Regular cleaning can help stop dirt and grime from building up. Try to avoid using water to clean hardwood floors, since this can create marks and instead only use a cleaning product that is designed for your type of floor.
  3. Clean Spilled Water Immediately – Your wood floor will absorb any water left sitting on it. Always clean these spills immediately to prevent marks.
  4. Use Rugs Strategically – If you have an area where water is frequently spilled, consider using a rug. The rug will soak up the water and help protect the floor. However, a damp rug could still lead to black stains.
  5. Train Pets – Pet urine not only smells bad, but can cause bad stains on your floor. Train your pets so you don’t have to worry about this!
  6. Watch out with Indoor Plants – Many plant pots allow water out the bottom. If you have plant pots sitting on your floor it could be creating dark marks underneath it. Always use a pot saucer for it.
  7. Keep Humidity in Check – The more humid your house is, the more likely you’ll get spots of damp appearing. When your floor gets damp, you start to get staining. You may need ventilation or a dehumidifier to solve the problem.

Will Hydrogen Peroxide Damage My Hardwood Floor?

It can have a bleaching effect which aids stain removal. If left on too long, or a solution that is too strong is used, it could bleach the wood too much. We recommend you use it carefully and test on a small area first.

Can You Use Mineral Spirits to Clean Hardwood Flooring?

Mineral spirits can be used to clean white marks on hardwood floors. To do this, add some mineral spirits to a very fine steel wool and then rub gently. We have not of them being used for dark stains.