Overzealous watering of plants, or spills that happen every day can cause damage to hardwood floors. Unfortunately, to remove water stains from hardwood floors is not a simple matter of wiping over with a cleaning agent. If you take care with liquids, you will never have to face this problem but accidents do happen and it is almost inevitable that you will have to remove water stains from hardwood floors at least every few years.
The first step in removing water stains from hardwood floors is to take some bare wood of the same species used in the flooring and do some test-matching of different stain colors in order to find the perfect one to use.
If you buy two or three cans of stain that resemble the floor color, you will be able to mix proportionately until you achieve the desired effect. It is important to gauge the appropriateness of the match when the stain is wet as it will more closely resemble the finished look once the polyurethane has been added. Remember only to mix oil-based or water-based stains together.
Once you achieve adequate color matching, you will need to sand the floor with a vibrating sander to remove the stain in the first place. Medium sandpaper is adequate for the first treatment and it can be followed with a finer grade to finish with. This is the most effective way to remove water stains from hardwood floors because the liquid will have penetrated the top surface.
Vacuum all the dust away and then, if an oil-based stain is involved, use a cloth moistened with mineral spirits to wipe over. For latex stains, use a water-moistened cloth. Stain the sanded patch using the stain you determined by conducting the test earlier on the piece of wood.
Do not leave the floor unprotected for any length of time because once you remove water stains from hardwood floors, the wood is vulnerable to further damage until the coating is re-applied.
One of the best preventative measures you can take to prevent having to remove water stains from hardwood floors, is to use plant saucers under pots, remembering of course, to do the same with your natural Christmas tree. Leaving wet towels or clothes lying around is another mistake. Water stains can be avoided if thought is given to the way in which rooms are used.