Tips To Help You Clean Up Your Hardwood Flooring After A Water Disaster

Posted on: 10 January 2017

Whether your home's water damage is from flooding, a leaking roof, or a broken water pipe, the clean-up and drying out of your home can consist of the same tasks. When your hardwood flooring is damaged by water, it is important to dry it out before mold can grow. Here are some tips to help you dry out, clean up, and remove mold and water stains from your hardwood flooring after a water disaster occurs in your home.

Dry Out and Clean the Floor

When your hardwood flooring has been flooded, often with a layer of dirt and debris from the flood waters, first, remove the water, then clean up the debris. Use a shop vacuum or a water pump to remove any standing water from the flooring. Use a shovel to scoop up the dirt and debris and dispose of it outside and mop up the floor using a clean, wet mop.

After you get up all the water, mud, and other debris from the floor, immediately mop the floor using a bleach solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. If mold and mildew have not begun to grow on the hardwood flooring, this treatment will prevent any growth. And if mold and mildew have begun to form, it will stop any current mold and mildew growth, giving you time to let the flooring dry out. Mold and mildew can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours in a wet environment.

Turn on fans directed at the flooring to help dry it out, along with space heaters to eliminate moisture from the air. There can be a higher level of humidity in the air after a flood or other water disaster, and you may not want to open your windows, as this can let in outdoor humid air and slow down the drying process. You can also turn on your furnace or home air conditioning to circulate and remove moisture from the air to lower the humidity in your home, which will aid in the drying-out process. 

Remove Water Stains

Often, the surface of your wood flooring can become stained with a white residue after it has become wet. To remove this type of stain, use some toothpaste on a cloth rag and rub over the surface of the wood. Wipe this clean with a wet cloth. 

To remove black water stains from the surface of your floor, you will need to sand the surface of the flooring to remove the wood's protective clear finish. You can use a hand sander, sand paper, or a floor sander for large stains. Mix up a solution from oxalic acid crystals and warm water. Brush it onto the wood's dark water stain and let the solution dry.  

Remove Mold and Mildew

If mold and mildew have begun to grow on the surface of your wood floors, clean it off using a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. If you find that the mold has begun to grow within the pores of the wood flooring, you will need to dry out the wood completely before you can remove the mold from the wood. Then, use a hand sander or a flooring sander to sand off the surface of the wood's finish.

Next, you will need to apply a wood chlorine bleach to the mold stains, allowing it permeate into the fibers of the wood. This bleach removes the color of and kills the mold but does not affect the color of the wood. You can find wood chlorine bleach at most home improvement stores. After you have removed the stain, neutralize the chlorine bleach in the wood with a sodium bicarbonate and water solution. Mix up one cup of baking soda to one gallon of water and wipe this over the bleached area, then rinse the area with clean water and allow it to dry.

Once your wood is cleaned and dry, you can reapply a new wood stain and a protective clear coat to finish and protect its surface.

Use this information to help you clean and restore your wood flooring after a flood or water disaster. Consider hiring a water cleanup service for more help.