How to Remove Salt Stains from a Hardwood Floor

If you live in an area where it snows a lot during the winter, one problem you might run into is road or rock salt stains on your hardwood floor. Salt stains are unsightly and can leave a residue, but that’s not the only problem. Calcium chloride crystals can really damage a hardwood floor finish.

If you notice salt stains, it’s best to take care of them right away. Here’s how to remove salt stains from a hardwood floor (and prevent them from getting there in the first place):

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Preventing salt stains before they happen

One of the best ways to deal with salt stains is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Make sure anyone entering your home or business knocks excessive snow and salt off their shoes or boots. It’s a good idea to place coarse, heavy rugs to the entrance of your home and place a second rug inside the doorway. The rugs will help remove smaller particles of the rock salt and sand from people’s boots. If you can help it, don’t be afraid to ask people to remove their boots before Removing salt stains from a hardwood floorwalking throughout the home.

Even better: If you have a waterproof mat where guests can leave their shoes, you can prevent any salt or water from touching your hardwood floors.

You should also vacuum your floor frequently. This will pick up any loose sand or salt that has made it onto the floor. When you look at sand and salt at a microscopic level it is in the form of small, rough-edged particles. Finished and unfinished hardwood floors alike can be ruined by the abrasion of these particles being stepped on or dragged across the floor.

How to remove salt stains once they happen

If you already have salt stains on your hardwood floors, don’t worry: there are a few options available to you.

First of all, please understand that the old home remedy of mixing water with vinegar is not advisable. It’s never a good idea to expose hardwood floors to excessive moisture. On top of that, vinegar can leave a residue of its own if it is not properly cleaned up.Squeaky Clean

For for the average home or residence, you can use Basic Coatings Squeaky Clean. This product works great for cleaning up the residue from rock salt. It is a simple, easy to use cleaning agent that offers great results because it is made especially for hardwood floors.

In more industrial or commercial settings, Basic Coatings offers a product called IFT (Intensive Floor Treatment). This product is an aggressive cleaner that removes all sorts of stains and other foreign particles that could damage a hardwood floor — all without damaging the finish.

IFT cleaner

When using both IFT and Squeaky Clean, it is important to make sure the mop or other applicator is clean so it is not doing more damage than good.

Dirt DragonIf you manage a large facility and you need something more than just a mop for application, Basic Coatings also offers a machine called the Dirt Dragon. The Dirt Dragon is a powerful machine specifically designed to clean a hardwood floor without damaging the finish. It has a built in-vacuum that sucks all excess water immediately to prevent water damage to the floor.

Steer clear of salt stains this winter

Keeping your hardwood floors free of salt stains and other damage during the winter isn’t that hard. Just remember these three key points:

1) Remove excessive salt. Knock off snow from boots, wipe them on heavy, coarse rugs, and place them in waterproof mats.

2) Vacuum regularly. Calcium chloride and sand particles are micro-abrasives. They are very similar to sandpaper in their structure. These particles can ruin finishes on hardwood floors. Read more about how to properly clean a hardwood floor.

3) Use specially formulated cleaners. Vinegar is not an acceptable cleaner. The best bet for cleaning hardwood floors is to use a specially formulated cleaner for your floor’s finish. Basic Coating’s Squeaky Clean and IFT are all-around great products for cleaning.

If you have any questions about keeping your hardwood floors salt stain-free or about any of the products mentioned in this post, email or call (800) 787-1786.

2 thoughts on “How to Remove Salt Stains from a Hardwood Floor

  1. road salt

    Wonderful sharing. I have read out your many posts, all are wonderful. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us. keep sharing.

  2. Patricia

    Thank you! Too many people now believe that vinegar is the only cleaning product and while we all know it’s great for somethings, it’s not for All instances including hardwood floors! Thanks!


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