How to Use Oxalic Acid on Hardwood Floors


Oxalic acid is used on wood floors for a variety of reasons. After a home has been flooded, oxalic acid is used to remove mildew stains and as part of restoration projects. Homeowners use it to remove ink stains or blemishes, or even to change the color of the wood. Remove any varnish or sealer before applying this treatment, advises the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension website.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves and protective eyewear
  • Oxalic acid, 5 oz.
  • Warm water, 1 gallon
  • Glass or plastic bowl or bucket
  • Clean rags
  • Fine steel wool
  • Don protective eye wear and rubber gloves. Oxalic acid is highly corrosive and toxic.

  • Mix 5 ounces oxalic acid with 1 gallon warm water in a glass or plastic container. Do not use metal containers, because the acid reacts with metal.

  • Dip a rag in the solution and rub the stained area. Wait 2 minutes.

  • Rinse the area with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth. Allow the floor to air dry for 24 hours.

  • Rub the floor lightly with fine steel wool to remove the bleached gray surface. Underneath, the wood will appear lighter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apply the acid in an inconspicuous area first before applying it to the entire floor. To lighten the wood further, leave the acid on the surface for 5 minutes before rinsing.
  • Apply a small amount of water on a clean cloth to rinse the floor. Never pour water directly on a wood floor, because it may warp or swell.

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