How to Get Battery Acid Out of Hard Wood

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Wood floors are beautiful additions to any room in a home. One of the worst things that can happen to a wood floor is damage from a battery acid spill. This eats through the protective finish and damages the wood fibers beneath. The acid weakens as it damages the wood, so often after sanding, it is possible to get to good quality wood beneath the stain. In most cases, the damaged area is completely removed or only slightly noticeable.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Small bucket
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Glass or ceramic bowl
  • Oxalic acid
  • Tablespoon
  • Wood finish
  • Wipe up fresh acid on a wood floor quickly. Use a sponge dipped in a small bucket filled with warm, soapy solution to cleanse the surface. Dry the floor after wiping it down so there is no standing water.

  • Sand away the finish from the acid affected boards with fine-grit sandpaper. Sand it along the grain of the wood, not in circular movements. For larger areas, consider renting a floor sander.

  • Mix a cleansing solution in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Mix 2 cups of warm water with 2 tbsp. of oxalic acid. Pour some of the solution out on the floor and rub it into the stain with a sponge for 2 minutes. Wipe up any standing liquid and let the damp floor dry overnight.

  • Examine the stain to see if it is still there. Lightly sand the stain again, and treat with the oxalic acid mixture until there is no longer a recognizable stain.

  • Seal the treated floor area with a high quality wood finish to match the rest of the floor. Apply the number of coats recommended by the manufacturer, or until the stained area matches the rest of the floor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sanding the entire floor and finishing it completely reduces the obvious signs of the repair better than just spot-treating the damaged area.
  • Wear a face mask and safety goggles when sanding, and rubber gloves when working with the acid and stain.

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References

  • "Furniture Refinish: Cleaning Wood Furniture & How to Refinish Wood Floors"; Charles Lane; 2010
  • "Complete Flooring"; Stanley; 2008
  • "Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual: Completely Revised and Updated"; Editors of The Family Handyman; 2005
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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