How to Remove Odors From Hardwood

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Things You'll Need

  • Broom and dustpan

  • Vacuum

  • White vinegar

  • Pail

  • Mop

  • Rags

  • 3-percent hydrogen peroxide

  • Spray bottle

  • Bleach

Odors in hardwood floors can often be removed with inexpensive cleaning products.

Properly maintained hardwood floors add an attractive and natural element to a home's decor. If a hardwood floor begins to emit odors, however, they could lead to trouble. In severe cases, the entire floor may have to be replaced, which is expensive. Among the reasons hardwood floors smell are pet stains, water damage or high humidity in a room. Fortunately, a mildewy or musty odor often can be removed from a floor with standard cleaning products.


Step 1

Sweep up any visible dirt and debris on the hardwood floor with a broom and dustpan. Vacuum the floor to remove any particles the broom missed.

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Step 2

Add 1 cup white vinegar and 1 gallon of hot water to a pail. Mop the hardwood floor with the solution, then mop again with water. Dry the floor with rags as quickly as possibly, as standing water left on the floor can damage the wood.

Step 3

Fill a spray bottle with 3-percent hydrogen peroxide and apply to areas that still have an odor. Allow the hydrogen peroxide to sit for five minutes. Mop the areas with water and dry with rags.

Step 4

Smell the hardwood floor to see if odors remain. Mix 1 part bleach for every 10 parts warm water in the pail if they do. Test the solution on an inconspicuous area of the floor to see if it changes the color of the wood. Mop the entire floor with the bleach solution if it did not have any adverse effect on the wood. Rinse the floor with clean water. Dry with rags.

Step 5

Open all the windows in the room and allow it to completely air out.


Removing odors from hardwood floors is more difficult when the floor is unfinished. Sand the floor and seal the odor into the wood with paint or varnish if all else fails.


A hardwood floor cleaned with the bleach solution might require refinishing.


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