Does Bleach Damage Hardwood?

Bleach is a great solution to use when you have deep cleaning that needs to get done. Bleach, however, is a harsh chemical that has a tendency to ruin surfaces and materials in which it comes in contact. Bleach can damage hardwood if not used properly.

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Test Hardwood

Find an inconspicuous area of the hardwood. Dab a rag with bleach and rub it into a small patch. Watch the spot for about an hour to see how the hardwood at the site of the patch reacts to the bleach. If the wood shows damage, do not use it on the rest of the hardwood.

Dilute Bleach

If you need to clean hardwood with bleach, dilute it with water. Using 1 part bleach with 1 part water is the purest solution that most cleaning tips call for. The more you think the bleach will damage your hardwood, the more water you need to dilute the bleach.

Rinse and Dry

One of the keys to cleaning hardwood surfaces with any solution is to rinse with clear water and dry it thoroughly. The longer bleach sits on the wood surface, the more it is likely to damage it. Rinsing it well will lessen the chance of damage. Dry the hardwood by blowing a fan onto the wood and opening windows in the room.


If you desperately need to use a lot of bleach on hardwood, refinish the wood if needed. This is important when you are mitigating the effects of flooding on floors. Although the bleach may ruin the finish, the wood will remain intact for the most part. When you are attempting to clean up after a flood, it is best to get advice from a professional.


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