As a homeowner, you most likely understand the importance of keeping your home clean and in good condition. From pressure washing the exterior and trimming away overgrown landscaping to replacing leaky faucets, the various tasks to protect your home's value, appeal, and function are overwhelming. Unfortunately, you may not be placing enough time and effort into protecting your hardwood floors. Considering 54 percent of potential buyers will pay an estimated $2080 more for a home with hardwood flooring, proper care of your wood floors is imperative. Of course, accidents do happen, so you or a family member may spill or stain your floors. Using this guide, you can quickly clean up accidental spills before damage occurs to your wood floors.


Painting the rooms or trim of your home is exciting, but it can become a messy situation without proper prepping. While using painter's tape and drop cloths is essential for protection, you may still splatter paint onto your wood floors. If possible, use a damp cloth to wipe away wet paint as soon as it hits the wood. Unfortunately, you may not notice the paint splatters until after it dries. If so, consider the following options:

  • Scrape – Use a plastic putty knife to remove the splatters from the wood surface. Do not use a metal scraper since this may scratch the wood finish. If there is paint in the seams of the floor boards, run the putty knife in between each plank to clean.
  • Heat – If scraping does not work, apply heat with a hair dryer. Set the hair dryer on medium heat and hold a few inches above the paint. The heat will help the paint melt, loosening it off the wood floors.


Spilling juice, wine, or soda onto a carpeted area of flooring can be extremely problematic. Not only will the liquid soak through the carpet fibers and underlying base, but it can also stain your carpet. Spilling beverages on hardwood floors may not be as traumatic, but the sugary liquids can leave behind a sticky residue.

Use paper towels to soak up the liquid immediately after the spill. Then, complete the following steps to protect the wood from a sticky film:

  1. In a bucket, combine 2 gallons of hot water with 1 gallon of white vinegar.
  2. Soak a microfiber mop into the vinegar solution and wring out the excess liquid.
  3. Move the mop over the wood floors, using slight pressure over the spill location. Mop the entire hardwood flooring area.
  4. Rinse your mop before soaking in a second bucket of only warm water.
  5. Run the wet mop across the floor to rinse away the vinegar solution and any leftover residue.
  6. Allow your floors to dry.

In many cases, juice, wine, and other colored beverages may stain the wood floors. In these situations, you may need to use an ammonia solution on the discolored area only. In a bucket, combine ½ gallon of warm water with 2 cups of ammonia. Soak a clean microfiber towel in the solution and wring out the excess liquid. Wash the area using the ammonia solution and rinse away with a damp cloth. The ammonia and water solution will eat through dark discoloration without damaging the wood finish.


While surprising to hear, certain oils and greasy liquids can spill or splatter onto your wood floors, as well. Cooking, lubricating, motor oil or greasy foods can quickly damage the finish of your hardwood floors, so efficient cleanup is key.

Soak up the spill using paper towels. If the wood surface still feels greasy, soak a cloth in hydrogen peroxide. Use the cloth to wipe away the greasy residue before blotting dry with clean paper towels.

Hardwood floors are beautiful, virtually maintenance-free upgrades for your home, but you will most likely encounter a few accidental spills. Using this guide on common household spills, you can clean up and protect your wood flooring. However, if you don't have the time to clean your floors yourself, consider contacting a residential cleaning service.