Homeowners, contractors and decorator choose hardwood floors for their beauty. Wood floors add a touch of elegance and timeless beauty to a house. Hardwood floors have many benefits including they are easy to care for and maintain, they fit seamlessly into any decorating theme or idea. Wood floors increase the value of a home and the greatest benefit is they can be refinished if they become worn, stained or damaged. One stain that is a little tough to remove from wood flooring is a tree sap stain. Tree sap stains come from bringing wood or trees into your home in the form of firewood, holiday decor or tracking it into your house after a day in the great outdoors. Tree sap stains gather dirt, dust and debris and hold the mess in their sticky grip. It is ill-advised to use many commercial cleaners on a wood floor because they can damage both the wood and wood finish. Wet cleansers can cause the wood to swell and lift the wood grain. Thankfully, there is an easy way to remove the tree sap stains from your hardwood floors without damaging the wood or the finish.

Shopping List

Acetone - nail polish remover

Extra-fine steel wool


Wood floor wax

Cleaning the Sap off the Floor

Dip a piece of extra fine steel wool into acetone. Typically, #00000 steel wool is best to remove the sap from the wood floor. Acetone is more commonly known as nail polish remover. Do not use steel wool that is saturated with any type of soap or detergent. Use only plain steel wool that you buy in a hardware store.

Gently rub the tree sap stain with the steel wool. Follow the grain of the wood floor. Do not move the steel wool back and forth across the grain or in a circular pattern with the grain. Move in only the direction of the grain.

Continue to rub the floor until the tree sap stain is gone. In the process, you will have lifted the floor wax off of the hardwood surface.

Washing the Wood

Wet a rag with plain water and wring out the excess so the rag is just damp, not dripping.

Rub the rag over the area where you used the acetone. Rinse the rag and repeat until you remove all of the excess acetone.

Dry the wood floor completely with a soft dry rag. Do not allow the wood floor to remain wet. The moisture will cause the finish on the flooring to turn a hazy, white color and cause the wood to swell. Water or moisture left on hardwood floors can also cause a water stain to remain on your floor.

Waxing After Stain Removal

Apply wood floor wax to the area where you removed the tree sap stain to restore the shine and finish.

Immediately thoroughly rinse and discard all pieces of steel wool and rag. Do not throw away any acetone soaked items without rinsing because acetone is highly flammable.


Do not smoke while using acetone.

Extinguish all flames including candles when working with acetone.

Work in a well-ventilated area.

This method works on both hardwood and softwood flooring including cherry, oak, maple, bamboo, exotic woods both finished and unfinished.