Didn’t wipe off excess stain! Removing excess stain from hardwood floor

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Q: I recently stained my floors in sections. Red oak floors with ****** Red oak stain. I applied with a sponge and blended with a china brush. I did NOT wipe it off. I can see the lap marks where the stain overlapped. I have not applied the poly yet. Is there a fix for this? How can I go about removing excess stain from hardwood floor?

A: I would try rubbing down the overlap with a cloth or very mild abrasive pad dampened with mineral spirits. Not wiping off the excess stain is a boo boo. Also, applying stain with a sponge can be very risky, since a sponge will cause too much stain to be applied to the floor. I am surprised that you don’t have major bleed back happening.

Similar Q: I just stained my oak hardwood floors. Now I have overlap areas that are darker. Can I use a moistened rag with mineral spirits to lightly rub this way, or do you recommend a different method? The floor has been dry for one day and I used oil based stain. Only one coat.

A: If you applied the stain and didn’t go back with a clean rag to remove excess stain, it might help. At least it is worth a try, but usually, with stain you have to get it right the first time. When I stain, I use a rag on hands and knees and stain a narrow row (3 feet wide) from wall to wall. Then I go back with a clean rag and remove excess. Do the next row the same with a slight overlap. The idea is to wipe off excess and move quickly.

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