Most homeowners know that standing water and wood never mix well. If large amounts of water or another liquid has made friends with your wood floor, they’ll never be the same…but you can help keep them from having to be replaced entirely! How?
The sooner you can get to work, the better. Rent or borrow a shop vacuum and begin pulling off the water with as soon as possible. Remember that in order to prevent mold and mildew, you need to get rid of the dirt too!
Remove Surface Water!
Make sure your shop vacuum is on “wet mode” and remove as much water as possible from the surface of the flooring.
Scrub the Floor!
Mix a mild detergent and a compatible disinfectant with clean water in a bucket. Scrub the entire floor and all related woodwork with a stiff brush, rinsing the brush frequently in the bucket. Scrub intensely in order to remove all dirt and organic material.
Treat Moldy Areas.
Clean areas that show signs of mold with TSP (trisodium phosphate) or a TSP substitute mixed with water. Scrub affected areas with the solution until the mold and mold discoloration are gone, then rinse with clear water, and dry the surface with an absorbent cloth.
Dry the Floor.
Dry the floor naturally and slowly with fans and plenty of airflow through the space. Open windows and doors (unless it’s extremely humid outside, which will just lead to more moisture for your poor floor!) and run fans. Opening multiple windows and placing lots of box fans around the affected area will provide excellent cross-ventilation to move the moisture out. It is important to dry the floor steadily but slowly, as drying wood flooring too quickly can lead to cracking, splitting, cupping, and other problems.
Heavy sanding with a drum or orbital sander can soften or downplay warped areas on wooden floors, though heavily cupped wood cannot be sanded down flat. It is inevitable that some floorboards may lift completely at the ends. If this happens, simply nail the floorboards back down.