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A few years ago, some liquid (red wine or water from a plant) leaked on my hardwood floor (cherry). It took several months before we noticed it because it was under a carpet. This little incident left us with a very dark (almost black) stain of 4" in diameter (spawning across 3 planks).

Is there something I can use to diminish the appearance of the stain? Can I use some kind of bleach?

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I would carefully try some oxygen bleach. By carefully, I mean not very long. Its not that caustic. If it looks like its going in the right direction, go a little longer. The kind I use is called StainSolver. The manufacturer recommends it for decks. You can find it with Google.

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If you do end up going too far and getting the wood too light, you could try to match the original stain and re-stain it. – Doresoom Oct 27 '10 at 18:22
I don't really know if this will work, but since the only other option is chris's (replace or refinish the wood), you might as well give the bleach a try. If it fails, you're no worse off than before (unless you spill bleach over a much larger area) – Steve Armstrong Oct 28 '10 at 14:29
I tried regular bleach for 30 minutes with no noticable change. – Sly Nov 6 '10 at 2:41

I don't know if there's anything you can apply to the wood to restore it - I'd doubt it.

Your options at this point would be replacing the planks, sanding & refinishing the existing wood, or covering it up with a carpet :)

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