hardwood floor cleaning

How to Get Wax off Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors are gaining popularity because of the extra shiny finish they bring to any space. People tend to apply a wax coating to the floor to safeguard against moisture absorption and ensure it lasts longer.  Although most people are using this wax, it accumulates microscopic dirt particles over time, making the floor dull and untidy.

There are some easy steps to get off the wax, don’t try using oil to strip the wax. With the simple products, you can remove the wax in simple steps. Also, don’t apply toxic alternatives; they may destroy your hardwood floor. Here are some easy and effective DIY ideas to clean the wax from the hardwood floor.

What you will need:

  •         Mineral spirits
  •         Broom and dustpan
  •         Microfiber cloths
  •         Steel wool
  •         Bucket and mop
  •         Rubber gloves
  •         Knee pads   

It will be easy to work in a small section of hardwood floor at a time as you will reach every single position. Make sure your hands are protected by wearing rubber gloves. You need to wear old cloth because scraping off the wax is a untidy process. Once the wax is removed, it restores your hardwood floor to its shiny appearance.

How do you Remove Wax from Hardwood Floor: The Best Solvent

how to get wax off hardwood floor

The best solvent for dissolving wax is mineral spirits. It gives most wax products their odor feature. Although the most robust solvents like lacquer thinner and acetone will remove the wax, it also damages the finish. Hot water can also dissolve wax, especially if it contains ammonia, vinegar, washing powder, and other cleaning agents but not recommended by a manufacturer. Don’t let the hot water on the wood floor for longer to dissolve wax and cause damage by seeping through the cracks, swell the planks hence ruining the floor.

Steps to Remove Wax

  1. Sweep and Mop the Floor

First, you need to sweep the hardwood floor with a broom to eliminate loose dirt, dust, and other debris on the floor. Wear your rubber gloves to mop the wood floor with warm water. Using warm water with vinegar helps clear any residual grime on the wood’s surface. Mop in the direction that the planks are laying. Make sure the mop is rinsed and wrung out frequently.

  1. Rub the Floor with Mineral Spirits and a Microfiber Cloth

Pour mineral spirit onto a cloth and rub it into the floor in the wood grain direction. It is manageable to rub down a small section like a 4 by 4-foot area to ensure all the wax is removed. Don’t move to a new section until all the wax has been eliminated.

Once the microfiber cloth becomes dirty, pour mineral spirit onto a new cloth and keep rubbing. You will notice the cloth changes to a yellow hue to signify that the wax is coming off the floor. Keep running with mineral spirits until the cloth comes up clean. This shows that all the wax has been removed from the area, and you can move to a new wood floor section.

  1. Rub with Mineral Spirits and Steel Wool

When the wax is removed, and the microfiber cloth comes out clean, now go over the area once again with a pad of steel wool and mineral spirits.  Pour mineral spirit on the steel wool and rub over the same section. Ensure you rub along the wood grain.

Moisten the cracks along the boards to dissolve the wax. You can use a cloth to rub the rest of the wax off your wood floor. The steel wool with mineral spirits helps eliminate waxy residue from the wood grain- especially if your wood floor has a V-groove.

  1. Move to the Next Section

Having removed the wax layer, go ahead and strip off the remaining sections. You will repeat the same process 2 and 3 in the remaining areas of flooring. It is essential to track the cleaned sections easily, and it will be wise to move along in a logical pattern. You can also use thick knee pads or gardening cushions to protect your knees as you continue with the process of removing wax from the hardwood flooring.

  1. Mop the Floor again with Hot Water and Dry the Floor

After rubbing all the wax from the wood flooring surface, it is essential to give a final clean up by mopping the floor with hot water. After, ensure you dry any remaining water with a cloth because standing water can damage the floor. Dry the hardwood floor with a microfiber cloth to give the best results. You can now re-wax or sand and refinish your hardwood floor.

Other DIY Ideas to Remove Wax include:

how to get wax off hardwood floor

  1. Pre-Heating of the Wax
  •         Necessary Supplies
  •         Paper bag or towel to soak up the wax
  •         Plastic spatula or a scraper
  •         Iron or hair dryer

The first idea involves the re-heating of the wax to eliminate it.  First, scrape the wax using a plastic spatula. Ensure you scrap steadily from the top of the floor to avoid damaging the floor.  Next, lay a paper bag on the wax, then use a warm iron or a hairdryer to bring the wax back to liquid form gradually.  Start from low to medium setting temperature. Make sure you don’t overheat the iron to ensure the floor will not burn.

Use a hairdryer in the absence of iron to melt the wax for soaking it up by the towel. If you find some wax left behind after removing the paper bag, repeat the previous step by laying a paper bag on the wax and ironing it until all the wax is removed.

  1. Chill Out

What you will need

  •         Mop or microfiber cloth
  •         Ice pack
  •         Plastic spatula or scraper

You can also get off the wax from the wood floor by placing an ice pack on the wax and let it sit on it for at least 15 minutes. You need to be careful if you opt for this method to ensure you don’t scratch the floor. By applying ice in a freezer bag to the wax makes it turn solid. Use a plastic spatula or scraper to scrape the wax from the wood floor. Pry gently to avoid leaving a stain on the floor. Continue with the process until the wax is completely removed.

  1. Spoon or Finger

It is the easiest way to use a spoon or finger to scrape off the floor’s wax. However, it is best for a small area as it takes more time to clean a large area. After scrapping the wax, pour some warm water to clean the floor using a clean cloth.

  1. Commercial Wax Removal Products

Commercial wax removal products can also get off the wax from the hardwood floors. You need to read the manufacturer’s instructions since many are intended for linoleum, vinyl, and tiles and not hardwood. The removal products need to be approved for hardwood floors to prevent damaging the floors.

Useful Tips

  1. Safety

When getting off the wax from the hardwood floor, make sure you keep children and pets away from the area.

  1. Protective Finish Options

Most people opt for oil coating to protect their wooden floors, but oil wax can be difficult to remove, and you may need to clean them more often.  If you are looking for a great coating, then consider polyurethane as it will give you great results. Polyurethane is loved for its durability and comfortability when using it.

Take Note

  •         Don’t use a hot heat gun or hair dryer. Increasing the heat may burn the wood floor and make wax removal more difficult.
  •         It is recommended to use a wax stripper and not a furniture stripper for the stubborn wax. 

Refinishing the Hardwood Floors

how to get wax off hardwood floor

Make sure the floor dries entirely before providing a new finish. When applying a new layer of wax on the floors, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. After applying, take note of how often you should re-apply if required and mark the date.

If you find the floor has been damaged after rubbing the wax, you can choose polyurethane coating, which is more durable than the waxing coating. It can be a sturdy and long-lasting alternative if you want to prevent wax-build-up in the future. Don’t apply polyurethane coating until all the wax is removed. You can rub a cloth with mineral spirits over the surface to see it comes up clean. If the cloth is clean, then apply polyurethane. ‘

Final Thought

Getting wax off the hardwood floors can be a tiresome process. But with the necessary products and little hard work, you will restore your floor to its shiny appearance. These steps will help you when it comes to eliminating wax off the hardwood floor. No matter the method you use to remove the wood floor, it should work for you.

Have a good time getting off the wax from your hardwood floor.