How to Remove Wax Build-Up on Hardwood Floors

Wax provides great protection for your floor if it is completed with a penetrating sealer, and it can make polyurethane, lacquer and shellac finishes additional shiny when it is fresh. Wax never actually hardens, though, and sooner or later it’ll collect enough dirt to cloud the finish. Moreover, it eventually turns yellow. The solution will be to strip the wax and then apply a fresh coat. This really is a job for a solvent that dissolves wax without affecting the finish, and the National Wood Flooring Association recommends absorbent mineral spirits. Get a few knee pads, since the job involves scrubbing.

Moisten a cloth with mineral spirits, which can be accessible at any hardware store. Rub down a small area of the ground — a place of about two feet square will be all about the right size. Rub with the grain of the wood.

Rearrange the cloth once it becomes filled with wax to reveal a clean portion of it. Moisten the cloth with more mineral spirits and keep rubbing. Continue in this manner until you’ve completed the first part of floor.

Moisten a clean cloth with more mineral spirits and rub the area you just washed. Look at the cloth; if it is yellow, then clean the whole section again. Repeat until a clean fabric stays clean once you rub the area.

Go over the area once again with a pad of 0000 steel wool moistened with mineral spirits. The steel wool will remove wax residue from the timber grain. If the ground has a V-groove, work the steel wool into the groove to remove wax from that point.

Mop the floor with hot water once you’ve stripped all of the wax, then dry the ground with a rag. Do not leave any standing water — it can hurt the finish.

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