Hardwood floors are a favourite of homeowners, but they must be maintained, and will sometimes need special cleaning to remove wax buildup. This buildup occurs if the floor has been waxed more frequently than necessary, if harsh cleaning products have been used on it, or even just from regular use. Luckily, it is an inexpensive and easily solved problem, and you can restore the physical appearance of your wood flooring easily.
Below are four tips and tricks on how to get wax off hardwood floors:
1. Use a mop to get wax off hardwood floors
The best way to get wax from hardwood floors is through your regular cleaning routines. Clean as you normally would, but make an effort to focus on the wax buildup off your floors. This is something you can do if you’re feeling like your hardwood floors just don’t shine the way they once did, and you want to restore them to their former glory at least a little bit without putting in too much time or effort.
Get yourself a new sponge mop and a bucket, some warm water, and some white vinegar. It’s important that the mop doesn’t contain any chemicals, this is why it must be new. You must also be sure that the mop can be wrung out thoroughly, as you cannot leave excess water on your floors, or it will damage the hardwood.
Next, you just mop. The easiest way to do it is to simply push the mop in the direction that the boards are laying. The mop must be rinsed and wrung out frequently, and the floors should look slightly glossy but not wet when you run the mop over them.
2. Use mineral spirits to get wax off hardwood floors
Now, if you are ready to totally revamp your floors, then this is the method for you! It takes a little more elbow grease, but is another effective way to remove wax buildup from your floors.
There are several things that will be needed in order to successfully remove the wax coating from the floor. You will need a broom and dustpan and a mop and bucket. In addition, you need mineral spirits, some microfiber cloths, and steel wool.
Mineral spirits are a chemical, so it is best to protect yourself with gloves. You could also use a mask, as the fumes can be harmful over longer periods of time, or in an enclosed area. Crack your windows to allow for air flow while working. You may also want some knee pads or a small pillow to kneel on while you work, as the hardwood can be tough on the knees over extended periods of time.
Work away at the wax in chunks, rather than trying to tackle the whole floor at once. Start with about four feet by four feet – an area that is more or less easily reachable for you from one spot. Complete the first two steps for each section, and relocate to another section once you have finished.
3. Clean the floors in a systematic way
Remember to work in a fashion that is logical to you. You may think it will be obvious which sections you have already completed, but don’t be so sure. If you work from one distinct area to another, you will be able to remember from where you started and where you will finish. This can help with your process, and will ensure you do not miss any spots and will avoid any unnecessary additional labour.
Taking a small section of the cloth, and coating it in mineral spirits, gently rub with the grain of the wood. As you rub, the wax will come off, dirtying the rag. When the rag becomes too dirty, switch to another section of the rag, dip it in mineral spirits again, and continue with the same spot until the rag comes up clean.
Next, it’s time to go a little deeper. Do with the steel wool exactly what you just did with the microfibre cloth. This will remove any wax that is engrained in the grooves of the flooring. As you work, remember to only brush in the direction of the wood’s grain.
4. Clean and refinish the hardwood floors
Once you’ve stripped the wax away, you need to do one final clean with a mop and hot water. Once again, make sure you work in small sections, rather than doing the entire floor. The reason for this is that, now that the floor is stripped of its protection, the water will very easily damage it. You must immediately dry the mopped floor with a dry mop or a microfibre cloth before moving on to another section.
There are several different kinds of finish now available for hardwood flooring. While wax is still a possibility, there are other, lower-maintenance materials like polyurethane. This will not only prevent you from having to labour over your floors again in the future, but also provides your flooring with a dazzling finish.