This article comes from Angi.
Tips For Stripping and Replacing Wax On Floors
If your floor has chipped or yellowed wax, you can clean it and put on a new wax finish, if you’re not afraid of a little elbow grease.
Wax soaks into wood, so if you want to change from wax to something like a polyurethane finish, you’ll need to fully strip the wax (you may want to hire a hardwood flooring professional) and then apply a finish that will create the look you want.
The right wax for your flooring
Liquid wax: While easier to put on than paste wax, the finish won’t last as long. Good for unvarnished hardwoods, linoleum or some vinyl (not for vinyl with a factory-applied no-wax finish). No-buff waxes are simply mopped onto the floor.
Solid paste wax: This old-fashioned wax comes in a can and is good for unvarnished hardwoods and true linoleum.
Clear the floor
First, you’ll want to remove everything from the room, sweep and then mop to ensure the floor’s clean. Be sure to ventilate your work space well and wear appropriate safety gear (gloves, long sleeves and pants, eye goggles and possibly an organic vapor blocker respirator for big or poorly ventilated areas).
Chemical floor stripper
You can get a chemical liquid stripping agent at your local hardware store, but check that it’s for the kind of floor you’re stripping. You can also rent a stripping machine at a hardware or rental store. This may be a good choice for a very large room, one with lots of wax build-up or if you don’t want to do some of the manual scrubbing.
You may want to try a more natural way to strip your floors. Here are some options.
Linoleum flooring and vinyl flooring: Try either an ammonia or vinegar solution.
Ammonia: 1 gallon of warm water, 1 cup of laundry detergent and ½ to 1 cup of ammonia in a bucket.
Vinegar: 1 gallon warm water and 1 cup each of white vinegar and cream of tartar in a bucket.
Directions: Mop the solution onto the floor and let stand for a few minutes to soften the wax. Scrub with a scrub brush or ultrafine steel wool pad, using a circular motion. Wet the brush or pad as needed for stubborn wax. Finish by mopping off the solution with clean water.
Wood flooring: Apply mineral spirits and use a clean cloth or rag to get the wax, working in a 2-square-foot section at a time. Wipe dry and repeat. If your rag shows wax or dirt, repeat until it’s clean.
Tough stain removal
Carefully use a putty knife or toothbrush to get into nooks and crannies and wipe off the excess wax with a sponge or cloth. Plan your work so you’ll end up at the room’s door and not trapped in a corner when you’re done.
Supplies for floor waxing
Use either a new sponge mop or new flat mop that applies wax so you don’t add debris back to the floor.
For a sponge mop, line a bucket with a garbage bag (to save it for future use) and pour the wax in. For a flat mop wax applier, pour the wax into the mesh backing on the upper side.
You’ll want your mop to be damp but not dripping. Press it gently against the bucket to remove excess wax.
Dry and prep for new wax
Let the floor dry completely before you start to apply a new coat of wax. When the floor’s ready, sweep and mop the floor one last time to remove any debris.
How to apply floor wax
Again, plan your escape route so you can leave the room when you’re done. Work in small sections, applying a thin, even coat of wax. Once you’re done with a section, mop over it in one direction for an even appearance.
Repeat the above for every section, making sure to keep the final mopping direction the same.
Let the floor dry completely. This usually takes about 30 minutes, but high humidity can cause delays. Check your product label for estimates.
Apply more layers the same way. Your product label should recommend how many coats to apply. When you’re done, let the floor dry for at least 8 hours.
Clean all your tools immediately, and enjoy your refreshed floor.
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