A clean, well-waxed floor gives a nice look to an entire room. Many people shy away from waxing their floors because they fear that it will be too much work, but waxing a floor is not a difficult or complicated task.
Here are the basics of waxing your floor:
- The first step is to thoroughly remove all old wax buildup. Visit your home improvement or hardware store to buy wax stripper. There are a number of varieties; read labels to be sure that you are purchasing the correct kind for your flooring type - it's important to clean hardwood floors well, and you'll want to know the specific steps for vinyl floors or wood laminate flooring. Removing the old wax is the most physically demanding part of the process, so you might want to consider renting (or purchasing, if you will be stripping and reapplying wax to your floor on a regular basis) an electric floor scrubber to make your work easier.
- Gather your supplies. You'll need commercially prepared wax stripper, a broom, mop, scrubbing pads, a small scrub brush (a toothbrush works well to get into tight corners), a putty knife, a bucket, and some old rags.
- Each brand of floor stripper will have its own specific instructions, but there are a few things common to most, if not all:
- Always use floor stripper in a well-ventilated area. The fumes from the strippers can be a bit overwhelming. If your floor is large and the project time-consuming, be sure to work in small sections and take regular breaks.
- Protect your hands with rubber gloves. Wax strippers are pretty harsh, and can cause irritation to your skin.
- Remove furniture and rugs from the area and sweep all visible debris from the floor.
- If your floor is old, you should test the wax stripper on a small section of your floor in an inconspicuous area. Sometimes, very old linoleum flooring is beyond waxing and needs to be replaced.
- Start in a far corner of the room and work your way towards a doorway.
- Work in small sections. Usually, 2' X 4' sections are manageable.
- Dilute the wax stripper as per the bottle directions and coat a section of the floor. Leave it on for a few minutes (the instructions will give you time guidelines) and then scrub, either by hand or with a floor machine, until all of the wax buildup is removed. For areas with excessive buildup, you may have to reapply the stripper several times and scrape with a putty knife.
- Soak up extra moisture with rags and discard. Continue in this manner until the entire floor is free of wax.
- If necessary, finish by mopping the floor with plain water.
Once you have a clean, dry, wax-free floor, you can apply fresh wax. There are many different brands available; be sure to purchase one that is safe for your flooring type. Applying the floor wax is the easy part:
- Beginning in the far corner of the room, apply a thin coating of floor wax with a new (or perfectly clean) mop-head. Be careful not to miss any areas of flooring--working in small sections will help you to give the floor a thorough coating.
- Apply 2-3 thin layers of fresh wax, being sure to allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next. Most commercial floor wax products recommend waiting about 45 minutes between coats. When in doubt as to the readiness, give it a little extra time.
- Once your final coat is completely dry, you can carefully move the furniture back into the room.
- For regular maintenance, choose a floor cleaner that is safe to your waxed surface. You might want to select one from the same manufacturer as your floor wax to be sure that they are compatible.
- To restore shine to your floor in between waxings, you may want to consider renting or purchasing a floor buffing machine.
- If necessary, you can apply a thin coating of wax to your freshly cleaned floor every now and then. Be careful not to go overboard with the wax, however. Too much wax causes a yellowish buildup which must be stripped, as directed above...and makes future floor wax endeavours more difficult.