Remove Wax Buildup on Hardwood Floors

If you are looking for a flooring choice for your home, hardwood floors should be at the top of your list. These traditional types of flooring still remain the best flooring choice even in our modern world. The popularity of hardwood floors is mainly due to the durability and natural beauty that these floors bring to a space. To extend the life and durability of your hardwood flooring, you are recommended to add a wax coating. The wax coating acts as a natural barrier that protects the hardwood floors against moisture. However, with time, the wax coating tends to collect dirt and become dull, requiring regular re-application. Overtime, this leads to a natural build-up of wax.

Remove Wax Buildup on Hardwood Floors

How to Get Rid of it

If you have already done several applications of wax coating, it is high time you considered doing a thorough and deep cleaning of your hardwood flooring. In this article, we have done all the research for you and compiled two effective ways on How to Remove Wax Build-up on Hardwood Floors.


Redissolve in a Solvent

Material Needed

  • Mineral Spirits
  • Squirt/ Spray Plastic Bottle
  • Steel Wool/ Kitchen Scrubber

Waxes used in hardwood floors vary. However, the most common ones contain either an emulsion of carnauba or paraffin. Carnauba is an extract obtained from Brazilian palm trees. These wax emulsions are usually dissolved in a mineral spirit solvent; the ingredient responsible for their characteristic odors.

During application of wax on the hardwood floors, the solvent evaporates, leaving only the wax coating. Therefore, one effective way of removing the wax build-up on your flooring would be to dissolve it in a mineral spirit solvent. Then, as you wipe the solvent off, the wax build-up should also come off with it, leaving a sparkling clean hardwood flooring.

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to remove wax build-up using a mineral spirit solvent:

Step 1

In a clean bottle, say a condiment squirt bottle or a spray bottle, add the mineral spirits. It is recommended that you use a plastic bottle, such as the one you use for ketchup. Also, since mineral spirits tend to emit a particular odor, remember to keep the room you are working on well ventilated.

Step 2

Spray the mineral spirit solvent along the floor in a longitudinal manner. For every distance of about one foot, moisten 3 to 4 floor boards. Don’t forget to moisten all the cracks between the boards.

Step 3

While the mineral spirit solvent is still wet, gently scrub the region along the grain of the hardwood. You can use a green kitchen scrubber to gently scrub the wood. Alternatively, you can use a 0000 steel wool to dissolve and loosen the wax build-up. Then, using a rag, rub the remaining wax build-up off the floor.

Step 4

Wet the area you are working on again. Then, using another clean rag, rub off the mineral spirit solvent. If the clean rag still contains some waxy residue, moisten the area and run off the solvent again.

Repeat this process until the clean rag shows no waxy residue or discoloration. Once the wax build-up on your hardwood flooring is completely removed, you can then proceed to another section of the floor.

Important Note

When choosing your mineral spirit solvent, it is recommended that you go for the one that was already dissolved in your wax coating during the application. Also, avoid using very strong solvents, such as lacquer thinner and acetone. While these strong solvents might remove the wax build-up, they will also remove the beautiful finishing, leading to floor damage.

Some people use hot water to dissolve and remove wax build-up. The water is usually added to washing powder, ammonia, vinegar or other cleaning agents. However, this is also not recommended for removing wax build-up on hardwood floors. After all, leaving hot water on your floor for a long time can lead to the water seeping through the cracks, causing the wood to swell and eventually ruin your flooring.


Natural Methods

Material Needed

  • Hairdryer
  • Vinegar
  • Plastic Sandwich Bag
  • Several Ice Cubes

– The natural method of removing wax build-up specifically applies to wax build-up from candle drips. If the candle wax is just a small amount, try melting it off with a hairdryer. Then, wipe off the melted candle wax using a clean piece of cloth.

– To remove any residual wax, apply drops of vinegar to the region where the candle wax has built up. And that’s it, you should have a clean floor surface free from any candle drips.

– Alternatively, take a clean plastic sandwich bag. Fill it with several ice cubes then gently place it on top of the candle wax build-up. Let it stay there for a few minutes, until all the wax has hardened. Once the wax has hardened, scrape it off using an object that won’t damage or scratch the hardwood flooring. Then, apply drops of vinegar and water to that region and wipe it off to remove any remaining waxy residue.


Commercial Wax Remover

Material Needed

  • An over-the-counter commercial wax remover

Commercial wax removers are ideal for removing tough wax build-up, or wax that has built up for an extended period of time. The good thing about these commercial removers is that they make the job less onerous for you. However, before you buy your commercial wax removers, it is important that you read the label.

Most of these wax removers are designed for tile, vinyl and linoleum floor types. Therefore, ensure that you always get a wax remover specifically designed and approved for hardwood flooring. Otherwise, you will risk damaging the finishing of your floor, especially after stripping off the wax.

Be Careful With Your Cleaners

If yours is a laminate type of flooring, do not clean it using oil soap. Oil soaps usually leave a dingy residue which can harm your flooring. Also, avoid using too much laminate floor cleaner, since it contains surfactants that tend to leave a film on the floor. This film dulls the beautiful floor finishing.


Indeed, installing hardwood flooring in your home is a worthwhile project. It is even more worthwhile if you maintain the durability and beauty of this type of flooring. And you can easily do this by regularly removing any wax build-up that occurs on your flooring.

The above three simple ways on How to Remove Wax Build Up on Hardwood Floors can help you maintain the beauty and practicality of your floors, at a very cost-effective price.

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