How To Remove Old Wax From Wood Floors – When those beautiful candles unexpectedly drip hot wax onto your hardwood floor, don’t panic—there are a few easy techniques you can use to remove it. First, let the wax sit; resist the temptation to delete it immediately. After it dries, take a moment to clean the wax properly to avoid damaging the surface of your hardwood floors.
Follow one of these two approaches to remove wax from hardwood floors and then follow up with a proper buff or polish to get the floors sparkling again.
How To Remove Old Wax From Wood Floors
Using an ice cube to harden wax drops is one way to remove wax from wood floors with minimal scraping required. Simply hold the ice cube in place on the wax for 30 seconds, even if the wax is already cooled. If the wax is fresh and still malleable, you may need to hold the ice cube for a minute or two.
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Use a credit card—or a plastic razor if you have one handy—to scrape the frozen wax drops off the candle. You’ll probably be able to swish every particle and pick them up off the floor. Freeze the stain again if it does not come off easily; you don’t have to scratch yourself.
Always avoid scraping the surface of the wood; the goal is to loosen and slide the wax from where it fell without gouging the floor.
Wipe the area dry with a clean cloth. Don’t forget to collect the water that has melted from the ice cubes! If there are still hints of wax on the surface (you can tell if you rub your hand over it or catch an inconsistency in the sunlight), clean a wide area of the floor with wood furniture wax to polish off any remaining residue. We know it seems wrong to clean wax by applying more wax, but furniture wax is formulated to help remove imperfections and provide protection. Polishing a wide area, rather than the small affected area, helps make it less noticeable that you just spot cleaned.
Use a blow dryer on medium heat and aim it at the wax drops – stay 12 inches away. The heat will help soften the wax so it can be scraped off the floor.
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When the wax has softened, use the edge of a plastic credit card or a plastic razor blade to separate the pieces from the hardwood (similar to the ice cube method).
If there are still traces of wax on the surface of hardwood floors, finish cleaning by applying wood furniture wax to polish and clean the surface. This process will help remove any remaining wax residue and help re-polish your floors.
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Over the years. What may also be unknown is what types of cleaners were used or if there may be an older finish under the wax.
Most chemical-type cleaners will not work well with wood floors. Techniques on how to be another unknown that non-professionals should avoid. Caring for that priceless antique you’ve brought back to life is
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Other than flooring. Floors that are cracked may not be successfully removed from all wax residue. Over the years, the wax is pushed into the cracks by constant reapplying and polishing. Any new coating applied will eventually come into contact with the older waxes, bubbling or flaking may occur. In situations like this, it may be better to stay with the status quo.
Testing for coatings is as simple as applying a few drops of water to the floor. If they are up, your coating is wax. These types of floors are often a maintenance headache, requiring more care than newer oil and water based finishes. Do you remember your mother or grandmother, who may have slipped on older floors, shining on old socks? It may have been great exercise, but it was often tiring and somewhat of a chore.
Many people today are turning to newer coatings on old floors that don’t require hard work to maintain. However, the biggest hurdle is to remove the old waxes first, as any new coating will not bond properly.
For floors that have not been heavily coated (some Bruce hardwoods fall into this category), odorless mineral spirits can be applied to a pad of steel wool placed on the bottom of a floor buffer. If the floors are beveled, hand scraping will be necessary to remove build-up in the cracks. Follow-up cleaning is vital to ensure that residue is removed. Many suggest cleaning the floor thoroughly with mineral sprays and clean rags at least twice.
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Larger, heavily waxed floors will require very rough sanding with a drum sander for best results. Professionals differ on what grind to use with some only 12. What may also be unknown is what was under the wax. Older shellac finishes may be under years of build up as shown in my short video below.
For best protection against wax contamination, all cracks and gaps should be filled with a trowel (photo above) during the sanding process. This creates a closure where there will be no contact with new coatings.
If in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to call a professional who has experience restoring old floors. I do not recommend any quick fix type products unless they have been thoroughly researched. What may sound too good to be true may turn out to be just a band aid with further problems down the road.
And how to deal with it? Experienced professionals who have worked with these types of floors will know it when they see it. This work is more about color as the floors show an orange tint, a telltale sign of shellac. It also had very heavy layers of old floor wax.
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So. How do I remove all this? Some serious deep sanding needs to be done. as these pros start with an aggressive 20 grit. Thinking of a DIY project? I can’t hold you back, but all the costs you’ll face will be almost equal to the cost of having this job done professionally. And there’s a good chance you won’t get the right advice from a rental place.
Our opinion? With all the cheap shortcuts that exist today, you’ll be much happier working professionally on something that will inevitably come back to haunt you. The appeal of shiny wood floors dates back centuries. The warmth of wood floors makes them a desirable design feature, and people who have wood floors work hard to keep them looking good. Often, when people move or make decorative changes to their interior, or when the floors get really dull and worn, they arrange for professionals to sand them to remove the old finishes and then apply new ones. Installing wood floors, whether new wood or reclaimed wood or antique wood, is a popular home upgrade, especially in living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens, as it is known to increase resale value.
For centuries, most wooden floors were waxed, requiring regular maintenance and waxing as part of routine housekeeping. Some homes still continue this tradition. But for the past 50 years, the majority of wood floors in American homes have been covered with layers of polyurethane. The advantage of this is a nice, durable finish and easy maintenance mostly by simply vacuuming and dry cleaning.
One alternative to solid hardwood floors is engineered hardwood, which is made with a top layer of hardwood and a core of cross-ply wood. Engineered wood floors are known to be very stable, so they are a popular choice for areas with concrete floors or in basements.
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Ecological products. More environmentally friendly coatings, such as water-based polyurethane coatings, have lower VOCs (potentially harmful volatile organic compounds) than traditional oil-based products.
Faster drying coatings. Manufacturers are developing new technologies that use ultraviolet light to cure polyurethane coatings immediately, instead of waiting longer during drying.
Cleaning. The majority
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