How to Get Wax Off Hardwood Floors With Simple Methods

How to Get Wax Off Hardwood Floors in the Most Gentle Way

May 04, 2022
Hardwood flooring is a popular traditional option, mainly thanks to the natural beauty that can go with most home decoration styles. But there is some time you may need to learn how to get wax off hardwood floors for different reasons.

The stain can be an accident, when you're not careful enough and spill some wax while blowing the candles. It doesn't happen often and many may get confused about the best way to remove this stain.

But learning how to get wax off hardwood floors can be useful in another way. Wax coatings are a common method to extend the life of this flooring material as they act as a natural barrier between the surface and the moisture.

These topcoats get dull over time, however, due to the dirt and scratches they collect. You're supposed to reapply this coating regularly according to the recommendation of your floor's manufacturer.

This process can be labor-intensive, but most people can carry it out themselves just fine with the right method. Read on to learn more.

Candle wax may a rare problem but it does happen

Candle wax may a rare problem but it does happen


Make sure there is no loose dirt and debris around the affected spot. Sweep with a broom or vacuum it, then mop the area with warm water so residues and grim will be removed. Consider using the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors.

Many cleaning jobs can be less challenging and even automated. But wax removal isn't one of them. You should set aside a few hours if you have a large affected area.

Some knee pads or cushions are also recommended. Wax can make you strip easily on hardwood flooring.

It should be noted that our goal is to remove wax from hardwood flooring, not cause additional damage. Allow the liquid wax to cool off entirely. You should wait for it to harden before any removal attempts.

If you need to do it quickly, grab ice cubes and place them over the spots for about 30 seconds. Ice cubes can accelerate the process and minimize the effort required to scrape the wax later. If the wax is new and malleable, cool it off with ice cubes for about one or two minutes.

Remember to discard the ice cubes: they're not safe for drinking anymore. Collect any water that has been melted from the ice cubes.

The right method boils down to what kind of wood floor you have, and how heavily it has been covered by wax. Just to be safe and start with the most gentle method first.

Be patient and repeat it a few times before going ahead with more complex removal solutions, which can be more effective but also may introduce harm to the finish of your wood floor.

How To Get Wax Off Hardwood Floors

How To Get Wax Off Wood Floor By Scrapping

This method doesn't make sure of any chemical solution and (ideally) leaves no damage to your hardwood floor.

  • Pop the wax off the surface using the edge of the scraper or credit card.

Do not gouge or press it hard against the floor. Keep the scraper in a position as flat as you can and push it just enough to break the hardened wax. A heavy hand can remove it faster but can also leave some ugly scratches behind.

  • When every noticeable bit of wax has been detached from the floor. Use your hand or a soft cloth to pick them up. Wipe the floor with the cloth.
  • If some small wax traces remain and your plastic scraper has no use with them, or if the wax has resulted in some stains, you may need to use a damp cloth with a white vinegar solution.

Distill your white vinegar with water (with a ratio of 1:2) and dip the cloth slightly in it. Wring and wipe it on the surface along the wood grain.

  • If the hints are so tiny that you can't scrub them off with anything, buff the area with furniture wax. It may sound counterintuitive but adding more wax may come to the rescue here. Furniture wax can buff a small spot and make it easier for you to notice and clean it.
  • Use another dry cloth to finish the job and remove any wax and liquid left. Allow for the wood floor to dry completely on its own.

How To Remove Wax From Wooden Floors With Solvents

Moving forward we will introduce some advanced wax removal methods that can work with wood floors. But as there are some risks involved, you also need a better understanding.

Let's get started with the common ingredients of wax, which determine which chemical agents can or can not help you with this task.

While the actual formulas vary, most wax products have a solvent and an emulsion of carnauba or paraffin, which is an extract from palm trees.

When the wax is applied, this solvent evaporates, leaving the wax coating on the surface. You can take advantage of this knowledge and make a solvent to dissolve the wax again, making it easier to wipe the wax off.

Compared to scraping it off with a scraper or a credit card, there are no scratches and (as long as you're mindful about the selection of solvent) damage to the finish of your wood floor.

Choose The Solvent

Many things can dissolve wax made from carnauba or paraffin. But you have to balance between their effectiveness and any potential they might cause to hardwood flooring.

Mineral spirits are the ideal choice accessible by most people. They work wonders because they're the environment where the wax is dissolved in the first place. Mineral spirits are widely used in wax products, thanks to the unique smell they give.

Your mineral spirits (white spirit) can have a new use

Your mineral spirits (white spirit) can have a new use

Lacquer thinners or acetone can make wax disappear faster. But they can also wreak havoc on your floor, so those strong solvents are out of the question.

Hot water is another option that many folks rely on to remove virtually anything they encounter on floors. While it can break down wax, especially when you mix it with washing powder, ammonia, vinegar, or other cleaning agents.

But generally, manufacturers of flooring don't recommend it. A hot water mixture should be handled with extreme care. Otherwise, the floor can suffer heavy damage when the hot water is left sitting for too long. It can seep through cracks into inner layers and swell them.

Commercial wax removers are available, which are designed especially for this task. But make sure to read the label and match the product with your floor. Many removers are intended for tile, linoleum, or vinyl flooring, not hardwood.

Finding the correct commercial remover for your wood floors can be a challenge. And the price might make the effort not worth it if you don't have that much wax to clean.

Overall, mineral spirits are still the best recommendation we can give, despite their limitations. You can find it in any hardware and home improvement store.

How To Removal Wax With Mineral Spirits

  • Find a spray bottle and fill it with mineral spirits. A condiment squirt bottle like a plastic ketchup bottle can also work.

Prefer odorless mineral spirits. Open the windows so the room is well ventilated. If you're sensitive to this organic compound, use a respirator.

  • Spray the mineral spirits onto the floor. Make sure the cracks, where a lot of wax can get in, are moistened enough with the solvent.
  • Use a dry cloth to clean the area gently along the wood grain while the floor is still wet. The mineral spirits should make the job a breeze by loosening the wax for you.

The wax should come off into the cloth. Replace the cloth with a clean one often whenever it shows signs of discoloration (typically a yellow hue).

  • If the solvent dries completely before you're done, wet the floor again until there is no wax residue left. When the whole cloth gets dirty, get a clean one and continue doing your job. It's a good sign meaning that the wax has been removed effectively.
  • For stubborn wax, you can use steel wool. Only see it as the last resort and clean with care to avoid damaging your delicate flooring.
  • Keep working on a section until there is no wax left. Move on to the next area (replace the cloth if needed).

Follow a logical pattern to keep track of the areas you have and have not treated.

  • Mop the floor with a dry and clean cloth. Don't let standing water sit on your floor for too long as it can damage the finish and inner construction with ease. Learn some tips on how to clean wooden floors here as well.
  • Leave the floor to dry completely before applying your finishing products. Make sure there are traces of wax when the finishing products are applied.

Wax residue can get in the way and reduce the level of adhesion. It can also clog sanding pads and sandpaper and make sanding more difficult.

How To Get Buildup Off Hardwood Floors With Heat

If some wax is still visible on your hardwood floor, you can go back to the basics and utilize it to melt wax and remove it in its liquid form. It's a quick fix with no chemicals involved.

An iron or hairdryer is both suitable. Keep the temperature to its lowest setting if you plan to use an iron. Turn off the steam mode as it can damage the hardwood. A hairdryer set on medium heat should provide you with the same removal capability.

  • Use a dry cloth to cover the stain. It should be much bigger than the wax stain so adjacent hardwood won't be affected by the direct heat your iron or hairdryer produces.
  • Place the iron directly on the cloth for about 10-20 seconds. If you use a hairdryer, keep some distance and direct the heat on the stain.
  • The wax should be heated and softened and you should be able to scrape it off with the cloth. Liquid wax absorbed into the cloth is the sign you can stop heating and remove every melted bit of wax.
  • Repeat this with the clean sections of the cloth until the stain is entirely gone. You can also scrape it with a credit card like the first method instead of the cloth.
  • Use a clean cloth to finish and polish the hardwood floor if necessary.

Tips On Protecting Hardwood Flooring From Wax Problems

How To Keep Candle Wax Way

While the wax isn't the hardest thing to remove from hardwood floors, you should avoid the issue in the first place, especially if you find yourself dealing with wax repeatedly. That way, you don’t need to learn how to get candle wax off of wood floors when accidents happen.

Keep the candles in a glass

Tall and slim candles are the biggest source of the problem. The wax runs off them easily, even though they can be a significant component of your indoor lighting.

On the other hand, candles in glass are simply much easier to handle and can contribute to the atmosphere as well.

Keep candles in a glass

Keep candles in a glass

Use some drip protection

Put a board or plate under your candles as extra protection for your floor and eliminate the need of removing candle wax from wood floors.

Don't blow them heavily

Blowing out candles in a reckless way, which can spill melted wax all over the place should be avoided as well. If you can't blow them out consistently without splattering wax, a snuffer can be useful.

Limit Traffic

Hardwood floors don't need special reinforcement to protect them against normal use. But wear and tear does happen and putting some limitations can reduce the times you need to know how to remove acrylic wax from hardwood floors.

As lovely as they are, children are a major cause of damage when it comes to hardwood flooring. For instance, peddles can get stuck in their wheeled toys and scratch your floor later. Keeping shoes outside can help too, for the same reason.

Lay Down Runners And Mats

Even if you don't have children or pets, runners and mats can still provide some benefits. Lay them down on some strategic areas like entryways, mudrooms, hallways, living rooms, and kitchens to protect your hardwood floors.

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Regardless of the reason you need to know how to get wax off hardwood floors, it should take you much time to learn. Don't panic when some wax gets dropped from your pretty candles or when the time for coating replacement has come. Stick to the right methods and you can keep your flooring freshened without damaging it.

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