What to Do If You Over-Wax Your Floors, According to a Cleaning Pro

published Mar 15, 2023
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Whether you have vinyl, linoleum, or hardwood floors, waxing is an important way to keep them in tip-top shape. On top of hiding all those pesky scuffs and scratches, wax can help prevent your floors from absorbing spills, which can stave off long-term stains. The result? Hopefully shiny, clean-looking flooring for years to come. 

As with any other household maintenance, it’s important to exercise caution when you wax your floors. Following the right steps when you wax — and avoiding certain mistakes in the process — can help ensure your floors are protected while preventing them from looking dingy. 

Using too much wax, for example, can cause discoloration on your floors, leading them to look yellow even when they’re completely clean. Luckily, as annoying as it is to over-wax, it’s often a reversible problem. Here’s exactly what to do if you over-wax your floors, according to Angela Lee, a residential cleaning expert at Hellamaid in Ontario, Canada.

What to Do If You Over-Wax Your Floors

Don’t panic — it may take a bit, but that wax won’t be there forever. If you notice any visible clumps of excess wax on the floor, use a plastic scraper or credit card to gently scrape it off. It may help to use a warm, damp cloth on the wax and let it sit for a few minutes to soften it. 

Once you remove the visible wax, use a buffing machine or a soft cloth to buff the over-waxed area. “This will help remove any excess wax and distribute the remaining wax evenly,” Lee says. When you’re done, mop and dry your floors.

If your entire floor is covered in waxy buildup, then you’ll need to take a few extra steps — and which steps you take depends on what kind of floors you have. 

How to Remove Wax from Hardwood Floors 

Odorless mineral spirits, which you can find at a hardware store, are your best bet for removing wax buildup from wood floors. Simply wet a cloth with the spirits and rub the floor in the direction of the wood grain. Clean the cloth and add more mineral spirits as needed until you’re finished. 

If wax remains, you can douse a Grade 0000 steel wool pad in mineral spirits to remove wax from the grain. To finish, mop your wood floor with clean water. 

Remember: When it comes to wax, prevention is always better than finding a cure later on. So next time you wax your floors, always follow the instructions on the label and apply the wax in thin, even layers to avoid over-waxing in the first place. And if you’re unsure about how to remove wax from your floors or concerned about damaging them, it’s always a good idea to enlist an expert. “A professional cleaning company can help you remove the wax safely and effectively,” Lee says. 

How to Remove Wax from Linoleum, Vinyl, or Tile Floors 

These types of floors can withstand stronger chemicals, such as ammonia and detergent. In a gallon of warm water, combine 3/4 cup ammonia and 1 cup of laundry detergent, and mop the solution on your floor. (Reminder: Never mix ammonia with harsh cleaning products like bleach, and don’t use this mixture on wood floors.) 

Let the ammonia mixture sit on your over-waxed floor for 10 or 15 minutes. Then, use a clean scrub brush to scrub the solution off the floor. Finish by mopping with clean water. Repeat the process as needed.