Home » How do you Wax Hardwood Floors (DIY)

How do you Wax Hardwood Floors (DIY)

Are you the proud owner of a classic hardwood floor?

Is your floor losing its shine and becoming dull?

Maybe you've seen other hardwood floors shining like new and you wonder why your floors don't shine as much. Want to know why? Wax is why.

This leads to the million-dollar question – Are you supposed to wax hardwood floors?

Not all hardwood floors need wax.

Most modern floors have a protective layer of polyurethane or other finish coat that protects the hardwood floor from potential damage. 

Waxing these floors will interfere in the re-coating process and should be avoided.

Before you decide to wax your hardwood floor, make sure it's suitable for wax to begin with. To check out our DIY guide to knowing your floor's coat, look at our FAQ section under the product review section. 

waxing hardwood floors

How to Wax Hardwood Floors

If you know your floor is right for a wax coat, follow along as we delve into the waxing process. 

Waxing your hardwood floor is an easy job. You can do it all by yourself without spending a dime on hiring an expert.

You will have to incur some material cost for the task. All your efforts will pay off in the form of a shiny, brand-new look for your hardwood floor. 

Step 1: Get your wax ready

To wax your hardwood floor, you will need to decide which type is right for your floors. 

There are three forms in which wax for hard floor floors are available:

Solid paste wax – If you are a fan of the old rustic look of real wood, this wax is your perfect fit. It is the same wax your grandfather may have used.

It's an excellent choice if you're looking to save time time and money. It doesn’t need much time in its application and drying, and adheres to the floor surface quickly. On top of that, it's inexpensive.

Solid paste wax has some points to note.

You’ll need to give your floor some touch-ups from time to time to keep the shine up-to-date. 

Only apply a solid paste wax if your floor is an unvarnished hardwood or an unfinished cork or non-wood surfaces like linoleum or concrete. However, you simply can’t use a solid wax on vinyl, urethane-finished, or no-wax floors. 

If you are going for a solid wax, be ready to shell out a minimum of $10 for a 16-ounce can. The can contains a thick consistency mixture of a solvent and the wax as there is more wax than solvent in it.

Liquid wax – called oil wax, this form is easier to apply than solid wax because you don’t have to be fastidious in its even application. This saves time and effort waxing the floor. 

Liquid wax comes in three options to suit individual preferences; glossy, semi-glossy, and matte finish.

Liquid wax adheres to the same types of floors that solid paste wax does. Coat it on unfinished cork, unvarnished hardwood, concrete, or linoleum and avoid vinyl, urethane-finished, and no-wax floors.

To get your floor liquid waxed, a 32 ounce can or bottle would cost you around $15. The liquid is of a thin consistency due to more solvent in the wax. This helps spread the wax.

Moisture-based wax – This variety is a water-based silicone wax and is heavy-duty in terms of durability.

It lasts for a long time compared to solid and liquid wax. It acts as a shield for the hardwood floor beneath, protecting it from scratches and scuffs.

However, these waxes can give a white tinge to hardwood floors.

If you choose this option, beware of the volatile scent it releases during application.

You may prefer a professional’s help if you choose this route.

Moisture-based wax works differently on the type of floor it adheres to. It works with vinyl, urethane-finished floors but is unsuitable for unsealed hardwood, cork, or linoleum floors.

Step 2: Preparing your hardwood floor

Things you'll need handy

  • Gloves: Important to protect your hands from chemicals in the wax paste.
  • Dust mask: Will prevent you from inhaling all the fumes released while waxing.
  • Knee pads: Since you are going to kneel while applying the solid wax paste, wearing knee pads will make kneeling scratch-free and painless.
  • Putty knife: Needed to apply the solid wax paste.
  • Lint-free cloth: Helps in the best application of solid wax paste. Lint-free cloth prevents sealing lint between the layers of wax during application.
  • Sponge mop: Will come in handy if you have chosen liquid wax over the solid one.
  • Bucket: Will make floor cleaning much easier and quicker.
  • Buffing pads: Required for a final touch up after each waxing coat. Buffing is an important step to add sheen to your wax layer.
  • Polishing brush (optional): Needed only in case you are performing motorized buffing instead of a manual. Choose a fine brush to get the best buffing results.

What to do 

  1. Clear the area you want to apply wax to. Remove all furniture to some other place.
  2. Strip the previous layer of wax off the floor first. To get rid of wax from hardwood floors, dampen the old cloth with wax stripping agent or mineral spirits. Rub the cloth on the floor to remove the old wax layer. Keep the room properly ventilated allow fumes to escape.
  3. Vacuum the area to catch loose dirt and dust and clean the floor surface.
  4. Mop the floor with a damp cloth to ensure that no dust particles settle under the new wax coating. Do not forget to use a lint-free cloth to wipe off the surface for a clean look.

Step 3: Waxing the hardwood floor

Working with solid paste wax: 

  1. Apply a little wax paste to a white terry-cloth rag or a cheesecloth. 
  2. Rub the cloth over your floor in a circular motion if you have a patterned hardwood floor. Follow along the grain of wood in case of wooden planks.
  3. Let the wax dry as per the instructions described on the wax package. 
  4. Buff the floor with your hands using a dry pad or use a buffing machine for the process.
  5. Your hardwood floor is now ready and should look like new!

Working with liquid wax:

  1. Dab a terry-cloth with a thin layer of liquid wax. 
  2. Rub it in the direction of your wood’s grain to ensure even spreading of wax all over your hardwood floor.
  3. Once you covered the whole surface, let the wax dry as per the time mentioned on its package.
  4. Buff the floor with a dry pad or a buffing machine.
  5. Apply another thin layer of wax for a double layer of protection. 
  6. Let the second layer dry.
  7. Buff your hardwood floor again to bring out its shine.

Working with water-based silicone wax:

  1. Apply the water-based silicone wax with a foam brush or latex paint pad applicator.
  2. Rub it in the direction of your wood’s grain to enhance the natural wood texture.
  3. Let the wax dry as per the time mentioned on its package.
  4. Buff the floor with a dry pad or a buffing machine to bring its luster out.

What is the best wax for hardwood floors?

Here are top of the class wax brands you should note:

OUR TOP PICK

Minwax Available 609604444 Hardwood Floor Reviver, 32 ounce, Low Gloss

Minwax reviver is perfect for renewing the beauty of your dull and scuffed hardwood floor. It adds a top layer of protection to your unwaxed wood floor with a polyurethane finish.

Features:

  • Minwax Reviver refreshes hardwood floors that are dull, scratched or lightly worn-out.
  • Application doesn’t require sanding or other special preparation — you just need to squirt it onto the floor and spread with an application tool.
  • Restores luster to your beautiful hardwood floor.
  • Minwax offers an easy single-coat application.
  • More durable than a regular floor polish.
  • Water-based formula that makes the floor easy to clean.
  • Choose between a low-gloss or a high-gloss variant.
  • Does not alter the color of your floor and leaves a crystal-clear finish.
  • Protects your hardwood floor for up to 6 months.

Product Details

Sheens: High-gloss and Low-gloss

Application tools: Painter’s pad or synthetic applicator

Dry time: Two hours for light foot traffic and 24 hours for replacing furniture

Coverage: Approximately 175-225 sq. ft. per quart

VOC Content: Maximum VOC of 275 g/L

Minwax hardwood floor reviver is not for you if your floor is unfinished, newly finished, waxed, oiled, laminated or coated with finishes other than polyurethane.

EDITORS CHOICE

Dura Seal Durafinish Liquid Floor Wax - Neutral - Gallon

Durafinish is a liquid wax blend that adds a satin luster to your hardwood floor.

It is used as a finish coat or to restore the color and shine of your worn-out wax finish. 

Features:

  • Works effectively on all surface-coated floors leaving wax-based finishes as an exception.
  • Choose between a Neutral and a Coffee Brown variant.
  • Can also be used over unglazed tiles.
  • Adds a satin luster to your previously sealed or stained hardwood floors.
  • Can be used both as a finishing coat or as a maintenance product.
  • Seals your wood floor well providing it exceptional durability.
  • Contains a rich blend of oil and resin to provide a superior finish to your floor.
  • Can be used with or without a finish coat, saving your time.
  • Has been designed to dry in merely two hours.
  • Periodic buffing renews the floor with a new-like shine.

Product Details

Variants: Neutral and Coffee-Brown

Application tools: Synthetic Applicator

Dry time: Two hours for light foot traffic and 24 hours for replacing furniture

Coverage: Approximately 2000 sq. ft. per gallon

An additional application of DuraSeal might be required for areas receiving high traffic.

To clean up the equipment used while waxing your floor with Durafinish, use paint thinner, turpentine or mineral spirits.

Regular maintenance with a vacuum, dry cloth, or dust mop is suggested to remove dust and debris from the floor.  

Precautions:

  • Do not varnish over Durafinish.
  • Not to be used over rubber or asphalt tile.
  • Do not adulterate or perform thinning with any substance.
  • Do not freeze.

BEST VALUE

Howard Feed-n-Wax Wood Polish & Conditioner Beeswax Polish 16oz (2)

Feed-N-Wax is an original blend of Beeswax, Brazilian Carnauba wax, mineral oil, and orange oil to provide you with a perfect solution for all your polishing needs.

It enhances the natural beauty of your wood while preventing it from decay and damage. It also adds depth of grain in all woods whether finished or unfinished. 

Howard Feed-N-Wax Polish keeps the wood from drying out, fading, and cracking. Use it when wood starts to look faded or dry.

Features:

  • Polishes all wood surfaces to a soft luster.
  • Introduces conditioning oils to the hardwood floor that help keep the wood from drying and fading. Can also be used on antiques, dining tables, kitchen cabinets, wood doors, trims, etc.
  • Enhances the natural beauty and depth of your wood’s grain in both finished and unfinished wood. 
  • Prevents further drying of your wood floor and deterioration of your finish.
  • Adds a protective coating of Carnauba Wax and Beeswax to your hardwood floor.
  • Is a perfect follow-up for your newly restored wood finish to maintain its beauty for years to come.

Wood in the wild is kept moist by trees.

Feed-N-Wax mimics the act by introducing natural oils into it, extending the life of your hardwood floor.   

RUNNER UP

Ultra HIGH Gloss 33% Solids Floor Finish Wax - 1 Gallon (More Durable, Less Coats, Less Labor)

Seeking that long-lasting, high-gloss wax coating for your hardwood floors?

Professionals swear by the 33% solid acrylic floor wax and sealer from Simoniz, which dries quickly and leaves a diamond-like shine you’ll be proud of.

Requiring half the coats of a traditional floor product, Simoniz will help save plenty of time on what used to be a whole afternoon of work with the quick and easy application process, offering a lasting shine using patented polymer technology.

Your floors will be armored with scuff and scratch resistance, protected by a water-tight seal. Even if you have furry friends or little ones, your hardwood will be shiny and lustrous for weeks and months to come.

Buffing your wood floors helps it to look brand new. You can also use this wax on vinyl tile, linoleum, sealed wood, terrazzo, concrete, and rubber.

You only need one product to get the job done.

Available as one bottle or a four-gallon case, you’ll be armed with wax versatile enough for the toughest polishing, excellent for rejuvenating floors.

Offices, schools, supermarkets, hotels… if you’ve got a floor that needs shining up, look to Simoniz.

RUNNER UP

Weiman Wood Floor Polish and Restorer - 32 Ounce - High-Traffic Hardwood Floor, Natural Shine, Removes Scratches, Leaves Protective Layer, Packaging May Vary

Weiman has been providing high-quality wood care products since 1941.

Weiman Hardwood Floor High Traffic Polish & Restorer restores the natural suppleness and shine of your hardwood floor leaving it looking like new.

Features:

  • Versatile and can be used on any finished hardwood surface.
  • Micro-filling technology removes visible scratches from your wood surface.
  • Rejuvenates your hardwood floor with a like-new shine without leaving any sticky residue.
  • Removes greasy messes, dirt, and grime from your hardwood floor finish.
  • Forms a protective scratch-resistant layer over your hardwood floor.
  • Can be used around kids and pets without causing them any harm.

If you prefer to have a glossier shine, apply multiple coats of Weiman wood floor polish and restorer.

Allow  45 minutes in between coats and do not apply more than three coats in 24 hours. 

It is not recommended to use this product on unfinished and unsealed wood floors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you tell if there is wax on hardwood floors?

To give your old hardwood floor a new look and finish, it is essential to know the old finish it contains.

The previous coating might interrupt the process of new coating and all your efforts might go in vain.

To know whether there is wax on your hardwood floor, run your hand on the surface of your floor. 

If you can feel the texture of your wood’s grain, the floor has probably been coated with a penetrating oil or wax.

To further test the coating, rub an edge of a coin on an inconspicuous area of your hardwood floor.

If you find wax buildup on the coin, you can be sure of a wax coating on your floor. 

How often should you wax your hardwood floors?

It is important to wax your hardwood floor to maintain its beautiful shine. The frequency of waxing your floor depends on the amount of traffic your floor receives. 

If your hardwood floor receives high traffic, consider applying wax to it every six months. On the other hand, if your floor does not receive much traffic, you can wax every twelve to eighteen months, depending on the wear and tear you observe.

It is recommended by experts to wax your hardwood floor at least every 36 months, even if you do not observe any visible scratches. It builds a protective layer on your hardwood floor and prevents the occurrence of any dullness.

How do you clean waxed wood floors naturally?

Taking care of beautiful things require ample time and effort.

If you want to maintain the luster of your waxed wood floors, you need to follow a regular cleaning routine that keeps your floor protected from the scratches that originate from the dust particles.

There are a few natural ways to clean up your waxed wood floors. Let us discuss them in detail to find out the best one for you.

Vacuum cleaning

The most commonly used cleaning method for your hardwood floor is vacuum cleaning.

Vacuum all the dust and dirt from your wood surface to prevent any dullness. Use the dust brush attachment for efficient cleaning.

Dry mopping

Your hardwood floor might get damaged from water. Even sealed floors are at risk of damage from water.

It is recommended to mop the floor with a clean, dry cloth to remove all the dirt and debris. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a microfiber cloth pad for wiping.

Cleaning with a damp cloth

Don't use a soaking wet cloth to clean your hardwood floor. A damp cloth can help remove the smallest particles of dust from your floor.

You can either sit down on your knees to carry out the process or use a spin mop. A spin mop is damp enough to work with the wood surface.  

Dish soap and water

Using a dish soap or castile soap is effective for cleaning your hardwood floor. Mix a few drops of liquid soap in four to five cups of warm water to make a cleaning solution.

Scrub your hardwood floor with the solution applied to a mop. Dry the area with a clean mop or cloth to soak up any excess water from the surface.  

All the stains and discolorations can be removed from your hardwood floor with this natural cleaning method.

Cleaning solution

Use a floor cleaning solution that is recommended by the floor finisher. It will be gentle on the finish and prevent scraping of the protective layer.

Do not forget to test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area before you proceed with the whole of your hardwood floor.

If you love the results on the test area, continue using the professional cleaning solution.

Useful Tips:

  • Cover a small area at a time to ensure that water does not sit on your wood's surface.
  • Mop at least once a week for a high traffic area. Vacuuming daily can help collect all dust and dirt.
  • Mop a low traffic area once a month, and vacuum once a week. 
  • While cleaning, remember to clean from top to bottom in every room. If you clean the floor first and your table later, the dust from the table will fall on your floor. So, leave the floor for last.
  • Instantly wipe up spills with a damp cloth and dry the surface with a clean cloth.
  • Don’t use oils or furniture sprays for cleaning. It will either leave a sticky residue or create a slippery surface on your hardwood floor.
  • Using ammonia or alkaline products to clean your wood floor makes it look dull. If you want to maintain your hardwood floor’s luster, stay away from these cleaners.
  • Using lemon juice or vinegar-based solution to clean your floor is detrimental to your floor’s sealing. Do not use these cleaning agents as they will damage the protective layer of your hardwood floor.
  • If you are using soap and water to clean your hardwood floor, use a pH-neutral soap like liquid dishwasher soap or similar that is not harsh on the wood floors.
  • Do not place the bucket containing the cleaning solution over your waxed wood floor. It will leave permanent marks in the form of rings and stains on your floor.
  • Consider keeping floor mats or rugs in the doorway so that most of the dirt gets trapped in before you step on your precious hardwood floor. It will also ensure to soak up any water from your footwear.
  • To keep your hardwood floor scratch-free, always lift the furniture while shifting it from one place to another rather than dragging it.

Conclusion

Hardwood floors can last for many decades if you take good care of them.

Other than adding value to your home, wood floors are natural and stunning.

Waxing or polishing helps restore them and makes them look new.

Leave a Comment