Best non-ammonia remover for crusty wax buildup on wood?

lazy_gardensMay 31, 2013

You have seen that crusty old excess wax on hardwood floors ... where they swabbed it on and didn't buff because it was next to furniture or under a bad. Or the result of way too many layers.

What's the least stinky solvent to get the stuff off? And maybe even leave the old varnish intact?

DO NOT SUGGEST AMMONIA, PLEASE! This is wood floor and it will turn black with ammonia.

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Try mineral spirits (but it's quite stinky, too and the rags and pads are flammable while still wet with it).

I can't imagine why anyone would suggest ammonia for the kind of wax that's typically used on wood. Ammonia works on the gunk referred to as "wax" that's applied to linoleum/vinyl sheet flooring.

But wood floor wax is much different. Or at least it ought to be unless you have been using the vinyl floor "wax" on your hardood. If that's case, then I don't know.

I use Butcher's Bowling Alley wax on my waxed wood floors. Mineral spirits (or turps) dissolve it easily. A floor buffer with scrubbie or steel wool pads is used to ease the elbow grease needed. It can't be "slopped on" when being applied as it is not liquid so you may be dealing with another type of product. Look at the orginal container and see what is described as a thinner or cleaner for it. That will give a hint as to what to use to remove it.

You can also try applying another thin coat and allowing it to soften the lower layers and then buffing like mad with a heavy machine to spread out the under stuff.

Try stuff in a corner and see what works.



    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Elbow grease.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:49AM
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"Try mineral spirits (but it's quite stinky, too and the rags and pads are flammable while still wet with it). "

Buy the more expensive 'deodorized' mineral spirits.

It should not touch the varnish, but should strip most waxes.

Use plastic scrub brush and a lot of ventilation.

Mineral spirits are flammable (and even though you cannot smell them can cause dizziness if you breath enough of the vapor).

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:27AM
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The "original container"? That floor hadn't seen the light of day since 1992.

Thanks, I'll try mineral spirits - I have the deodorized kind, I think. It's just been a long project and my brain is totally fried.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Tes in an inconspicuous area first!

I wonder if the old iron trick for getting wax out of carpet might work - lay down newspaper and iron it, wax transfers to paper?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:03AM
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