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How to remove ski wax on wood floor

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Parts of my wood floor are very very slippery from ski wax.  I think a little gets on people's socks and when they walk around it waxes the floor.  I read on this forum some tips for keeping the wax from getting onto the floor, but I've already got wax on the floor and I'm looking for recommendations to remove it.  I tried a standard floor wax remover (I forget the brand) but it didn't seem to do anything.  Any suggestions?

post #2 of 17
Thanks for asking the question; my living room is getting exciting for both me and the cat. I've started using a hand vac as I scrape, but most of the damage is done.

OTOH, the floors do look good.

ETA: I said thanks not because I know the answer, but because I hope someone else does.
post #3 of 17
Is your floor varnished? If yes maybe try kerosene, do it in summer with windows open, and don't smoke.
post #4 of 17

They make cleaners for waxed wooden floors that will strip the wax or just use mineral spirits. Hopefully there is a film finish on your floor--polyurethane, lacquer, varnish. If it's bare wood or just an oil finish, which is not likely, the dye in the wax might soak into the wood. Your local hardware store or home store should be able to fix you up. You could use ski wax stripper as well but that would be more pricey.

post #5 of 17

At least it ain't a carpet. :eek

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have a film finish on my floor, so I'm not worried about it soaking in.

post #7 of 17

If you have wooden floors with a pre-done finish or laminate, there are cleaners like Bruce. I find it is best to prevent it from getting onto the floor - dedicated wax shoes, drop cloths, etc.

post #8 of 17
It should disappear after a few days of skiing. Question is - how are your floor edges?
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post

Is your floor varnished? If yes maybe try kerosene, do it in summer with windows open, and don't smoke.

 

Close but kerosene is terrible for odor and is flammable.  If you can find it get Bruce Clean 'n' Strip.  It's made for cleaning wax residual from wood floors without damaging the finish, and it has very mild odor and low flammability.   Kind of a weird question on a ski forum.  Anyway, I used to have wood floors with a wax finish, and this stuff was what we used for periodic cleaning.

post #10 of 17
Stoddard solvent. I might see if I have some mineral spirits, but frankly it's probably better to let it just wear off over time instead of spreading solvents around at home. I've had far more than my share of exposure to nasty substances already.

ETA: I meant, Bruce's is Stoddard solvent, which is like mineral spirits.
post #11 of 17

Don't  know about the floor, but the technique for removing wax from clothing might work.  Place a brown paper bag over it, iron the bag and the wax will stick to it and come off the material.

post #12 of 17

Scrape with plastic scraper, use *grey* scrubbing pad (not green, not maroon, not white) to clean.     All those others have coarser grit while the white is ineffective (no grit).

 

    You can douse the pad with your cleaner of choice, but it works well enough when dry. 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

Scrape with plastic scraper, use *grey* scrubbing pad (not green, not maroon, not white) to clean.     All those others have coarser grit while the white is ineffective (no grit).

 

    You can douse the pad with your cleaner of choice, but it works well enough when dry. 

Based on my experience finishing wood furniture (and one floor) I'd stay away from the pad--the scrubbed area will likely have a duller gloss than the rest of the floor. Bruce Clean and Strip that was mentioned above was what we use to strip our old wood floors. We also have an engineered wood kitchen floor that we clean with a spray --currently Bona, before that I think it was a bruce product--I don't know if that stuff will dissolve wax though. The Clean and Strip and mineral spirits definitely will work. If you're worried about solvents open the windows, ventilate with a fan, wear a respirator. Personally I wouldn't be concerned about the limited use we are talking about.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

Scrape with plastic scraper, use *grey* scrubbing pad (not green, not maroon, not white) to clean.     All those others have coarser grit while the white is ineffective (no grit).

 

    You can douse the pad with your cleaner of choice, but it works well enough when dry. 

Based on my experience finishing wood furniture (and one floor) I'd stay away from the pad--the scrubbed area will likely have a duller gloss than the rest of the floor. Bruce Clean and Strip that was mentioned above was what we use to strip our old wood floors. We also have an engineered wood kitchen floor that we clean with a spray --currently Bona, before that I think it was a bruce product--I don't know if that stuff will dissolve wax though. The Clean and Strip and mineral spirits definitely will work. If you're worried about solvents open the windows, ventilate with a fan, wear a respirator. Personally I wouldn't be concerned about the limited use we are talking about.

 

 

:-)   IME and FWIW, some of the solvents mentioned above will permanently haze both acrylic (photoflash type flooring) and oil finishes - the grey pads have only barely enough abrasive to do any sort of scrub effect, less abrasive than the general grit embedded in most shoe soles really. 

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by scott216 View Post

Parts of my wood floor are very very slippery from ski wax.  I think a little gets on people's socks and when they walk around it waxes the floor.  I read on this forum some tips for keeping the wax from getting onto the floor, but I've already got wax on the floor and I'm looking for recommendations to remove it.  I tried a standard floor wax remover (I forget the brand) but it didn't seem to do anything.  Any suggestions?
The OP has the same problem I do: a thin film wax has been rubbed into the floor by people walking around in their socks (or even shoes), the way you would wax furniture or your car. Chances are there's no visible, scrape-able or fibertex-able wax, so what's needed is some solution to remove the film.

I have no intention of wiping down my living room floor with petroleum based solvents. I'll try very hot water with Mr. Clean or Citra-Solv to see if it at least spreads the wax thin enough to not cause excessive slipperiness. If that doesn't work I'll wait for it to wear off.
post #16 of 17

Mineral spirits is relatively low volatility and hazard index, and a very effective and safe cleaner for wood.  It is a great prep for raw wood staining and finishing, which is why I recommended it.  Water is also a solvent, but it is absorbed by wood fiber, and causes swelling and can result in discoloration and expansion of fibers that results in "fuzz".  Mineral spirits cleans without being absorbed by the wood.  Trust me, the results are just better than any water based solvent.

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

 

 

:-)   IME and FWIW, some of the solvents mentioned above will permanently haze both acrylic (photoflash type flooring) and oil finishes - the grey pads have only barely enough abrasive to do any sort of scrub effect, less abrasive than the general grit embedded in most shoe soles really. 

I've been using mineral spirits on oil and acrylic varnish finishes for decades. The Clean n Strip has been used on a wood floor last finished in the 1930's. If you have any concern the standard advice is to test on an out of sight area--in a closet, under the sofa, etc.

 

I use gray pads and white pads to rub out film and oil finishes. Both will definitely dull a gloss finish.

 

Or do what Bruce suggests: 

Chewing Gum and Candle Wax

  • Apply a sealed plastic bag filled with ice on top of the deposit.
  • Wait until deposit becomes brittle enough to crumble off.
  • After deposit has been removed, clean entire area with Armstrong Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner or Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner.

But this is for getting off a gob of wax--it won't help with a thin widespread film .

 

I see no problem with using a damp cloth or sponge with Mr Clean or Citrasolv on an intact wood finsh, other than oil or shellac, but I certainly wouldn't use a mop or let water stand on the floor and I would dry promptly. How well these products will work on wax I have no idea. I emphasize intact--if the floor is solid wood that's been finished after the floor was installed the film finish will seal the joints between the boards. However, with a prefinished solid or engineered floor the joints are open and water will get in. The water will cause the wood to expand. Since the pieces of wood are already touching when they expand the wood fibers will be permanently crushed and when the floor dries out there will be gaps between the boards. Also the tongue and groove pieces will be crushed and when the floor dries the joints will be loose--allowing the pieces to move and squeak when you step on them.

 

Water based products are not automatically safer than petroleum based--hydrochloric acid, oven clean, and drain cleaner are all water based. So is hydroflouric acid, a la Breaking Bad.

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