Waxing hardwood floors is a chore that really sounds much worse than it is. While newer homes have hardwood floors with an easy to clean polyurethane finish, older homes have waxed hardwood floors that require a bit of maintenance to keep them looking great.
How do I know if I have waxed hardwood floors?
If you just moved into your home you may not know for certain how your hardwood floors are finished. There are a few easy ways to tell if waxing hardwood floors will need to be added to your chore list. First, run your fingers along the grain of the wood. Can you actually feel the grain, or is it below the surface? If you can feel the grain it is possible that you have waxed hardwood floors.
Next try putting a few drops of water on the floor in an inconspicuous location. After it dries look to see if there were any white spots left behind. This is also an indicator of waxed hardwood floors.
You can also take a pad of steel wool and gently rub it on your hardwood floors. If you see any type of waxy looking residue on the pad you probably are dealing with waxed hardwood floors!
Tip: If you have waxed hardwood floors you can't use any type of liquid cleaning product on them. Products like Murphy's Oil Soap, Swifter WetJet for wood floors, and Mop & Glo say right on the label that they are not designed for waxed hardwood floors. These products, and even water, can warp and damage your flooring!
Removing wood floor wax
Twice a year you will need to remove the wood floor wax. Your local hardware store, and possibly the grocery store, will sell wax removal products. The application instructions will vary with the different products that are available. Just remember to work in the direction of the wood grain and be patient!
Once all of your old wax has been removed you will have to apply a fresh coat of wax. Similarly to waxing a car, the wax on your floor will dry a hazy color signaling it is time to buff it off. Depending on the type of wood floor wax you have selected you may need more elbow grease with some than others!
Weekly waxed hardwood floor maintenance
In between your twice a year waxing you will still need to perform some hardwood floor maintenance. On a weekly basis you will need to sweep your floors free of any dirt, debris, and pet hair that have accumulated. This will prevent damage to your floor and it will keep your wax looking good.
The easiest way to sweep your floor is to invest in an inexpensive dry mop. The original Swifter dry mop is a great option, and the disposable pads are a great way to keep dust to a minimum in your home.