How To Strip And Wax Floors

Waxed floors

Fresh wax

To preserve your floors’ general appearance and shape, it is best to regularly strip and wax. How often you should strip and wax depends on a lot of factors such as how well you take care of your floors, how busy your facility is, the type of facility, the quality of strip and wax that was last done, and more. There are some telltale signs you should look out for. These include discoloration, break-up of the old wax in various spots, and significant reduction in gloss after buffing/burnishing floors. Sometimes, it will be obvious to all and sundry that floors need new coat of wax. So how do you go about stripping and waxing?


General principle of stripping and waxing floors is pretty much the same although you may see slight variations of how people go about doing it. But first lets explain what is entailed in stripping and waxing floors. Before you wax floors you must strip old wax. Once you strip the wax, the floors will look like as if they were never waxed. You then apply a new coat of wax. Remember, stripping and waxing is both capital and labor intensive. You will need a number of equipment pieces, a stripper and floor finish (wax) to get the job done. Needless to say, stripping and waxing floors (especially for a large area) should be done by experienced hands. There is hefty cost associated with doing a poor job at stripping and waxing because you didn’t entrust the job with professionals. With that being said, here are steps involved in stripping and waxing:


  1. Determine the area to be stripped and waxed. You may not be able to strip and wax your entire facility in one day. It is OK to strip and wax in smaller sections. Once you determine the area to be stripped and waxed, cordon it off. Place caution signs at appropriate places.
  2. Gather all your equipment and solutions. You will need a stripper. Consult with your local janitorial supplies store for a stripper appropriate for your floor type. You will also need a wax. You will absolutely need a scrubber to lift off the old wax during the stripping. In addition, you will need 1 mop for applying stripper on floor and 1 mop for applying wax. You may also need utility scrub brush and putty knife.
  3. Next, dust mop/sweep area to be waxed. Make sure you thoroughly dust mop the area.
  4. Prepare your stripper by mixing appropriate ratios of water:stripper. Liberally apply the stripper on area to be waxed. Ensure that you apply stripper liberally so that it doesn’t dry on you while stripping.
  5. Start stripping by using the scrubber machine. Adjust how fast you’re stripping based on how easy the old wax is coming off. If the old wax is coming off slowly, slow down. You may have to repeat this process several times if you can not strip all the old wax in the first round. Using utility scrub brush or putty knife, strip the edges where the scrubber can not reach.
  6. Using auto scrubber or wet vac, pick up stripper solution off the floors. Using a wet mop, pick any remaining stripper solution on the floor.
  7. Once the floor is completely dry, apply a coat of wax. Make sure the area is well ventilated. You can use fans to speed up the drying processes but you must NOT point the fans at the wax. Apply at least 2 coats of wax. Ideally, you want to apply about 3-5 coats of wax for really nice glossy looking floors.

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