How to Use Mineral Spirits to Remove Old Wax on Wooden Floors

A waxy buildup on your hardwood floor tends to mar the appearance of the floor. The wax traps dust and dirt, dulling the colors of the wood and making the surface appear old and in ill-repair. A simple method of stripping away the wax is to use mineral spirits. The solvent in mineral spirits breaks down the wax, dissolving the substance enough that you can then wipe it away with a cloth. It's a labor-intensive process of removal, but once completed, the floor is clear of the old wax and ready for a new finish that restores its shine.

Remove wax from hardwood floors with mineral spirits.

Step 1

Clean the floor with a dust mop to remove any dirt or debris. Work from the wall located furthest from the entrance of the room and sweep in a single direction only, toward that entrance, to avoid spreading dirt back over already-cleaned areas. Pick up the debris with a dust pan.

Step 2

Dampen a clean piece of cloth with mineral spirits. Spread out the damp cloth on the floor in a 3-by-3-foot section. Wait about three to five minutes for the mineral spirits in the cloth to penetrate the wax.

Step 3

Wipe the mineral spirits and the wax from the floor using a second damp rag. Examine the floor after wiping to determine if there is any further sign of the wax. If so, apply the mineral spirits a second time and use a piece of steel wool to scrub away any remaining wax.

Step 4

Clear away the wax one section of floor at a time until you've completely removed all traces of wax from the floor.

Step 5

Wash the floor with a wood floor cleanser and a mop to remove any residue of the mineral spirits. Rinse with clean water then pat the floor dry with a clean piece of cloth.