Wax buildup can so discolor a hardwood floor that some people, mistaking the darkness and yellowing for deterioration of the wood, unnecessarily refinish the floor. Old wax also gives vinyl and laminate floors a drab finish, and you may never regain the original vibrancy of these materials until you remove it. Several commercial wax removers are available, but you can make an effective remover at home with everyday cleaning supplies. You won't need bleach, but it should be stored well out of reach: Your homemade solution can be dangerous in combination with some of the cleaners you'll use.

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Vinyl and Tile Floors

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Step 1

Mix 1/2 cup of ammonia and 1 cup of laundry detergent in a gallon of warm water. Use a clean bucket that contains no bleach -- ammonia and bleach produce a poisonous gas when mixed together.

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Step 2

Mop the solution onto a section of the floor and let it sit. It should start to soften the wax after several minutes.

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Step 3

Scrub the area with a scrub brush or with very fine steel wool after the wax has softened. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands while scrubbing.

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Step 4

Mop the area again with cold water after you've scrubbed off all the wax, then dry the floor with a rag.

Hardwood Floors

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Step 5

Mix a cup of white vinegar with a gallon of warm water.

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Step 6

Soak a sponge in the solution and use it to wet down a section of the floor. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.

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Step 7

Leave the solution on the floor just long enough to dissolve the wax. As soon as the wax softens, wipe it off with a rag. You may have to repeat the procedure to get off all the wax.