How to Wax Hardwood Floors like a Pro

Harold K. Hardesty
Harold is a Flooring Specialist at TheHouseWire, educating people on the flooring by writing guides about the topic. He is a well-seasoned flooring specialist with experience in the industry for nine years.
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Updated October 27, 2023

Find Out Just How Easy Waxing Hardwood Floors Can Be

How to Wax Hardwood Floors like a Pro

You always hear about waxing bodies before vacation, but we hardly get into the hype of the waxing hardwood floors conversation. 

Waxing hardwood floors can seal and protect your flooring— Iowa State University’s Extension and Outreach reports that most wood floors need to be re-waxed once or twice a year.

I have been in the industry for nine years, and I have seen too many of my clients forget the importance of waxing their floors or letting their wood get damaged by not taking care of it.

Most often, it’s because the task of waxing seems daunting, but I’m here to help.

Below are easy steps on how to wax your wood floors and differentiate which types of floor waxwork for you, like a seasoned pro.


Follow Wood Manufacturer Directions

Waxing wood floors shouldn’t mean hurting your floors, and so it is extremely important to read ahead of time about the type of wood you have and the finish label directions. 

What will help you the most is to invest in runners and nonskid rug pads under your rugs and carpets so that slick surfaces won’t cause any accidents.

Prepare Materials and Floors

You will be working with harsh chemicals, so it’s important to get some safety materials including knee pads (especially if you’re kneeling while applying), gloves, and a dust mask.

Also, be sure to move furniture away from where you are waxing and vacuum the room so no debris gets caught in your new wax.

Solid Paste Wax

If your floors are unvarnished hardwood, true linoleum, unfinished cork, or concrete, solid paste wax is your new best friend.

You will need to first wet a soft lint-free cloth made of cotton with warm water and then wring it in order to ensure too much wax absorption.

Be sure to then read the wax’s package instructions.

Once you’re ready, you can use the cloth to spread the wax gently and evenly (or as the package says) onto the wooden surface.

Prefer soft wax? Be sure to get the liquid-equivalent instead.

The waxed surface will begin to dry and you might notice that it might seem cloudy or murky.

This is when you can buff the surface until it shines with either an electric polisher, a clean towel you don’t mind using, or a sponge mop!

Be sure to never use a wet-mop, as Cornell Cooperative Extension reports, because that can “dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.

Liquid Oil (Or Liquid Wax)

Like I mentioned before, you might prefer liquid oil or liquid wax, and that’s great if your floors are unvarnished hardwood, linoleum, or unfinished cork.

The process for applying liquid oil or liquid wax to your floor is fairly the same; however,

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oil or liquid wax finish doesn’t last as long as the solid paste.
  • First, dampen a lint-free cotton cloth, a mop, or a pad of your chosen electric floor polisher, and once again,
  • spread the polish both evenly and gently, or as according to the directions on the package.

The solvent will then evaporate as the oil or wax dries and you will see that polish is left.

Once completely dry, it’s best for you to buff your wood floors with either a clean towel, a sponge mop, or a polisher, just like in the solid paste wax instructions!

Water-based Silicone

I’ve reached the last type of waxing: water-based silicone.

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You cannot use this type of polish if your floors are unsealed wood, cork, or linoleum.

If your floors are urethane-finished, this is the only type of wax for you.

Your first step is to moisten a clean mop head and then evenly distribute some polish onto the mop and some polish onto the floor.

Be sure that when applying the polish, you do so in multiple thin coats as that makes it easier to dry, and apply it evenly so the liquid doesn’t bubble.

Once the polish dries, buff the floor with either the clean towel, the sponge mop, or polisher, and apply a second and third coat, buffing after each.

It’s that simple, and the results are just amazing! Your floors will look as good as new.

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I want to hear from you…

I hope you liked my guide on how to wax hardwood floors.

Now I would like your feedback— have you tried my methods?

How did your waxing experience go?

Let me know in the comments below.

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