Keep Your Hardwood Floors Beautiful with Wax

Hardwood floors are an investment. Keeping them beautiful requires a bit of maintenance on your part, including regular waxing. With the right materials and techniques, you can keep your hardwood floors looking like new for years to come.

Wax Basics

Walk up and down the cleaning aisle of your local big box or home improvement store, and you will see many choices when it comes to your hardwood floors. Wax is the best choice when it comes to sealing and protecting your wood. There are two types of wax for unvarnished hardwood floors; which you choose depends solely on your personal preference. If your floors have already been varnished or sealed, choose a liquid polish instead of a wax.

Solid Paste

Solid paste wax is often found in a can or plastic tub, much like the wax you apply to your vehicle. This type of wax is an excellent choice for unvarnished hardwood floors and is best applied by hand.

Grab an old T-shirt or other lint-free cloth. Run the cloth under your faucet and wring it so that it feels almost dry to the touch. Dip a corner of the cloth into the wax and apply it lightly over your floor. Move your cloth in small circles, applying a thin, even coating. Let the wax dry to a cloudy finish, and buff your floor with a clean towel.


Liquid Wax

If you would prefer to use a sponge mop instead of getting on your hands and knees, liquid wax is the right choice. In most cases, liquid wax can be squirted directly onto an unvarnished hardwood floor and spread into an even layer with a dampened sponge mop. Alternatively, you can squeeze a small amount of liquid wax onto your mop’s head and then spread it on the floor.

Apply the wax in a thin layer, covering the entire floor. Allow the wax to dry to a hazy finish. Cover the head of your sponge mop with a dry, lint-free towel, and “mop” the floor to a shine. For best results, remove the towel from the mop, fold it or adjust it so that you are working with a clean section, and re-attach it to the mop’s head. Continue buffing in this manner until the entire floor shines.


Unlike wax, polish is applied to sealed floors to help maintain a shine. Pour a bit of polish onto both your floor and onto a lint-free cloth or sponge mop. Spread the polish over your floor in a thin, even layer and allow it to dry. Buff the floor with a clean, dry, lint-free towel. The key to using polish properly is applying several thin coats, particularly to high-traffic areas. Three coats are typically sufficient for most floors.

It does not make sense to invest your money in hardwood floors if you do not plan on maintaining them. Floors need to be waxed once or twice yearly, on average. When your floor refused to hold a shine after you clean it, it is time to wax or polish your hardwood.

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