It’s essential to regularly strip and wax your hard floors to ensure they look professional and remain protected from long-term wear and tear. The stripping and waxing process keeps floors clean and strong, improving the appearance of your business. While stripping removes embedded dirt and deep scratches, waxing seals the new, stripped layer and makes it shiny and fresh-looking.

What Types of Floors Can You Strip and Wax?

Most types of commercial hard flooring can be stripped and waxed. Areas that see lots of foot traffic need regular maintenance to keep them clean and prevent damage, so stripping and waxing certain flooring in said spaces is necessary.

These are some types of floors you can strip and wax:

  • Vinyl composite tile (VCT)
  • Wood
  • Tile
  • Marble
  • Linoleum
  • Rubber
  • Cork

VCT, tile and linoleum can endure stripping without specialized solutions. Other floor materials may require special floor cleaning. If you’re looking into stripping and waxing care, contact a professional to determine whether your flooring is serviceable. Specialists will examine your floor and apply the correct cleaners to avoid damaging it.

How to Strip the Floor

Before stripping, carefully clean and dry your flooring. Ensure the cleaner you use is not too harsh or intense for your floors, as the wrong cleaner can severely damage the flooring.

When reading the label, check the cleaning method — some cleaners only work with mopping and are incompatible with auto-scrubbers. Always read the instructions on the cleaner to ensure you get the safest, cleanest results.

Once you’ve cleaned the floor and let it dry thoroughly, it’s time to begin stripping it.

1. Clear Furniture

Because floor stripping requires a completely clear area, remove all furniture and obstructions from the space. Set up any necessary wet floor or caution signs and block off the area to prevent anyone from walking through.

2. Prepare the Area 

Establish an exit space with mats where workers can remove protective gear to stop stripping solutions from leaving the cleaning site. This separates the area from non-stripping zones and keeps stripping agents and wax from reaching outside areas.

Use a dust mop or other cleaning tool to clear the area of any dirt, dust and debris before stripping. Ensure the space has proper ventilation before preparing the solution.

3. Gather Your Materials 

Prepare the materials you’ll need for stripping the floor before beginning the process. Line a few trash cans or mop buckets to protect them from stripper solutions. Use one for the solution, one for tools and another for clean water.

Follow the instructions on the stripper solutions for mixing and dilution. Observe all necessary safety procedures to protect yourself. Before applying the solution, plan out the sections and directions you’ll be working in. This prevents you from blocking yourself from the exit and makes the process more straightforward and efficient.

4. Apply Stripping Solution 

To ensure the solution won’t damage the floor, test it first on a small section before coating the entire area. If any problems occur with the test area, you’ll have saved the rest of the floor from damage. Use a mop to thoroughly coat the floor, avoiding oversaturating any sections or applying too little solution. Once you’ve applied the solution, let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

After applying the stripper to one section, scrape and scrub the previous section. This allows you to scrub one section while the next section sits, letting you scrub each area without the stripper fully drying. Don’t forget to scrub corners and baseboards, as well.

5. Clean Up Accumulated Solution

After the stripper has sat for 10-15 minutes, it’s time to clean it up. Use an auto-scrubber, wet-dry vacuum or squeegee attachment to clear the accumulated solution. Try to clean up the accumulation immediately after scrubbing to prevent it from drying down on the floor.

6. Rinse and Dry Area

Once you’ve cleaned up the solution, you’ll rinse and dry the area. Use a fresh mop and clean water mixed with the appropriate amount of floor stripping neutralizer to rinse the solution.

Clean the floor with the mop to neutralize all of the stripping solution. If it’s not neutralized, the wax won’t go down correctly. Rinse all of the baseboards and corners, going over the whole area once or twice to ensure complete removal. 

Use fans to completely dry the site, then pack your tools away and prepare to wax the floor.

How to Wax the Floor

Once the floor is stripped and dry, you can begin waxing the floor. Ensure all stripping tools and chemicals are put away or to the side to prevent any accidental switching. Make sure the area is still well-ventilated and adequately sectioned off.

1. Gather Wax Materials 

Line another bucket and fill it with the wax solution. Read the label carefully and follow the instructions to ensure you lay the wax correctly. Use a new mop head so no grime or dirt is placed back onto the floors.

2. Apply Wax

Take the new, clean mop and apply the wax in sections, squeezing excess wax off of the mop. Place a thin coat of wax down on each floor area, working toward the exit to avoid being trapped.

3. Dry Wax Completely

Follow the instructions to let the wax dry completely so it sets properly. Drying times will differ due to temperature and humidity, so be patient. Avoid directly pointing the fan at the floor — have the airflow above the floor to help it dry without disrupting the wax setting.

4. Repeat as Needed

Once the layer is completely dry, add two to five layers of wax, letting each dry entirely in between layers — the instructions will let you know how many coats to apply to the floor.

5. Buff Floor If Necessary

After applying and drying all of the wax layers, buff or polish the floor as needed — many modern finishes don’t require buffing, so read the label to check. If it needs buffing or polishing, use circular motions with a buffing pad to polish the floor.

6. Pack Tools 

Now that the floor is stripped and waxed, safely and carefully pack up tools, mats, signs, chemicals and other equipment before leaving.

10 Stripping and Waxing Mistakes to Avoid 

Each process involves dangerous chemicals that can damage floors and people if mishandled. When stripping and waxing, here are 10 common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Not knowing the floor type or using improper chemicals for the material
  2. Leaving chemicals on the floor after rinsing
  3. Not wearing correct safety clothing and equipment
  4. Using dirty equipment or tools 
  5. Not having the right tools or forgetting materials
  6. Letting the stripping solution on the floor dry
  7. Not enough dwell time
  8. Not using a wet-dry vacuum
  9. Forgetting to cordon off the area and post safety signage
  10. Not mixing the solutions correctly

When cleaning commercial floors, you must come prepared and ready. Prevent issues by double-checking information ahead of time and confirming equipment tools before, during and after the job. Always ensure you read the solution labels and follow them exactly — they’ve been tested and formulated to work when the instructions are followed.

These services require solid attention to detail, careful planning and efficient work. If done incorrectly, you can damage your floors. However, choosing the right cleaning company for your commercial floors gives you first-rate, safe results and avoids preventable mistakes.

Trust Corporate Clean Services to Strip and Wax Your Floors

Use Corporate Cleaning & Facility Services for your commercial floor cleaning needs. Our expert team of commercial cleaners is highly trained in delivering quality, efficient services at affordable rates, giving you a professionally-cleaned business at an exceptional value. We offer free regular site visits to check on your business and ensure you’re satisfied with our services.

Contact us today to receive a free estimate and give your building the deep clean it deserves.