Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

April, 2003

Finishing Hardwood Floors

Q. The floors in my home are sealed with an oil based polyeurathane coating. What is the proper way to care for the floors? Wax?

A. There are a couple of ways to clean and maintain hardwood floors. For the floor that has hard to remove dirt and grime in the surface I suggest cleaning with a damp mop and a mild detergent to remove as much of the soil as possible. After allowing the floor to dry then apply a good paste wax such as bowling alley wax or butchers wax, with a floor buffing machine and a fine abrasive steel wool type pad such as #0000 ultra fine, or equivalent.

The abrasive pad will help to remove the hard-to-get soils that are left behind by the damp mop and the wax will act as a lubricant to help clean and protect the finish. After completing this step, then buff the floor using the same machine with a fine lamb's wool type buffing pad to polish up the wax to a nice hard luster.

For the floor that is good and clean, just the application of the paste wax with a lamb's wool pad after damp mopping will put a hard, protective wax film on the hardwood floor.

These waxes can be found at your local floor care center or hardware store, and the machines can typically be rented from these outlets too.

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