Stripping Wax On Hardwood Using Mineral Spirits


Since I would prefer not to re-sand the floor, and I already have the duraseal (2 coats on the floor). Is it possible to strip the wax off with mineral spirits and re-apply more coats of the duraseal? or will the wax cause me a problem? The only other alternative is to have a new floor put in. The problem is finding someone who is experienced with pine and is willing to do the research and take the time to do it properly. Everyone seems to want a quick fix. No wonder my floor was blotchy on the first staining. it was horrible with the water based stain even though it was almost neutral.

Thank you



Dear Bonnie

Removing the wax is a bit dicey. If you do not remove ALL traces of the paste wax, no finish and I mean NO FINISH will stick to the floor. And worse yet more coats of finish may never dry. We have seen floor finishes takes weeks to dry when they got wax contaminated, and that was on floors that we actually resanded. You see on a wood floor there is the problem of the many seams between the boards. Bits of the paste wax will lodge in there, and when you apply even thin coats of new finish the coating will mix with these left over bits, and the finish will remain a sticky mess for weeks. Ultimately if you do get the finish to dry it will be non durable.

But you asked how to remove the wax, and I will tell you the best method for a bad procedure. I am after all your Most humble servant. Buy at least a gallon of low odor varsol. It’s also called odorless mineral spirits, or low odor paint thinner. Use a plastic chemical wash bottle (available at and use this to squirt the solvent across a row of boards, just wide enough to easily reach across. Do a small section at a time. Irrigate the gaps, and while the solvent is still wet on the wood, scrub the floor with a flat green scrubbing pads (found at the grocery store). Then mop it up with clean rags, until you are sure all wax laden solvent is off the floor. Go down the row a section at a time skipping no area, be systematic in this task, any left over wax will surely interfere with the new finish.

Really I would prefer that you even hire someone to chemically strip the floor, at the expense of the other contractors or even your insurance company who may have recommend them. It would be such a shame to have to replace this floor, trees don’t spring up like corn you know. And you may find that all the trouble with removing the wax and having the new finish fail, will be a lot more work than chemical stripping. Take the correct route now and you won’t regret it later. Using the quick fix path may put you into the same “fix” as the floor guys. Quality work does takes money and time. No such thing as fast floors.