How to Remove Wax Build Up from Laminate Floors

Autumn asked: How do I remove wax build up from wood laminate floors? My cleaning lady has been using some type of cleaner that appears to have wax in it (after being told not to use wax), but it has left quite a build-up. I want to remove the build up, but don’t want to hurt the floors.

Removing wax from laminate floors is a labor intensive process. Additionally, because there are so many different types of laminate, it’s essential that you test each method before you begin. Although these cleaning methods are safe for most types of laminate, the only way to be sure they won’t damage yours is to try a hidden or inconspicuous area first.

You Will Need:

  • Plastic windshield ice scraper
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • White cloths

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Thick wax can often be removed by scraping, and a plastic windshield scraper is the perfect tool for the job. Removing some of the wax before the next step will make the process easier, but it’s not essential that you scrape first. To soften the wax and make it easier to scrape, heat it first with a hair dryer.
  2. To remove the rest of the wax, combine two cups of white vinegar with one gallon of warm water in a bucket.
  3. Use damp, clean, white cloths dipped in the vinegar solution to strip the wax. Work in one direction, wiping the wax to remove it. Do not scrub back and forth. Rinse the cloth often. This can be done either by hand, or by wrapping the cloth around a mop head.
  4. Work in small sections, drying any moisture left behind as you work.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the methods above don’t fully remove the wax from the floor, you can try using mineral spirits or paint thinner. Make sure you use plenty of ventilation and wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Avoid using ammonia on laminate. Although it’s a popular and effective method for removing wax, it can strip away the protective sealant from laminate.
  • Do not wash the cloths used to remove wax in the washer. The wax will cause a buildup in the machine.


  1. Clarence says:

    Could a restore solution bring back its luster?

  2. Elaine says:

    I don’t know how much build-up my laminate floor had on it, but when I moved into my new apartment two months ago, it had a streaky appearance. It looked like someone used an acrylic wax on it. No matter what I cleaned it with, it didn’t remove the dullness or the streaks. I read every single website dealing with this problem and tried everything; white vinegar and hot water, ammonia and hot water, Goo Gone, mineral spirits, all to no avail. I decided to try plain old rubbing alcohol. I rubbed it in with one terry cloth rag, agitated it, then wiped it up with a clean rag. I was very pleased to see the the alcohol dissolved the acrylic wax. Since alcohol dries quickly, you don’t have to worry about the floor being saturated and seeping into the seams as with water. I just avoid the seams altogether. The floor looks brand new!

  3. Carol says:

    I used the alcohol and plenty of rubbing. It worked even though it took some time. Then, when finished, I used laminated floor polish and it didn’t leave any marks if put on properly and no build-up. Thank you for your help.

  4. Laurie says:

    My laminate floors have a film build-up from laminate floor cleaner (Bono) and Swiffer laminate floor cleaner. Now, my floors show every footprint, and even leave sticky build-up. How can I get this off and what should I use in place of these cleaners so I don’t end up with another film over the floor?

    Thank you.

  5. Edie says:

    At the flooring store, I was told to use rubbing alcohol from a spray bottle, let set for 30 seconds, then rub. I think maybe 60 seconds is better. After it sets, rub it off with a clean towel. It’s labor intensive, but the hardwood looks great. I had to clean each section several times because it had 12 years of wax buildup. Lesson learned…don’t wax hardwood floors!

  6. Julie says:

    I have same problem as most other people: a build up of wax or instant floor polish?? Tried the vinegar, hot water, paint thinner, etc, but reading through, some of your readers used alcohol. Could you please let me know what type of alcohol was used and how it was applied? Thank you.

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