How to Remove Floor Wax From Tile

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how to remove floor wax from tile

If you have a tile floor, odds are you have waxed it at some point. 

Waxing your tile floors can help protect them from spills and keep them in good condition. Wax can also keep your tile floors shiny and new-looking. 

However, after a while, wax can build up and start to look unsightly. It can also start to catch dirt and make it more obvious. 

When this happens, you will have to remove the old wax from your floors. Then, you can put down new, fresh wax that will make it shine again.

There are a number of different things you can do to remove old floor wax. Trying all of them until you find the right solution will give you the best results. 

Key Takeaways

Wax can look unsightly when it builds up on floors. Here’s how to remove it:

  • Always remove every time you recoat your tiles.
  • Ventilate your room well and mix one part vinegar with one part ammonia. Add warm water slowly and mop before drying and removing wax.
  • Or, sprinkle dish detergent powder over the tiles. Leave for two hours, then scrub and rinse with water and floor soap.
  • You can also use lemon juice and warm water, spreading over tiles and leaving for an hour. Then, mop (be prepared for more than one coat).

Removing Floor Wax From Tile: Basic Idea 

There are a few different methods for removing floor wax from tile. They include: 

  • Mix vinegar and ammonia 
  • Use powdered dish detergent 
  • Use a lemon juice and water solution 
  • Try a store-bought was remover
Try each of the above methods until you find one that works for your floors. Then, you can use this method over and over again to keep your tile clean. 

Why Remove Floor Wax From Tile?

remove wax on tile floor

Wax is a great tool for keeping your tile floors clean and tidy. It can provide the shine you are looking for and also protect the tile from scuffing. 

However, wax will build up after a while and it will start to make the flooring look dull. It will begin to look like a fine film that covers the entire area. 

Floor wax will also grab onto any loose dirt that it comes into contact with. It will start to do this if it has had a chance to build up and form a sticky film. 

To prevent this from happening, you should remove the old wax every time you apply a new coat. This will keep your tile floors completely fresh and shiny for much longer. 

Vinegar and Ammonia 

A vinegar and ammonia solution is one of the best ways to remove old wax. 

It is important that you make this solution in a well-ventilated area. Ammonia and vinegar both have harsh fumes, so protecting yourself is crucial. 

Mix one part ammonia and one part vinegar in a bucket. Then, slowly add warm water to the solution. 

Once you have your solution made, you can mop your tile floors like normal. Make sure that you are thoroughly drying them and that all the wax is removed. 

From my experience, I’ve found that sometimes mixing vinegar and ammonia for removing wax from tile floors can cause a strong smell. Make sure to open windows and doors for proper ventilation while using this mixture. Your safety is paramount!

Powdered Dish Detergent 

Powdered dish detergent is another great option for removing wax. 

Simply sprinkle the detergent over your tiles and let them sit for at least two hours. Then, using a scrub brush, scrub the detergent into the tiles and make sure all the wax is removed. 

After you have scrubbed the floor, you can mop it with floor soap and water. 

Powdered dish detergent will cut through the old wax since it is designed to work out grease. It is also a less abrasive way to get your old wax removed. 

I can’t stress enough the importance of small tests. Before applying any of these solutions to your entire floor, try them out on a small, inconspicuous area first. This will allow you to see how your tile responds to the solution and prevent accidental damage.

Lemon Juice 

If you don’t want to use detergent or harsh chemicals, lemon juice will also work. 

Make a solution of lemon juice and warm water and spread that over the tile. Let it sit for around an hour so it can soak in. 

Then, you can mop your floor like normal. This may take more than one round to fully remove the wax. 

Store-Bought Wax Remover 

There are a number of store-bought wax removers that are meant for this specific purpose. 

One of the nice things about using a pro-grade wax remover is that it will also remove stains. If your tile has built up a lot of dirt and grime, these chemicals will help. 

Simply follow the directions on the bottle of wax remover and make a solution. Depending on the soil level of your tile, you may need to use more or less. 

Many wax removers contain volatile organic compounds, so it’s important that you ventilate the area. You should also wear a mask when working with it if at all possible. 

Don’t rush the process. Removing old wax from tile floors is a meticulous task that requires patience. Allow the solution to sit on the floor for the suggested time before scrubbing or mopping. It would make the wax removal more effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is floor wax the same as polish?

Wax and floor polish are different products. 

Floor polish is usually applied as a liquid and will help the tile shine. Floor wax is a paste that is spread and buffed into the tile to sit on top and protect it. 

  • Should you wax a tile floor?

Waxing is one of the best ways to protect your tile floor. It will sit on the top and keep any dirt from getting on the surface. 

It will also protect the grout and ensure that moisture doesn’t get under the tile. 

  • Is floor wax permanent?

Floor wax is not permanent. It will need to be regularly removed and reapplied. 

Wax your tile floors at least once a month to ensure that they have the shine and polish you want.


Waxing your tile floors can help protect and preserve them, even with heavy use. 

However, you will need to remove the old wax before reapplying to make sure it will stick. Trying some of these methods will be a great way to find the one that works for you. 

Photo of author


Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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