How to Wax Wooden Floors – Top 3 Ways

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how to wax wooden floors

Dealing with dull hardwoods?

If you thought refinishing was your only option to make them look new again, you may be in luck.

A good waxing may be all that is needed to restore their shine and beauty. This is excellent news because waxing is inexpensive and easy to do.

The best way to wax your floor depends upon the current finish of your hardwoods. Solid paste wax and liquid oil wax are great options for floors that don’t have a urethane finish. Hardwoods that do have a urethane finish need to be shined with polish and not wax.

Can All Wooden Floors be Waxed?

You cannot wax all wooden floors.

If your hardwoods have a urethane finish, you can restore shine their with a wood floor polish. Waxing these types of floors can prevent them from being refinished with urethane again in the future.

Wood floors that are ideal for being waxed have previously been treated with wax, oil, shellac, or lacquer. You can also wax some unfinished hardwoods.

Also, you’ll need to check with the manufacturer of your flooring for recommended wax products.

Top 3 Ways to Wax Wood Flooring

Solid Paste Wax

Solid paste wax is the traditional product for waxing hardwood floors. If you like a classic look, this is for you.

In general, you shouldn’t use this product on urethane or varnished floors. Be sure to check the can of the wax you’re using for specific recommendations.

Once you’ve found a solid paste wax suitable for your flooring, here’s how to use it:

  • Rub the wax evenly into your floor with a lint-free cloth, following the direction of the wood grain.
  • Allow the wax to dry (per instructions on the product you’re using.)
  • Buff in circular motions with a cloth or buffing machine.

Liquid Wax

Liquid wax, or oil wax, is much easier and quicker to apply than solid paste wax. The downside is that its finish doesn’t last quite as long.

To shine your floors with liquid wax, here’s what to do:

  • First, use a lint-free cloth to spread the liquid wax across the floor, following the direction of the wood grain.
  • Allow the wax to dry per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Buff in a circular motion with a cloth or buffing pad.

Water-Based Silicone Wax

Water-based silicone wax is the most versatile of the three options since you can use it on most hardwood floor finishes. The downside is that you’ll likely need to apply several thin coats to achieve your desired results.

The other con to using water-based silicone wax is that it has a strong chemical smell to it. This is probably not a wax you want to use with a house full of people.

Here’s what to do:

  • Use a latex paint spreader or a dampened mop to spread the silicone wax evenly and thinly on the floor. (Avoid bubbling.)
  • Allow the wax to dry per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Buff the floor with a clean cloth or buffing pad.
  • Apply two more coats, buffing in between.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to wax wooden floors

What are the benefits of waxing wood floors?

Waxing your wooden floors can help restore their shine and add a layer of protection from spills. It can also help make floors more stain-resistant and even make them last longer. However, waxing is not the same as a regular protective finish and doesn’t offer as much protection. 

You should add wax on top of your floor’s protective finish. (As long as it’s not a urethane finish in which you’ll need to use a floor polish.)

Will Murphy’s oil soap make wood floors shine?

Yes, Murphy’s Oil Soap is an excellent option for making your wood floors shine. To use it, simply add ¼ cup of Murphy’s Oil Soap to 1 gallon of warm water and mop your floors. No rinsing is necessary.

Can I use beeswax on my wood floors?

Yes, you can use beeswax on floors that don’t have a urethane finish. The great thing about beeswax is that it’s completely natural and inexpensive. The major con is that it doesn’t offer as much protection as waxes formulated explicitly for wood floors.

Before you use beeswax, check with your flooring manufacturer to make sure it’s a safe option. 


Waxing your wood floors adds an extra layer of protection and shine. And if you’re wondering how to wax wooden floors, the good news is that it’s not hard at all. The most crucial step you can take is finding a product that works with your current floor finish. After that, the application is very straightforward.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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