Cleaning Vinyl Floors is a vast topic but the objective of this article is to outline the correct procedures of periodic cleaning of vinyl floors with the stripping process of floor wax. The most common resilient tile floors that is sealed or coated with a floor finish, wax or polish are Vinyl Composition (VCT), Vinyl, No Wax, Rubber and Asphalt Tile. All of these types of tile can be considered the same for the floor wax stripping of the floor.

As we have pointed out in prior articles, good looking floors require maintenance and the stripping of old, damaged and soiled floor finish (wax) is a important step in the maintenance of floors including vinyl floors. It is a rejuvenating process and part of the life cycle of the floor cleaning maintenance program. So occasionally and as a rule of thumb in the commercial market, once per year is the acceptable goal for the removal of old waxes. We will cover the step by step procedures along with the products and tools necessary to get excellent results.

Tile floor wax stripping is relatively easy and will be demonstrated in the following information. Commercials daily or routine cleaning of tile floors has been discussed in a prior article, click on the following link to review commercial tile daily or routine floor cleaning (Cleaning Tile Floors – Floor Finish Coated Tile Procedures, Product and Tools).

Regarding stripping floor wax from floors in a residential home, the steps would be the same but generally speaking; it is more difficult because very few homeowners have the equipment to complete the floor wax stripping process. It may be easier and more cost effective to hire a professional service to complete the stripping process for residential homes.


Cleaning Vinyl Floors – Periodic Cleaning – Floor Wax Stripping


Cleaning Vinyl Floors – Stripping Floor Wax Procedures: Commercial

  1. Prepare and stage all necessary tools and equipment. Fill automatic scrubber with rinse water. Attach black strip pads to the automatic scrubber. Fill rinse buckets with clean rinse water. In a bucket, mix water and Stripper according to label directions.
  2. Dust mop entire floor area and remove gum, labels and foreign debris with putty knife.
  3. Post “Wet Floor” signs and or barricade area with CAUTION tape.
  4. Generously apply a Baseboard Stripper to the edges and borders of the floor area as well as all hard to reach areas. Allow 10 minutes dwell time. Using a doodle bug pad, scrub along the edges and borders and up against unmovable fixtures to remove previous coats of Floor Finish and/or sealer. Note: Do not allow baseboard stripping solution to dry out on the floor. Re-wet with additional Baseboard Stripper as needed.
  5. Generously apply the mixed Stripper solution to the remainder of the floor area with a mop and bucket. Allow 10 to 15 minutes dwell time. Do not allow Stripper solution to dry out. Reapply Stripper solution as necessary. Using the automatic scrubber with black pads, make two passes over entire floor area, overlapping edges and borders that on been previously applied with baseboard stripper. The automatic scrubber solution valve should be in the off position. Pads should be down but squeegee should be up and vacuum off. Special note: Stripping speed for this procedure should be half (50%) of normal daily scrubbing speed.
  6. Upon completion of the second pass, engage squeegee and vacuum. Pads should remain in the down position and solution valve should be moved to the full open position for rinsing.
  7. Make a third pass with the automatic scrubber, picking up Stripper solution from the floor. Again, stripping speed for this procedure should be half (50%) of normal daily scrubbing speed.
  8. Make a fourth and final rinse pass with the automatic scrubber. Pads down, solution valve in the full open position, squeegees down and vacuum on.
  9. Following this final rinsing pass, damp mop entire floor area including edges and borders using the clean, rinse water. Pay particular attention to low spots in the floor where excess water tends to accumulate as well as around unmovable fixture units.
  10. Allow floor to thoroughly dry.  Note: Wet floor signs should remain until entire process is completed.
  11. Inspect entire floor area to ensure complete removal of the previous Floor Finish and/or sealer. If not fully removed, repeat stripping procedures.
  12. Apply medium coats of Floor Finish (wax). Coverage rate should be applied at an average of 2000 Square Feet per gallon. Allow sufficient dry time between coats. As a general rule, allow “dry to the Touch”, plus 10 additional minutes between coats. Only two coats of Floor Finish should be applied up to the edges and borders. Additional coats of Floor Finish (wax) should remain 6”-9” away from the edges and borders. This will prevent future build up of floor finish (wax) on the edges. The amount of floor finish (wax) coats will depend on your program and desired gloss level but 4 to 8 coats is the normal amount of coats after stripping in commercial buildings.
  13. Remove WET FLOOR signs and CAUTION tape.

 IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not burnish Floor Finish (wax) the same night as application. This is an unnecessary and unproductive step.  The Floor Finish (wax) may be burnished 24 hours after application.

Additional Note: If using a single disc floor machine equipped with black strip pads to strip the floor; the steps would be basically the same as described above, except the stripper solution would need to be picked up with a wet/dry vacuum or mop. An automatic scrubber can also be used to pick up the solution as well. The use of an automatic scrubber for the complete stripping process will save time and labor and increase the productivity of the entire process.


Cleaning Vinyl Floors – Floor Finish (Wax) Products, Equipment and Tools


Cleaning Vinyl Floors – Floor Finish (wax) Stripping Procedures- Commercial

  • Putty Knife Or Scraper
  • Dust Mop (Untreated Preferred)
  • Walk Off Mat (To Prevent Track Off Into Other Areas)
  • Automatic Scrubber
  • Black Strip Pads For Automatic Scrubber
  • Doodle Bug Holder, Handle And Pads (Black Or Brown)
  • Multiple Mop Buckets And Wringers Prepared With Clean Hot Water For Rinsing
  • Multiple Mop Buckets For Stripping Solution
  • Stripper Application Mop
  • Clean Rinsing Mop (Pre-Laundered Cotton Or Cotton Blend Preferred)
  • Wet Floor Caution Signs And Or Caution Tape
  • Personal Protective And Safety Equipment
  • Multiple Mop Buckets And Wringers For Floor Finish (Wax) Application
  • Finish Application Mop (Rayon Or Rayon Blend Preferred)
  • Floor Finish (Wax)
  • Floor Finish (Wax) Stripper
  • Baseboard Stripper (Aerosol Is The Most Used)

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