How to Strip Wax off Linoleum Floors

different samples of linoleum flooring
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-200
What You'll Need
Floor stripper
Old mop
Scrub brush
Wet and dry vacuum
Push broom
Dust pan

Linoleum is the material of choice for flooring when you are on a tight budget but still wish to have flooring that is stylish and up to date. Linoleum floors are very easy to install, clean, and will last a long time when properly taken care of. Dirt and grime always can find a way to penetrate the protective wax coating on top of the linoleum flooring. When this happens you will need to strip the linoleum floor's wax. This is a process that can be messy and can take a lot of time, but it is a necessity if you want a clean floor. Many people confuse linoleum for vinyl floors but they are actually different as linoleum has completely different properties than vinyl, even though vinyl is often referred to as linoleum. You can strip a vinyl floor with pretty much any type of floor stripper, but linoleum requires specific chemicals to strip it. Here’s a step by step guide to show you how to strip linoleum floors properly.

Step 1 - Sweep the Floor

Linoleum is a very forgiving material, like vinyl, and in order to be able to strip the linoleum floor you will need to clean it first. There is no need to really mop the linoleum floor but you should clean off as much of the dust and debris that is sitting on the surface of the floor. A vacuum does not do the proper job needed to get up all of the dirt. A push broom will be able to get the job done correctly.

Step 2 - Apply the Linoleum Floor Stripper

kitchen with linoleum flooring

Linoleum stripper tends to be concentrated and it needs to be mixed in order for it to do its job correctly. Read the back of the bottle and mix the stripper according to the directions found there. Before applying it to the entire floor test it out on a small obscure section. You want to make sure it will not damage the linoleum. Use an old mop to apply the mixed linoleum stripper to the floor in a 3-foot section. You want to keep it to a minimal area because the stripper could dry too fast and you may have to reapply the stripper for a second time.

Step 3 - Remove the Finish

Steps two and three will have to be repeated for each section of the linoleum floor. Always follow the instructions on the back of the bottle when it comes time to remove the polish and wax. Wait for the floor to turn a milky white. This will indicate that the polish is ready to be removed as it has been softened. Use the scrub brush and scrub the section down to remove the polish. Using a stiff brush or automatic scrubbing pad can easily damage the linoleum. When the polish is ready to be removed do so with a fresh mop and clean water. You may have to change the water several times.