10 Mistakes to Avoid When Stripping and Waxing Floors

Stripping and waxing commercial floors is a service performed to help maintain their shine and cleanliness, but it is quite a tedious process. It is a learned skill and starting this process without prior experience will likely lead to mistakes—and possibly even permanent floor damage.

When considering this service, it is best to leave it to the professionals as they know how to best avoid the ten mistakes we’ve listed below. 

1. Not Knowing the Different Types of Floors

Before you even start the process of stripping and waxing, you’ll first need to know what kind of flooring you’ll be working with. The different types of flooring are hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile which includes ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone. Commercial buildings often use vinyl composition tile, or VCT, due to its low cost and ability to withstand high traffic.

Knowing the different types of flooring is important because the care for each type will vary and if the wrong chemical is used, it can be costly and could ultimately damage your floor.

2. Using the Wrong Chemical

This mistake goes hand-in-hand with understanding the differences between the types of flooring. The solution needed for VCT flooring will differ from that of natural stone as they are different materials. Using the wrong solutions will not give you the desired results intended and carry the chance of ruining your floor.

3. Incorrect Chemical-to-Water Dilution Ratios

It is important to use the correct chemical-to-water dilution ratios as too much or too little of either substance can make your entire solution ineffective, or even permanently damage the floor. Using more chemicals than what is necessary will not make the solution stronger. In fact, it may make the stripping process more difficult.

Incorrect chemical-to-water dilution ratios can also lead to chemical burns and other related injuries from exposure to caustic fumes and unhealthy amounts of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

4. Inadequate Dwell Time

On top of using the correct chemical-to-water dilution ratio to create your solution, you also have to let it sit on the floor long enough to fully penetrate it—without drying. This is known as the solution’s dwell time. Dwell time plays a huge role in the finish removal process and can vary from chemical to chemical. Make sure to check the chemical’s label for directions on proper dwell time.1

5. Letting the Solution Dry

A stripping solution should never be left to dry on the floor as it will make the finish more difficult to remove. This often happens when too thin of a solution is applied. Another cause is if you work in too large of an area and the solution is spread too far for you to complete in time, thus allowing the solution to dry before you even get to scrubbing. 

If the solution is left to dry, you will have to repeat this process all over again because the finish has become harder to remove. To avoid this mistake, we recommend using an adequate amount of solution and working section-by-section to ensure equal distribution and prevent wasted product.2

6. Arriving Unprepared

Not having the right equipment will slow down the entire stripping and waxing process and will result in an unhappy client. Create a checklist of all the equipment needed on site and go over it thoroughly before you head over there. 

The stripping and waxing process involves the use of many items including personal protective equipment, multiple solutions, buckets, mops, automatic scrubbers, scrub pads, safety signs, wet/dry vacuum, and more.

7. Not Cleaning Your Equipment

Always use clean equipment. You will not achieve a clean and polished floor with dirty, used equipment. When performing a strip and wax, line your buckets with a plastic liner before adding any solution inside to help prevent contamination.3

8. Lack of Safety Signs

Safety should always be your main priority when it comes to cleaning. When stripping and waxing floors, utilize wet floor signs to alert others of when the floor is currently being worked on. This will help to prevent any accidental slips or falls.

9. Failure to Wear Safety Gear

It is equally as important to protect yourself as it is to protect others while cleaning. Before starting any floor work, ensure that you have the proper safety gear necessary to accomplish the task. This includes non-slip shoes, gloves, goggles, and face masks that will protect you against the risk of injury and other hazards.

10. Lack of Routine Floor Care

To ensure that your floor remains in optimal condition, we suggest performing a strip and wax every six months. Lack of routine floor care allows small problems to continue developing overtime and present bigger problems in the future.

Contact Us

Commercial Cleaning Corporation can help your business look its best with our commercial floor cleaning services. On top of stripping and waxing, we also offer microfiber dusting and mopping, polishing and burnishing, tile and grout restoration, and stone and concrete maintenance.

Trust a team of highly trained cleaning professionals from a company that’s been in the industry for over 90 years. Commercial Cleaning Corporation follows premier industry standards to provide the best quality service, utilizes advanced technologies for optimal results, and works with green cleaning products to prioritize your safety.

Contact us today for our floor care services


  1. How to Strip and Wax Floors: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid [VIDEO] (ebpsupply.com)
  2. 8 Common Mistakes When Stripping and Refinishing Floors – Midlab, Inc.
  3. Top 10 Mistakes in Floor Finishing – Nyco Products Company