cleaning sticky gunk off wood floors


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Old 04-16-04, 02:05 PM
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cleaning sticky gunk off wood floors

A cousin of mine is moving back into her house in Texas after having rented it out for several years. The tenants' carpet/rug padding (we think) has caused a waffle effect on her wood floors in one room. All the dust is sticking to the waffle-patterned gunk and it looks pretty bad.
I suspect the pad interacted with the wax, perhaps aided by our 100+ heat here.

Her hardwood floors were laid in the 1920s or 1930s. They have been waxed fairly recently (within the last 10 years!), but haven't been refinished in awhile, maybe ever.

Anyway, the gunk needs removing. She cannot afford the $2500 to refinish them, and the surface area is large enough to make scrubbing on hands and knees daunting.

What about using mineral spirits? Will it harm the underlying finish (it may be varnish)? How can we tell if it is hurting the finish? How should it be applied?

She intends to rewax with paste wax (I think) and buff them, so when the mineral spirits remove the old wax, it wouldn't be a bad thing.

What about rubbing alcohol? Vinegar and water? We have already tried lemon oil (not very effective if at all) and Murphy's Oil Soap (ditto).

Thanks in advance for any help anyone (Floorman or Twelvepole?) can give me.
 
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Old 04-18-04, 10:20 PM
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Wax finish floors

Wax finish floors are wonderful and my favorite. Once a floor has been finished with wax, if ever refinished, it has to remain with the wax finish because wax causes adhesion problems if going with a surface finish like polyurethane. Water or water-based cleaning products should never be used on wax finished flooring.

I love wax finish because it can easily be renewed. The scratches that are easily made in poly finishes are not a problem in wax finishes. They are easily rubbed out by fine steel wool and and coated over with wax. The key to wax floors is not to overwax. High traffic areas can be buffed to maintain shine. If wax wears thin, the high traffic areas and be rewaxed and buffed without rewaxing the entire floor.

When rewaxing, the new wax dissolves old wax and soil and disinfects. Buffing restores shine. The only restriction is not to overwax and create wax bulidup. Restoration between waxing is done with a buffer.

For water stains: Rub the spot with No. 2 steel wood and rewax. For more serious water stains, lightly sand with fine sandpaper, clean the spot with No. 1 or 00 steel wool and mineral spirits or floor cleaner then refinish and wax.

Cigarette Burns: If not severe, the burn can be removed by rubbing with steel wool moistened with soap and water.

Heel and Caster Marks: Rub vigorously with fine steel wool and floor cleaner. Wipe dry and polish.

Ink Stains and Other Dark Spots: Use No. 2 steel wool and floor cleaner to clean the spot and surrounding area. Thoroughly wash the affected area. If the spot remains, sand with fine sandpaper, re-wax and polish. Stubborn stains may require that you replace the affected area.

Repairing Wax Finishes: Rub fine steel wood in a puddle of reconditioner or paint thinner and clean as you go. Apply wax and buff.

Always start cleaning at the edge of a stain and work toward the center so it won't spread.

Such maintenance for wax finished floors is not availbable for the popular poly finishes. A wax finished floor, if properly maintained, neer requires sanding and renewal.
 
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Old 04-19-04, 07:49 AM
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I may have misled you. The floors are varnished (probably 80 years ago!), but then waxed several times. So there is wax over varnish. We did use paint thinner (mineral spirits) which took the gunk off but also dulled the finish. We intend to rewax. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 04-19-04, 08:45 PM
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Varnish floors

If you were successful in cleaning up floor with mineral spirits, then rewax floor with quality paste wax for wood floors and buff to restore shine.
 
 

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