Clean & protect old hardwood floors?

I have a home (~1942) that has a rather large swath of oak flooring. This floor looks like it has never really been cared for. The finish seems relatively intact, probably because it's been hidden under carpet for decades. I don't think the finish is wax as water doesn't turn it white. Scraping lightly in a corner causes the finish to flake off and the home is too old for it to be poly (I doubt the floor has ever been refinished). So I'm guessing the finish is varnish or shellac.
The floor is kinda grungy and dull, so what should I use to:
1) Clean it really well. 2) Spiff it up a bit. 3) Protect it.
I was thinking of putting down and buffing a coat of Johnson's Paste Wax after cleaning, but since it isn't a wax finish, I guess that's not a good idea? I've seen lots of people recommend vinegar for cleaning, but I think this floor could use something with a bit more oomph. I'd really like to get it *clean*.
We'll be refinishing it completely in a few years, but I'd like to do something with it before then.
--
Thanks for your time,
Joe Wells
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If the finish will flak off, then I suggest you need to refinish it. Sand it down, stain if needed or desired and finish with a poly floor finish.
If you just want to clean it up and maybe wax it (good luck) try Naphtha for the cleaning.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

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On Sat, 16 Aug 2003 23:13:01 +0000, Joseph Meehan wrote:

Flaking the finish off was just to see what kind of finish it was. This is the recommended procedure from the National Wood Flooring Association (doesn't that sound impressive?): http://www.woodfloors.org/consumer/maintProducts.aspx
In any case, I do need to refinish it. But that just isn't going to happen right away.
--
Joe Wells


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Vacuum the floor regularly to remove dirt and grit which will damage the finish. You can use Murphy's Oil soap to clean the floor then rinse, but try not to get it too wet for too long (water will make wood swell). It may help to use some old terry towels and a fan to dry it quickly. Johnson's Paste wax WILL help, but wax is wax and the protection will last just a couple months. Do a 3x3 foot section at a time. And, yes I am envious of your wood floor!
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On Sat, 16 Aug 2003 23:59:10 +0000, Phisherman wrote:

Do you think that Murphy's would prevent an application of wax from adhering properly? I think the bottle of Murphy's that I looked at said "not for wax floors". But since I'd be doing that first, would that apply?

Yeah, but it would be more than I have now, and I ain't a feared of a little manual labor!
--
Joe Wells


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Joe Wells wrote:

murphy's will stop a poly being put down without sanding first. i would clean with vinegar and water and vacuum. if the floor is in good shape, just use fine sandpaper and put poly on. i use water based zip guard.
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On Sat, 16 Aug 2003 23:59:10 +0000, Phisherman wrote:

OK, this is what I'm doing. Used Murphy's to clean, scrubbed it all really good. Then a liberal application of Johnson's Paste Wax, buffed using a buffing bonnet over my ROS. It looks much better, but now I can't slide on it and do that cool Risky Buisness schticht. OTOH, my wife is glad that I'm no longer sliding across the floor in my boxers. ;^)
Thanks for the advice!
--
Joe Wells


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