We have an old varnished/waxed oak floor.
We want to wipe it clean and apply some new wax. The floor is getting
a bit grimy.
Will mineral spirits cause the varnish to discolor or break down?
Are there any good cleaning products (non-toxic, safe around babies)
that you can recommend.
I found something called Treewax Wood Cleaner but can't figure out
what's in it.
Mineral spirits should not damage the varnish. It may dull the surface,
but the floor is old, has scratches, and the wax helps hide fine
scratches. Back when I had wood floors, carnauba was the best. I used
a buffable wax and used a small machine for buffing. With carnauba, you
don't need to wax often .. every year or two. Damp mop, spot clean food
spills, buff and it looks great. The greatest enemies of good wood
floors are wet spills and sandy, gritty dirt.
Here is Trewax's website; they have MSDS info for each product:
The issue of a cleaner safe for a baby is tough. Really need to
ventilate well, clean a small area at a time and seal off the area being
cleaned so baby doesn't have access. MS fumes dissipate fairly fast,
and warm, dry weather is best time for this project so's you can open
windows. If the floor has really old, dark, gummy dirt/wax, fine steel
wool with mineral spirits does a good job. By doing small areas at a
time, and wiping as dry as possible, you minimize the fumes in the room.
Dispose of weste properly, as it is flammable.
Years ago, the product I used had carnauba wax, was applied with machine
after the floor had been damp-mopped and dried. The wax was allowed to
dry. If food spills remained, they turned white and just needed to spot
clean them (milk and squashed banana from toddlers was the usual
culprit) with damp cloth. After the stuff dried, just buffed with same
machine and lamb's wool pads. This was small, triple-duty machine used
for any kind of hard floor in the day .. vinyl/asbestos, vinyl, wood.
Before the time of laminated floors, and hardwood, with proper care, was
very durable for our band of toddlers.
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