How to Strip a Tile Floor

Kate Evelyn

Oftentimes people wax their tile floors so that they have a smooth shine to them instead of a dull appearance. The wax can also prevent the floors from getting scratched. However, if the wax buildup on the floor gets too thick, or it just gets old, it can give the floor a dingy yellow look.

At this point, you need to strip the floor and apply a new layer of wax to it. There is a specific process to stripping the floor that will keep it from being damaged.

  1. Sweep the entire floor, using a hand broom or the vacuum cleaner hose to remove debris from any tight areas where a regular broom won't fit.

  2. Dilute your floor stripper with water according to the instructions on the can and pour approximately half a gallon of the mixture into a bucket. You'll want to start applying floor stripper in the corner of the floor that is farthest away from the entrance to the room. You will then work your way backwards.

  3. Choose a section of approximately two feet by four feet to begin with. Dip your brush in the bucket and paint a one quarter inch thick layer of stripper on the section of the floor. Let the stripper set on that first section while you apply it to a second section of approximately the same size. Then go back to the first section so you can scrub off the wax.

  4. Remove the wax by first attempting to scrape it off with a putty knife. Then get rid of any remaining residue using a rough bristled toothbrush. Push the wax into a dust pan using either a rubber spatula or a squeegee. Don't let it sit on your floor.

  5. Wet a sponge under the tap using lukewarm water. Then use it to mop the first section of tile. Rinse the sponge as needed until it comes away clean.

  6. Repeat Steps 3 through 5 until you have stripped all of the wax off of the floor. Then let the floor air dry. Now you are ready to apply a new layer of wax.


Get a floor stripper solution that is appropriate for your floor type. Call the manufacturer of your tile if you're not sure which one to use. Floor stripper is sold at most home improvement centers. Use the stripper in a well ventilated area.


Test the stripper on an inconspicuous area of the floor or on an extra tile first if your floor is very delicate.