How Do I Choose the Best Floor Stripper?

Patti Kate
Patti Kate

Floor strippers are designed for removing various types of sealants, floor waxes, and finishes. Choose a floor stripper according to the substance you want to strip from your floor. Avoid buying a floor stripper that contains caustic chemicals, as these may be potentially harmful when used around children and pets. Also, be certain the floor stripper you select is safe for your type of floor.

Before you choose a floor stripper, you might want to read guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Floor stripping may not be appropriate under some circumstances. If you suspect a floor is covered with asbestos, it is recommended that you avoid stripping the floor more often than semi annually. If you are uncertain, enlist the services of a professional who will use the proper materials for restoring floors.

Do not assume that sealant strippers can also be used to remove wax. For removing wax build up on floors, be sure to use a wax stripper only. Conversely, only use sealant strippers to remove sealants from your floors. You can find sealant and wax floor strippers that are environmentally safe as well. These generally have less odor and are non-irritating to the lungs.

If your floor is made of linoleum, avoid using an alkaline-based floor stripper. This type of stripper may damage your linoleum, by causing fading or warping. Read the packaging to be certain the solvent is made with a low potential hydrogen (pH) level.

Whatever floor strippers you decide to buy, be sure you use enough to sufficiently cover your floor. The floor stripper packaging will typically state how much area it will cover. A concentrated formula may also be diluted with water, allowing more coverage.

Keep in mind that if you buy a cheap or poor quality floor stripper, you might not save money in the long run. A poorly made stripper may not do the job efficiently, thus making it necessary to use more than one application. To choose the best quality floor stripper, ask for assistance. Shop at a specialty or hardware store with knowledgeable sales associates who can answer your questions.

Using a professional floor stripping machine is a good idea for large areas or expensive flooring. Floor stripping machines are available in various sizes for different needs. Compact models are convenient for stripping enclosed spaces, such as closet floors. To strip a large area floor however, consider a high speed machine to get the job done quickly.

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Discussion Comments


You can buy environmentally friendly wood floor cleaners and strippers at your local home improvement store. These are not the same as the more powerful cleaners and strippers, but I have used them. They are not overpowering to the senses and they work.


If you have an area that receives a lot of walking traffic then you are probably going to have to use floor stripper from time to time, but it is best to limit the use of stripper as much as possible. The best way to do this is to keep your floors free of dirt and grit. These are the particles that will scratch the floor and make stripping necessary.

Depending on the amount of traffic, you should sweep your floor two to three times a day and use a wet mop on it as needed. If you do these things then you should be able to avoid the need for frequent stripping and waxing.


In the school system where I grew up, one of the big jobs for the janitors during the summers was stripping and waxing all of the floors before school started for the fall semester. The job was so big at some of the schools that students would be hired during the summer to help out.

I had a friend who helped out one summer. They were using the stripper in the rooms, and like the article mentions, the fumes were pretty bad. Also, the schools turned off the air conditioners in the summer, so the workers had only fans.

One very hot day, the combination of the fumes, the heat and the fans blowing the fumes about led to several of the students and janitors getting sick and having to go to the emergency room. Floor wax stripper fumes can be very dangerous, so proper ventilation is very important.

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