We all know that today’s floor finishes do not yellow like the old products that actually aged over time.  If a floor finish is yellowing it is due to chemical reactions and/or poor maintenance techniques.  Most yellowing today is the result of trapping soils between layers or chemically damaging the product.

Here are some likely causes of yellowing and how to fix them:


Cause: New cotton mops used to apply finish before soaked and cleaned (sizing can release and yellow floor)

Solution: Clean mops thoroughly before use. Deep scrub to remove dirt and color


Cause: Not using automatic scrubber for daily cleaning (particularly when on ultra high program) prior to any buffing (grinding dirt into finish)

Solution: Must use auto scrubber and proper pads/cleaner on daily basis - Damp mopping is not sufficient.


Cause: Damp mopping with dirty water (spreading dirt)

Solution: When using a mop always change water frequently and use two pail system


Cause: Excessive dirt, sand, and grit allowed to enter facility and being ground into finish.

Solution: Use approved mats and runners


Cause: Water trails left by scrubber

Solution: Minimize trails with equipment maintenance and operator training


Cause: Dirty mops used to pick up water from scrubber leaving dirt which can be buffed into finish 

Solution: Train scrubber operator, use clean mop, and change rinse water frequently


Cause: Buffing pads contain dirt and finish accumulations 

Solution: Always use clean pads; rotate or replace as needed


Cause: Incorrect concentration of cleaner: Too much cleaner can soften finish and/or leave residue which can hold dirt deposits; too little cleaner will not permit adequate dirt removal 

Solution: Follow recommended floor care procedures


Cause: Oil treated dust mops being used, leaving dirt catching residues 

Solution: Use Paraffin treated dust mops


Cause: Applying floor finish before floor has been properly scrubbed and rinsed (dirt coated into floor finish) 

Solution: Strip, rinse, and reapply finish


Cause: Getting buildup by applying finish to edges every time floor is coated (edges turning color)

Solution: Do not re-coat outer 4 to 6 inches every time floor is finished


Cause: Fans used to force dry floor finish resulting in dirt catching bubbles and air pockets (dirt can then be buffed into finish) 

Solution: Never direct fans at floor finish: If fans are used, aim upward for air circulation in area


Cause: Dirty mops

Solution: Always use clean mops. If dirty mops or equipment used, strip rinse, and reapply finish


Cause: Contaminated floor finish (Unused finish should never be returned to original container)

Solution: Dispose of unused finish


Cause: Incorrect buffing pads being used allowing a color transfer to high spots in the floor

Solution: Use approved pads


Always purchase quality finishes that are easy to apply and durable in maintenance. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome.  I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…..


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.