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Wood floors are tough. However, as tough as they may be, the wood floors finish is also susceptible to damage and scratches. The floors receive a lot of beatings from moving furniture, high heels, children’s toys, pet nails, etc. It would be best to polish wood floors regularly to ensure they remain shining.

Refinishing wood floors means sanding the floors, which is expensive and only necessary after a long time. However, polishing hardwood floors helps make the hardwood more durable and removes all the imperfections (see ‘How to Make Wood Floors Look New Again‘).

You should thoroughly clean hardwood floors before applying the best floor polish. The process will help keep your hardwood floor shining for an extended period.

How to Get My Hardwood Floors to Shine Again

Maybe you’ve moved into a new house and have just realized that the hardwood floor is pretty beaten up. As mentioned earlier, the refinishing option is quite expensive, and it is not one of your options at the moment. So, how can you make the hardwood floors shine again?

attic with wooden floor

Test the Finish on the Hardwood Floors 

To determine how to get your hardwood floor to shine again, you need to be sure about the type of finish on the floor. If you are unsure what type of finish is on the floor, you can scrap a small bit using a sharp knife from an area that’s not conspicuous in your house to test it. If the wood floor finish is not clear but is smudged up, the hardwood floor may contain a penetrating finish. You can only clean such wood floors, but you cannot polish them.

On the other hand, if the scrapped hardwood floor bit has a clear material, it is likely your floor has a surface finish. Thus, you are free to polish the wood floor. You should also test the hardwood floor polish on an inconspicuous part of the hardwood floor before applying it on the entire floor.

Clean the Hardwood Floor of Dirt and Dust 

After determining the type of finish on your wood floor, you should clean the floor thoroughly to remove all the dirt and dust. It would help if you started emptying the room and removing as much furniture as possible. You can have a friend or family member assist you in removing the furniture. If you are alone, you can place furniture pads on the legs and then slide them out of the room.

If there are any area rugs in the room, roll them up and remove them. You can sweep or vacuum clean the wood floors and then use a commercial wood floor cleaner to mop. Similarly, you can also use a broom. Alternatively, you can use a cleaning solution of a quarter of dish soap and some warm water to remove grime. Faulty vacuum cleaner wheels can scratch floors.

Finally, use a clean and damp mop to remove any residues of the wood floor cleaner. You can use a microfiber cloth to buff the floors while on your hands and knees. In that case, it’s important you wear some kind of hand protection.

If you prefer to stand, you can use a dry microfiber mop and move it circularly until it shines. You can also consider getting a buffing machine and moving it in the wood grain direction.

Use a soft and clean towel to ensure the wood floor is dry completely.

green mop, a towel and a bucket on the wooden floor

Polish Your Wood Floor to a Shine 

When polishing your hardwood floor, ensure you get the best hardwood floor polish for the polishing process. If your floor has a polyurethane finish, you should use water-based or urethane polish. For other types of finishes, you should use wax-based polish.

You can squirt the solution on the floor and then use a microfiber pad to wipe the floor. You can attach the microfiber cloth to your mop, or you can mop by hand. Additionally, you should ensure you follow all the instructions to avoid damaging your wood floors. For instance, do the instructions say that you can spray the polish directly from a spray bottle? Or do you have to apply it on a cloth first? Check to see if you must paste wax or sand the floors before polishing them.

When you start polishing the floors, start at the back corner of the room. Come up with a path that will help you end up at an exit. You can pour a few drops of the polish or an S-shaped amount of the polish on the hardwood floors.

Moreover, you can use a flat surface mop to work the solution in the direction of the wood grain. Ensure you smooth out any bubbles as you work the solution back and forth. It would be best if you worked in small areas in either direction to best control the amount of polish you pour on the floor.

Ensure you completely coat the hardwood floor using the polish. It is also better to use thin layers as they dry faster than thick ones. If need be, you should apply another layer of polish to ensure you get the best results. Avoid splashing the polish on other areas such as baseboards and drywall as the polish will stain them.

closeup of shiny wooden floor

Wait a While Before Restoring the Room

When you are done polishing the floors, allow them some time to dry before you can restore the room. Allow it to dry for about an hour before allowing light foot traffic in the room. Additionally, it would be best if you waited for a day before returning your belongings into the room and resuming everyday use.

Ensure you don’t drag or slide furniture as you take it back in the room as it may end up scratching the floor. Pick up every piece and place it at its appropriate place without dragging or sliding it. If you are dealing with heavy furniture, use felt furniture pads to enhance protection.

Keep Your Wood Floors Looking Great 

Now that your hardwood floors are polished and look new, you should maintain them. You can maintain the floor by placing rugs at the entrances to your room to ensure you don’t track dirt in. If the hardwood floors extend to your kitchen, you should put a rug at the sink to prevent stray water drops from getting to your wood floor.

It would be best if you also stuck to a regular cleaning routine. For instance, you can give the floors a deep cleaning each month and vacuum weekly. You should also avoid using homemade cleaning solutions such as ammonia, diluted vinegar, etc. You should also avoid over-cleaning the floors as it may dull the floors.

Additionally, you can repeat the polish application process a few times each year but don’t go beyond four applications a year.

shiny wooden floor in the living room

What Is the Best Product to Use to Polish Hardwood Floors?

There is no shortage of products in the market for polishing that promise to be the best. But how do you ensure you get the best product for the job? You can consider the following factors when choosing your product:


The best wood floor polish should be versatile enough for use on other floors such as vinyl, tile, laminate, etc. It will also help if the product can be used for other purposes. For instance, maybe you can use it as a wood floor cleaner or fill in scratches.


Before purchasing a hardwood floor polish, you should consider whether you want a specific scent. Naturally, floor polishes come with a bit of scent, but you should check if you are comfortable with the smell.

Wood Floor Type

There are various wood floors, including the engineered hardwood floor, solid wood, sealed wood floors, unsealed, etc.

Before you can purchase a hardwood floor polish, you should read the product description to ensure the product is a perfect fit for your type of floor.

4 various wooden floor types

Ease of Use

Your choice of polish should also be effortless and straightforward to use. Read the manufacturer instructions to understand how to use the product. You should also ensure you have the right tools to manipulate the polish the right way.


Wood floor polishes come in a range of prices. Some are costly, while others are pocket-friendly. You can also get a product with the best working capabilities but at a reduced price.

As such, you must consider your budget before settling on a wood floor polish. Ensure that your choice is cost-effective.


Some hardwood polish products have polyurethane, a toxic chemical and can cause respiratory issues. If you have kids or pets in the house, a hardwood polish with polyurethane would not be the best choice.

You can also make your hardwood floor polish using olive oil, water, vinegar, and lemongrass essential oil. However, the product may not be as effective as other products in the market.

bottles of various polishing solutions


Hardwood floors are classy and give your house an elegant and appealing look. Although tough, hardwood floors are susceptible to scratches and other beatings that interfere with their looks. However, all is not lost as you can make your wood floors look new again by using the right hardwood floor polish. Ensure the polish fits your budget, safety, versatility, etc. Additionally, ensure you get it right on the polishing process to get the best results.

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