How to Polish Wood Floors

Child Polishing Wood FloorThe best way to take care of your wood floors is to clean them on a weekly basis and give them a good polish every 2-4 months. The benefit of using wood polish is it will fill scratches caused by everyday living and over cleaning. 

It also helps to protect your floors against future damage that may occur on your hardwood flooring.

The best wood floor to polish is one that has been finished with polyurethane. If your floor has an oiled or lacquered finish you’ll want to consult a flooring professional before polishing. These types of finishes will likely require you to sand and wax rather than polishing.

Step 1: Remove Furniture and Clean 

It’s important to completely clear your floor of any dirt, dust or other debris before polishing.  Here’s an article on cleaning your hardwood floors. Also, remove as much furniture from the room as possible so you can apply an even coat of polish to the entire floor. 

Step 2: Choose the Right Polish 

There are different types of polish for different types of wood floor finishes. If you have a polyurethane finish, you will want to use a water-based or urethane polish. Any other finishes will likely require a wax-based polish (please not that some floors will need to be sanded and waxed rather than just applying polish).

Step 3: Do a Test Area 

It is recommended that you test an area of your floor that won’t be seen, such as in a closet.  You should do this up to a week before you do the rest. This way you can see if the polish gives the desired appearance before doing the entire floor. Simply apply the polish and wipe it with a microfiber cloth.

Step 4: Start Polishing

Assuming your test area was satisfactory, it’s time to polish the rest of your floor. Again, make sure the whole floor has been cleaned—and buffed if necessary—ahead of time and the furniture is out of the room.  Either spray the polish on the floor or put it on a microfiber cloth (follow the directions on the polish bottle).

Using a feathering technique, wipe the polish with your cloth in a semi-circle. Be sure to overlap your strokes to prevent streaks. 

Step 5: Gradual Polishing

It’s best to start from the corner and work your way out in small sections (about 3×3 foot areas) at a time. This will help insure you are applying an even coat and not spreading your wood polish too thin. 

Step 6: Let Dry Completely

Allow your wood polish to dry completely before brining back your furniture to prevent scuffing up your freshly polished floors.