Hardwood Floor How-To's

Floor Polish 101

Daily maintenance protects your floors, but don’t forget that polishing your hardwood floors adds another layer of protection and shine. Learn how to polish hardwood floors with some help from the pros at Bona.
Floor Polish 101

The finish on your hardwood floor protects your wood from minor scratches and daily foot traffic. Applying a polish to your hardwood floor adds an amazing shine to your floor while restoring your floor’s existing finish. Before you decide if this is a project you want to handle yourself, consider the overall process first.

Low Gloss vs. High Gloss


Personal preference plays an important role in making sure you have the right look to your floors. When it comes to selecting polish, the level of sheen affects the overall feel of your space. The sheen level of a polish will tell you how much light is reflected off your floors. A high gloss polish will make your floors reflect a lot of light, versus a subtle low gloss polish. Again, there is no right or wrong here. Just remember that any dirt, dust or imperfections in the wood will be easily seen with high gloss polish.

When to Polish

Floor polishes are a maintenance coating that provide a shine or sheen to the floor. It will fill in micro-scratches and make them less noticeable. If your floors are looking dull or worn, it’s time to consider a coat of polish. Just don’t overdo it—you can polish your floor every 1 – 3 months. Consider 2-4 months.

How to Polish Your Floors: Prepping Your Space
Before you're ready to polish your hardwood floor, the room must be prepped properly for a hassle-free experience. If unfamiliar with cleaning products previously used on the floor, Bona recommends using Bona PowerPlus Deep Clean and Bona PowerPlus Microfiber Deep Clean Pad to remove any cleaner residue.

Applying the Polish


When you’re ready to polish your hardwood floor, a good strategy will help guarantee success.

  1. Measure your floor before applying polish.
  2. ​Apply to a small test area before applying the polish throughout your floor.
  3. ​One 32 oz. bottle of polish only covers 500 sq. ft. One 24 oz. bottle of polish only covers 350 sq. ft.​ For example, for a 10x12 ft. room expect to use about 1/4 of the 32 oz. bottle.
  4. Gently rock the polish bottle back and forth for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. ​Start in a small manageable area. Pour the polish directly from the bottle onto the floor in an “S” shaped pattern. Apply the polish using the applicator pad.
  6. ​Spread the polish going with the grain to achieve a nice even coat.
  7. After applying the polish wash out your applicator pad immediately to remove polish residue.
  8. ​After 1 to 2 hours, depending on humidity, you may walk on the floor with socks on your feet.
  9. ​Cure time is 24 hours. After this time you may replace furniture and allow heavy traffic and pets.

Cloudy Hardwood Floors After Polishing

The last thing that’s expected after a polishing job is a cloudy, streaky floor. To help avoid this, consider the potential causes so that you can prepare yourself for a job well done:

  • Thin application of polish (not enough polish used)
  • Using an expired bottle of polish
  • Did not start the job with a clean floor/polish applicator
  • Polish used with non-compatible product

Starting with a clean floor is vital for polishing your floors. After giving your floors a good deep clean, test a small area of your floor with polish to make sure you like the results. Again, calculating the square footage of your floor will help you figure out how much polish you need and can help guide your application process.

When to Call the Pros


Polishing your floors can be a DIY job, but professional contractors can be called in for the job or to help fix a previous attempt at polishing your floor. Consider the costs of doing it yourself or having it done by professionals. While saving money is always a good thing, having peace of mind on a job well done is priceless.

Bona offers floor polishes and tools for hardwood, stone, tile and laminate. Hardwood furniture polish is also available to keep your rooms looking beautiful. Check out our selection of polishes to find the right product for you. Want to call in the pros? Find a Bona Certified Craftsman.