Hardwood Floor How-To's

How to Polish Hardwood Floors—Do’s and Don’ts

Do you really know how to polish hardwood floors? Get expert tips and trips.
How to Polish Hardwood Floors—Do’s and Don’ts

Learning how to polish hardwood floors adds sheen and helps to fill in micro-scratches to make them less noticeable. Polishing helps restore a floor’s protective layer of finish and can be a simple DIY project that can be done without any special equipment. However, without proper preparation and technique, even the “simple” job of polishing your floor can lead to unintended results if you’re not prepared. Learn some simple do’s and don’ts when polishing hardwood floors.

Tips & Tricks

When it comes to polishing hardwood floors, it’s best to approach the job with a gentle hand. There’s no need to aggressively work the polish into your floors. Let the polish do all the work when applying.

  • Get your floor ready. Remove furniture, dry mop and clean with Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Cleaner.
  • Measure your room and know your square footage. One 32oz bottle of Polish covers 500 sq. ft. You will use one full bottle of Polish for every 500 sq ft.
  • Do not shake the bottle of polish—gently rock it back and forth for :30 seconds to 1 minute to assure a consistent sheen level.
  • Spread a nice even layer of polish across the floor so it can self-level.
  • Let the applicator pad do the work—just guide the puddle of polish back and forth with the wood grain... only fingertip pressure on your mop.
  • Work in small sections on the floor, making sure you don’t trap yourself in a corner!
  • Only Polish floors every 2-4 months, or longer depending on the traffic in your home.


Proper preparation is key. Having a clean, dry floor is important to get the desired results. Plan with the right tools and correct amount of polish for a hassle-free work session.

  • Measure your floor and calculate the square footage of the room to assure you have enough bottles of Polish for one application. To find square footage, simply multiply the length by the width of the room. One bottle of the 32oz. Polish only covers 500 sq. ft., whereas the 24oz. Polish only covers 350 sq. ft.
  • Start with a clean floor using Bona PowerPlus Deep Clean and Bona PowerPlus Microfiber Deep Clean Pad to remove residue.
  • Remove furniture, rugs, etc. and vacuum, sweep or dust mop the floor. It may take multiple applications of the Bona PowerPlus Deep Clean.
  • Work in sections to completely remove any residue from each section before moving to the next… rinse & wring your PowerPlus Microfiber Deep Clean Pad often while cleaning!
  • Test polish in a small area to make sure you are happy with the results.
  • Pour polish directly on the floor in an S pattern. Dampen the microfiber pad with polish to start.


A cloudy, milky looking floor can come from improper handling of the polish. For best results, keep water away from the polish solution and avoid contaminating the polish by transferring it into another container.

  • Don’t pour polish into a spray mop or spray bottle.
  • Don’t pour polish into a bucket.
  • Don’t use polish with a sponge, string or wring mop.
  • Don’t dampen Bona Microfiber Cleaner Pad with water.
  • Don’t rinse and wring the Bona Microfiber Cleaner Pad while applying Bona Hardwood Floor Polish to the floor.
  • Don’t apply polish with a scrubbing or cleaning action to the floor—it doesn’t need to be rubbed in.
  • Don’t apply polish too thin – it needs to be a nice even layer applied at the correct application rate.
  • Polish should be used within 1 year of opening the bottle, and has a shelf life of 1-2 years unopened.

Finishing the Job

Polish can be walked on with SOCKS on your feet after 1-2 hours. Allow 24 hours before resuming normal traffic, returning furniture and rugs, and allowing pets back to the floor. If desired, wait a full 24 hours before applying a second coat.

Bona offers floor polishes and tools for hardwood, stone, tile and laminate. Hardwood furniture polish is also available to keep your rooms looking beautiful. Take a look at our selection of polishes to find the right product for you.