The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.

NPI Marketing Team
NPI Marketing Team


The Best Way to Polish Wood Floors

Hardwood floors have topped homebuyers’ most wanted lists for some time now and remain a major selling point for prospective buyers. While they’re known for being more durable and easier to maintain than carpet, hardwood floors still need upkeep and TLC to stay looking new. Here’s the best technique for polishing your hardwood floors so they look their best for years to come.

How Often to Polish Hardwood Floors
There IS such a thing as polishing hardwood floors too often. Over-polishing will only lead to a sticky buildup and create the perfect trap for dust, dirt and grime. The idea behind polishing floors is to fill in any scratches, protect the finish from future damage and of course, achieve that shiny, sparkling clean look. The best schedule for polishing hardwood floors is once every two to four months.

1. Remove rugs and furniture.
First, remove the rugs from the room whose floors you’re ready to polish. Then, the more furniture you can completely remove from the room, the better. Grab a friend, and remove all furniture if possible, or push it as close to the edges of the room as you can.

2. Vacuum floors thoroughly.
Before you start polishing, you’ll want to make sure you remove dust and debris from your floors. If you plan to use a vacuum, make sure that the wheels are in good shape, as rough wheels can scratch hardwood floors. When in doubt, just grab a broom.

3. Figure out your floor's finish.
You may not have thought about your hardwood floors’ finish before, but now is the time to investigate. The type of finish your floors have will determine which route you’ll need to take when it’s time to start polishing.

Choose an area out of the way (like behind a piece of furniture) and lightly scrape up a little of your floor’s finish with a blade. If nothing comes up at all and you just see a smudge, you like have a penetrating finish on your hands. If this is the case, you’ll actually need to wax your floors and you shouldn’t proceed with polishing! If a little finish does come up, then you have the okay to proceed with polishing.

4. Start polishing.
Beginning in a back corner of the room, pour a small, S-shaped amount of wood floor polish of your choice on the floor. Use a flat-surface mop to smooth the polish back and forth in the same direction as the wood grain, taking care to get rid of any air bubbles that form. Work in areas that are around three by five feet in either direction. This will help you control the amount of polish you use and allow you to achieve an even finish. We recommend applying a thin layer to start rather than a thick one—you can always apply another coat.

5. Wait patiently.
Once you’ve finished polishing a room, make sure everyone knows to stay off the floor for at least an hour. To avoid scratches, it’s a good idea to close the room off to pets and furniture should not be moved back in for another 24 hours.

6. Keep your hardwood floors looking great between polishes.
Polishing is a big job, and having your work get reversed almost as soon as it’s completed is frustrating. To keep your newly polished hardwood floors gleaming, try placing rugs at the entrance to rooms to help control any dirt and grime that might be tracked in. You should also stick to a weekly vacuuming schedule to keep dust at bay. You shouldn’t need to use cleaning solutions between polishing, but if you do, be sure to check their compatibility with wood floors. Any homemade solutions that contain vinegar and/or ammonia are a no-go, but a homemade solution that contains castile soap won’t dull shine.


Call National Property Inspections for a full report on your home’s condition.
Our NPI inspectors have all of your home and commercial property inspection needs covered. Find an inspector near you today to schedule an appointment and receive a comprehensive report on your home’s major systems.

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