What you need to know
Polishing is an important part of wood floor maintenance. Learning how to polish wood floors yourself adds extra beauty, shine and longer life. Applying polish helps to restore a floor’s protective layer of finish, and it's a simple project that can be done by most people. Learning how to do it yourself is a relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive way to properly maintain wood floors.
Polishing vs. refinishing
It’s important to know the difference between polishing and refining a wood floor. The tasks are similar, but when you polish a wood floor, you keep the finish intact; you're simply restoring a its existing finish, filling in microscopic scratches, and evening out its general appearance. But when you refinish a wood floor, you're completely removing the floor’s existing finish and replacing it.
Use Bona Polish to add a new protective layer, fill in micro scratches, and even out the appearance of your floor.
Always test polish in an inconspicuous section before spreading it over the entire floor.
When applying polish to your floor, use the “feathering” technique to ensure a smooth finish without lines or 'stop-and-start' marks.
Only use matt polish on an extra-matt floor to maintain a natural appearance. Test it in an inconspicuous area to see the gloss level before applying to the entire floor.
Do not use polish on an oiled floor.
How often should I clean and polish my floor? Cleaning as often as you can will help to minimise the amount of dirt and dust on your floors, which can act like sandpaper, and start to wear it down. Bona’s range of specially-formulated polishes can be used several times a year. How often you use it will depend entirely on the amount of traffic your floor undergoes, but typical homeowner floor-maintenance is about every two-to-four months. How long will cleaning and polishing take? It depends on the size of your wood floors. It's actually a very quick and easy process when you use Bona Cleaner and Bona Polish. Bona Polish provides a protective layer, and evens out the sheen. It's an incredibly simple DIY project - no special equipment is needed. Simply remove all furniture and rugs, then sweep, vacuum-clean or dust-mop your floor, and give it a wet cleaning with Bona Wood Floor Cleaner. Then squirt Bona Polish onto the floor, spread it with an applicator, and let it dry. Give it an hour before you walk on it, and 24 hours before allowing heavy traffic to resume.
Prepping your space
Remove all furniture and other belongings from the room. Clear the area. Be careful when moving large objects and furniture. If possible, use furniture pads to help protect the floor from accidental scratches and gouges.
Give the floor a good clean. Dust and mop. Make sure the floor is completely dry before applying the polish. For more information, read our article on cleaning hardwood floors [link to cleaning article]. If necessary, discreetly test the polish on a small portion of the floor.
Make sure you have all the right tools. Polishes can be applied with an applicator pad or a high-density foam roller. Check the polish instructions to make sure that you have everything you need to do the job.
Applying the polish
Keep it small. When applying the polish to your hardwood floor, work in small sections to keep the applicator pad/roller wet. Be sure to smooth out the polish along the grain of the wood.
Use a feathering technique. To avoid stripes of uneven polish on your floor, take a cue from interior painting and feather out the polish, so that you have smooth transitions as you move from section to section.
Plan your exit. Don’t paint yourself in a corner! Plan how you’re going to divide up the floor in advance. If possible, have a helper apply polish along the perimeter of the room while you follow close behind.
Finishing the job Once you’re finished, allow at least an hour for the polish to dry before you walk on the floor. The polish should dry completely after 24 hours, making it ready for heavy traffic. Polishing your hardwood floor is recommended every few months, but this will vary, depending on how much foot traffic the floor experiences. 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. Read more GENERAL CLEANING TIPS The Power of Hydrogen Peroxide Learn about common natural disinfectants found in your home and why hydrogen peroxide is one of the best used to clean and disinfect. LEARN MORE HARDWOOD FLOOR MAINTENANCE TIPS Cleaning, Deep Cleaning or Renovation? There is a lot you can do to make your hardwood floors stay beautiful over time. Clean, maintain or a thorough deep clean? Find out what you can do to ensure that your hardwood floor is always looking it's best. LEARN MORE HARDWOOD FLOOR MAINTENANCE TIPS Avoid Water and Vinegar When Cleaning Wood Floors Finding an effective way to get the best cleaning results for your wood floors is an important step in wood floor care.