December 3, 2022

Photo: amazon.com

Most hardwood flooring endures a lot of wear and tear, not only from people walking on them, but also from kids and pets. However, a good floor polish can revitalize and restore hardwoods by filling in unsightly scratches and adding shine.

But not all hardwood floor polishes are safe for every type of floor, so manufacturers produce specially formulated polishes for different kinds of flooring and finishes. Quick-drying and eco-friendly polishes also are available.

To help navigate the options, this guide details the important features to consider, as well as some of the best hardwood floor polishes organized by type.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Weiman Wood Floor Polish and Restorer 
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Quick Shine Multi Surface Floor Finish 
  3. BEST FOR RESTORATION: Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer
  4. BEST FOR HIGH GLOSS: Bona Hardwood Floor Polish, High Gloss
  5. BEST FOR LOW GLOSS: Bona Hardwood Floor Polish, Low Gloss
  6. BEST FOR QUICK DRYING: Quick Shine Hardwood Floor Luster
  7. BEST FOR URETHANE FINISHES: Bruce Fresh Finish Floor Polish
  8. BEST POLISH/CLEANER COMBO: Orange Glo 4-in-1 Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Polish

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hardwood Floor Polish

The wrong floor polish can damage wood floors, which means it’s important to find the appropriate product. When searching for the best hardwood floor polish, some factors to consider include the type of wood floor, the polish’s formula, concentration, finish, ease of application, and drying time.

Wood Floor Type

Manufacturers produce a variety of different types of wood flooring, so verify the exact type of hardwood flooring before choosing a floor polish. Wood flooring can be solid hardwood, engineered wood, or laminate flooring that looks like wood.

Using the wrong polish may not create the desired shine, or it could result in an uneven appearance. In the worst-case scenario, the polish could even damage flooring so much that a professional must repair it. If uncertain about the type of flooring, opt for a multipurpose floor polish that’s appropriate for every type.

Ingredients

A number of ingredients are used to make hardwood floor polish. Some include toxic substances like ammonia; aromatic solvents like benzene or toluene, phenol, turpentine, petroleum distillates (also called naphthas or mineral spirits), silicones, trichloroethane, and synthetic polymers. If concerned about potential toxicity, use a polish that’s labeled Greenguard certified, U.S. EPA Safer Choice, or nontoxic.

Other ingredients include waxes such as carnauba wax, also called Brazil or palm wax. While this ingredient produces a shine, over time it can cause buildup and even attract dirt.

Some hardwood floor polishes also contain fragrance, which is largely a matter of personal preference.

Concentration

Some hardwood floor polishes are sold in a concentrated formula, which must be diluted before application. Others must be applied with a wet mop, while some products are applied right out of the container.

If the product requires dilution, avoid soaking the mop with water, because water can damage wood floors, even finished flooring. It can warp the wood or cause it to swell, decreasing the lifespan of the flooring, and too much water can lead to an uneven polish application or streaky finish.

For best results with most hardwood floor polish products, use a damp mop and wring it out thoroughly during application.

Finish 

Know the type of finish on the hardwood flooring before choosing a floor polish. Flooring with a high-gloss finish diffuses light, resulting in a shiny surface. Mid-range luster finishes can diffuse some light, but less than high gloss. Low-gloss and matte flooring finishes are the least shiny.

To learn what kind of finish is on the floor, perform a few tests. If a few drops of mineral oil on a clean but inconspicuous spot soak into the flooring, it’s likely finished with a thin wiping varnish, which is usually water based. However, if the oil beads and then wipes away easily, the floors are probably finished with shellac or varnish.

If the floor has an amber hue, it’s likely finished with shellac. To identify a wax finish, scratch a coin on an inconspicuous spot. Some wax will transfer to the coin if it has a wax finish. A penetrating oil finish, the hardest one to spot, seals the wood and enhances its natural color, but no easy way exists to determine it. After identifying the finish, consult the product’s label to ensure the product is safe before applying.

The wrong hardwood floor polish can dull the finish or make it have a too-shiny or matte appearance, which could require calling in a professional, a costly mistake.

Ease of Application

Not all floor polishes are applied in the same manner. Some polishes require a microfiber mop, while others can be applied with a sponge mop. If using a microfiber mop, make sure it’s new or recently washed. A dirty microfiber mop can embed dust or dirt into the layer of polish.

When using a sponge mop, remember that even seemingly clean sponges contain crevices that can hide dirt. If planning to polish floors frequently with a sponge mop, keep one exclusively for this purpose.

For best results, read the instructions on the label to learn how to apply that particular product. Clean and dust the floors before applying the polish.

Drying Time

Also consider drying time and how much time must elapse before the room can be used after polishing. Some floor polishes take an hour to dry, while others can take a day or longer.

The probable drying time should be listed on the product’s label. Once the polish is dry, it’s typically safe to walk on the floors with socks. However, most manufacturers recommend waiting until the next day to move the furniture back into the room.

Some hardwood floor polishes can release dangerous fumes as they dry, so also think about the safety of the room’s occupants—both humans and pets—when considering drying times.

Our Top Picks

Since so many options are on today’s market, we researched and reviewed several of the most popular products to create this list of some of the best hardwood floor polish products. No matter the finish, level of shine, or condition of the flooring, one of these may be a worthy choice.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Weiman Wood Floor Polish and Restorer

Photo: amazon.com

For a single product that can both clean and restore hardwood floors, Weiman Wood Floor Polish and Restorer may be the best choice. Designed for high-traffic areas, it uses micro-filling technology on scratches and helps prevent new scratches from forming.

In homes with kids and pets, who are typically hard on floors, this nontoxic solution creates no harmful fumes. Formulated to be safe for the whole family, the no-rinse product saves time and energy. Just 30 minutes after application, hardwood floors look shiny and like new.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 32 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: Yes
  • Drying time: 30 minutes

Pros

  • Both polishes and restores
  • Easy to dispense
  • Also removes scratches

Cons

  • Don’t use on waxed, unsealed, or unfinished floors

Get Weiman hardwood floor polish on Amazon and Walmart.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Quick Shine Multi Surface Floor Finish

Photo: amazon.com

Hardwood floor maintenance can be costly, but Quick Shine Multi Surface Floor Finish helps make it easier on the wallet. It not only works on hardwoods but also on laminate, luxury vinyl tile (LVT), luxury vinyl plank (LVP), tile, and stone flooring. Recognized as a “Safer Choice” product by the United States EPA, it’s made without potentially harmful ingredients, such as aluminum, ammonia, formaldehyde, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, and gluten.

Available in a large 64-ounce bottle, this polish adds a protective layer on the wood and fills in micro-scratches, making it a quality choice for high-traffic areas and busy households. However, it won’t clean the flooring, so users must clean the floors before applying it.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 64 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: Yes
  • Drying time: 30 minutes

Pros

  • Safer Choice recognized; safer for kids, pets, environment
  • Shiny finish
  • Fast drying time

Cons

  • Floor must be cleaned and dusted before use

Get Quick Shine floor finish on Amazon and The Home Depot.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer

Photo: amazon.com

Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer and Polish fills in scratches, seals, and protects hardwoods that have been sealed with a urethane-based finish. This polish bonds to the current finish, helping to resist future stains. It won’t create a waxy buildup.

After cleaning the floor and removing any dust and debris, apply the liquid with a microfiber applicator in the direction of the grain. After an hour, the surface is safe for light foot traffic. Apply a second coat after about 2 hours. One bottle covers up to 525 square feet.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 32 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: No
  • Drying time: 1 hour for socked-foot traffic; 24 hours for other uses

Pros

  • Fills in scratches
  • Safe for foot traffic after 1 hour
  • No waxy buildup

Cons

  • Not for laminate, acrylic-based sealed floors, waxed, or oiled floors
  • Apply with microfiber only (no cotton, string, or sponge mops)

Get Rejuvenate wood floor restorer on Amazon and Walmart.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Bona Hardwood Floor Polish, High Gloss

Photo: amazon.com

If once-glossy floors are looking a bit dull these days, Bona Hardwood Floor Polish can even out the surface.

Safe for all unwaxed, unoiled, polyurethane-finished wood floors, it restores flooring by filling in micro-scratches from pets, heels, or furniture and adding a protective layer. It contains an additive that inhibits the growth of unwanted particles like mold, bacteria, and mildew.

Greenguard certified, this product contains no parabens or phthalates, and for those concerned about indoor air quality, it’s low VOC. Floors are ready for walking in socks after 1 hour, and the polish cures completely after 24 hours. One bottle covers just 500 square feet, so measure the floor area before starting.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 32 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: No
  • Drying time: 1 hour for socked-foot traffic; 24 hours to cure

Pros

  • Greenguard certified
  • Prevents growth of mold, bacteria, mildew
  • Fills micro-scratches

Cons

  • Floors must be clean prior to use
  • Floor cannot be coated with polyurethane after use

Get Bona low-gloss hardwood floor polish on Amazon, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Bona Hardwood Floor Polish, Low Gloss

Photo: amazon.com

In recent years, low-gloss and matte flooring have become trendy. However, this type of flooring can scratch more easily and damage faster than high-gloss floors. Using the right type of floor polish is key. Safe for use on unwaxed clean polyurethane-finished wood floors, this Bona Hardwood polish creates a low-gloss shine and adds a protective layer while fixing scratches.

This formula is Greenguard certified and also can help maintain a cleaner home with its antimicrobial formula, which inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 32 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: No
  • Drying time: 1 hour for socked-foot traffic; 24 hours to cure

Pros

  • Provides antimicrobial protection
  • Greenguard certified

Cons

  • Takes 24 hours to fully cure
  • For polyurethane-finished floors only

Get Bona high-gloss hardwood floor polish on Amazon and Walmart.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Quick Shine Hardwood Floor Luster

Photo: amazon.com

Polishing hardwood floors can take a lot of time, but Quick Shine Hardwood Floor Cleaner dries in fewer than 30 minutes. Safely formulated for use around kids and pets, this U.S. EPA-recognized Safer Choice product is free of aluminum, formaldehyde, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, and gluten.

Formulated with carnauba wax, which adds shine and UV protection and helps floors withstand traffic, carnauba wax has a tendency to build up and attract dirt over time.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 64 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: No
  • Drying time: Fewer than 30 minutes

Pros

  • Dries fast
  • U.S. EPA Safer Choice product
  • Some plant-based ingredients
  • Use with mop pad or buffer

Cons

  • Wax can build up and attract dirt

Get Quick Shine hardwood floor cleaner on Amazon and The Home Depot.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Bruce Fresh Finish Floor Polish

Photo: lowes.com

For prefinished urethane hardwood floors, Bruce Fresh Finish Floor Polish fills in scratches and leaves older, damaged, or dulled floors looking beautiful and revived.

Simply clean the wood floors, grab a mop, and carefully apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After drying for 180 minutes, floors have a new luster with a semi-gloss finish. One 32-ounce bottle can cover as much as 500 square feet. However, don’t use Bruce Fresh Finish on floors that have been waxed or maintained with oil-based products.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 32 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: No
  • Drying time: 180 minutes

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Semi-gloss finish
  • Fills in scratches

Cons

  • Quite lengthy drying time

Get Bruce Fresh Finish floor polish at Lowe’s or Walmart.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes Option: Orange Glo 4-in-1 Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Polish

Photo: homedepot.com

Most floor polishes require a separate product to clean the floor, but Orange Glo 4-in-1 Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Polish eliminates that extra step. It’s formulated for polishing, shining, protecting, and revitalizing hardwood floors.

Orange Glo also fixes scratches and protects floors from water damage. With a fresh orange scent, this polish dries in about 15 minutes and leaves a lasting shine even in homes with pets or that receive heavy foot traffic. It cleans tough stains and doesn’t leave a residue. While it can’t be used on waxed, oiled, worn, unsealed, laminate, prefinished, or engineered wood, it can be used on wood furniture, cabinets, and paneling in addition to wood floors.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 24 ounces
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces: No
  • Drying time: 15 minutes

Pros

  • Orange scent
  • Multiple uses
  • Doesn’t require cleaning before use

Cons

  • Not eco-friendly
  • Scent not attractive to everyone
  • Not for waxed, oiled, worn, unsealed, laminate, prefinished, or engineered wood

Get Orange Glo hardwood floor cleaner and polish at The Home Depot and Walmart.

Our Verdict

For most typical hardwood floors, Weiman hardwood floor polish offers fast drying time, fills in scratches, and is safe for family and pets. However, to polish multiple types of flooring while saving money, Quick Shine floor finish may be the right choice. It works with hardwood, laminate, LVT, tile, and stone flooring; has a similar drying time; and is safe for children and pets.

The Best Hardwood Floor Polishes

A variety of factors went into choosing the products in this guide. We researched popular products from national retailers and factored in the brand’s reputation in the flooring or cleaning categories. Safety for families with children or pets was another concern.

We looked for eco-friendly products as well as polishes that are suitable for a variety of surfaces. We also searched for those with extra benefits such as the ability to fill in scratches. Finally, we considered the product’s value and its ability to cover a reasonable amount of square footage.

Tips for Using Hardwood Floor Polish 

Keep in mind a number of factors when using hardwood floor polish. First, make sure to buy the right floor polish for that particular type of hardwood. For example, floors with a shiny finish may require a high-gloss polish. If floors have a lower luster, choose a low-gloss formula.

Before starting, calculate the square footage of the room to purchase enough polish. To obtain square feet, multiply the length of the room by the width.

Even if not stated on the product label, it’s preferable to vacuum or sweep the floors before applying the polish. Failure to properly clean the floor could cause the polish to be applied unevenly, or it could cause the floor to become scratched or even permanently damaged.

  • Purchase the right type of polish.
  • Make sure to have enough product to polish the entire floor.
  • Clean the floors before polishing.

FAQs

Applying a coat of floor polish helps restore the shine to hardwood floors without requiring a professional to sand or refinish them. For more information on the best way to polish hardwood floors, keep reading to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Q. What is the best product to use on hardwood floors to make them shine?

Polish makes floors shine, but cleaning wood flooring first helps provide the maximum shine.

Q. How often should I polish my hardwood floors?

To look their best, hardwood floors should be polished every 2 to 4 months. However, homes that receive less foot traffic can go longer.

Q. What safety measures do I need to take before polishing my hardwood floors?

Make sure all the furniture is removed from the room before polishing the floor, which may require an additional person.

Q. What results should I expect after polishing my hardwood floors?

The floor should shine and look even, but it can take hours, if not a day or two, for the polish to thoroughly dry and cure.

Q. Is it better to clean or polish hardwood floors?

You should always clean hardwood floors before polishing them. Polishing hardwood floors helps them look their best for a long time.