When people hear ‘hardwood floors,” they immediately think ‘upscale.’ Homes with hardwood flooring are very sought after and usually sell quicker than other houses. These floors add warmth and class to a property. Sometimes they are installed later in a house’s life but many times they can be as old as the house itself, making them antique.
No matter their age, hardwood floors are a major investment that require proper care. Keeping them clean and protecting them from damage is very important.
Hardwood floor polishes help keep your floors looking good AND in good condition.
We’ve picked out and reviewed some of the best hardwood floor polishes on the market for you.
First, you may ask, ’Should I polish my hardwood floors?” Yes! As you know, those floors are not cheap and should be properly cared for. Polishing your hardwood:
Protects against everyday wear and tear from pets, vacuums, and foot traffic.
Helps fill in and hide scratches and scuff marks.
Restores a protective coating to the wood.
And finally makes the floor look shiny and more attractive.
How to Choose the Best Hardwood Floor Polish
There are several important factors you should look at when selecting a hardwood floor polish.
If you have different surfaces you’d like to polish all at once you should ask “Can the polish be used on other floor types like tile or laminate in addition to wood?”
Some polishes also clean and fill in gouges and scratches.
The more concentrated a polish, the larger a floor space it can cover. If you have large areas to polish you will probably want a higher concentration. It may be more expensive but more than likely it will cost you less in the long run.
Hardwood floor polishes sometimes contain the toxic chemical, polyurethane. If breathed in an enclosed space it can cause someone respiratory issues. Therefore, we don’t recommend any polish formulated with polyurethane, especially if you have health concerns, children, or pets.
The good news is that there are many polishes without polyurethane on the market. We will note any toxicity issues of each product in this guide. You could also mix your own polish from water, olive oil, vinegar, and lemongrass essential oil. It’s a green option but may not be as effective as off the shelf products.
Most floor polishes produce an odor when applied. Depending on the ingredients this odor can linger longer than others. Some polishes come with scents included on purpose.
Wood Floor Type
Before buying a polish, understand what kind of floors you have. Solid, reclaimed, sealed, unsealed, or engineered woods all have different needs. To avoid damaging your floor, be sure to match the polish with the floor type.
Even the best hardwood floor polishes can vary widely in price. Always remember volume is important. Check the price per ounce and by surface area covered. You could end up having to buy more bottles and spend more money in the end.
Ease of Use
Some polishes require special applicators, so be mindful of those needs. Most of us want the simplest option. Be sure to read the instructions before applying any polish to your floors.
That way you can prepare and have all the needed tools before you have a puddle of polish on your floor.
Check to see if the floor polish leaves a residue behind. Some brands, like Bona, claim not to do so but still can leave a thin film behind. Reading customer opinions can help you figure out what is the real-world truth.
If there is a leftover film, often removing it is as simple as wiping it with a soft cloth after the floors dry.
The Best Hardwood Floor Polish of 2021
We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, looking at customers reviews and researching the products, to help you make the best decision when buying the right polish. Below are 10 of the best hardwood floor polishes we have found on the market.
1. Quick Shine Hardwood Floor Polish
This polish is a chemical-free option, based on Brazil Wax (or carnauba). By avoiding various compounds like paraben, formaldehyde, and ammonia, it has earned an EPA seal of approval as a safer choice. It does not have a fragrance or chemical odor which could aggravate someone with respiratory issues. This polish provides a protective layer and can fill in small scratches. It can be applied with a floor mop and dries within 30 minutes, leaving a high gloss. After drying it is safe for people to enter the space. If you’re looking for a natural option we would recommend Quick Shine Hardwood Floor Polish.
Natural, chemical free
Brings out natural wood colors
Adds layer of protection
Can fill in and cover up minor scratches
2. Method Wood Polish, Almond
If you are looking for a polish with a natural scent, Method Wood Polish comes with the rich smell of almond. It’s described by users as ‘cozy,’ not cloying, or lingering. It works well to polish not only wood floors but wood furniture and cabinets as well. It’s plant-based oils provide a streak-free shine. It comes in a spray bottle which makes application to small areas relatively easy.
Subtle almond scent
Use on floors and furniture
Spray bottle application
Bottle often leaks
Shine is not as bright as other polishes
3. Howard Products Wood Polish & Conditioner
This polish is safe for pets and can be used on both floors and furniture. Once it dries and the scent disappears you can let your pets into the space. It helps protect from scratches caused by paws and claws.
Can be used on floor and furniture
Provides protective coating
Does not leave a shinny finish
Poor at filling in scratches
4. Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner
If you have multiple surfaces in your home besides hardwood floors, you probably want a multipurpose floor polish. Mop & Glo multi-surface floor cleaner protects, cleans, and shines not only hardwood floors but ceramic, tile, linoleum, vinyl, and marble. It leaves behind a slight fresh mint scent with no heavy chemical smell.
Cleans, polishes and protects floors.
Applicable on several floor types
Leaves fresh mint smell
Shine lasts a long time
Contains methoxydiglycol, an irritating chemical
May leave behind a streaky finish
5. Bona Hardwood Floor Polish
This polish leaves behind a very high gloss as it adds a protective layer and fills in scratches. It can be used on unwaxed or polyurethane-finished wood floors. Greenguard certified this product has low indoor chemical volatility, meaning it gives out less chemicals as it dries than other products. A bottle will cover 500 sq feet of surface area.
Very High Gloss finish
Adds protective layer
Fills in scratches
Certified by Greenguard
If used frequently can build up
Surfaces can be slippery after application and drying
6. Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer
Engineered hardwood is becoming more and more popular. Rejuvenate Professional wood floor restorer is especially formulated for these floors, but will work on normal hardwood floors as well. One application will provide a glossy finish on your floors while it protects from damage. This is a good option for floors with high foot traffic. Though this product claims to fill in scratches, many customers disagree. The polyurethane-based formula is non-toxic. One bottle will cover 525 sq ft.
Designed for engineered hardwood.
Quick drying time.
Protects and polishes
Can be slippery up to 6 hrs after application
Fails to fill in scratches
7. Rejuvenate Shine Refresher Hardwood Polish
Floors take a lot of punishment. Everyday wear and tear can make hardwood floor owners cringe. The Rejuvenate Shine Refresher hardwood polish is our top choice for instantly getting rid of those scratches and other types of damage. It also provides protection from UV radiation which can fade a floor’s natural color.
Fills in scratches
Used on many floor types.
Provides UV protection.
One bottle covers 1400 sq ft
Hard to distribute evenly across floor
Protective coat can scratch easily before drying fully
8. Howard Products RF6016 Restor-A-Finish
Some polishes do better for darker colored floors. Howard Products Restor-A-Finish excels in this with color options such as mahogany, dark oak, dark walnut, and ebony brown. This polish does a good job of removing minor scratches and is easy to use. When applied with a microfiber cloth it does not remove any existing finish. This is a pretty powerful product so when applying it, it is recommended to wear protective gloves and a mask. Rooms should be thoroughly ventilated.
9 color choices
Covers up minor scratches and blemishes
Won’t remove existing finish.
Protection does not last long
Very powerful chemical smell
9. Orange Glo Hardwood Floor 4-in-1
This workhorse polish cleans, polishes, and protects your hardwood floor while revitalizing it in one application. It cleans away grime, fills in scratches, and adds a water-protective layer. It is recommended using this product every month though many users noted they can skip a month or two.
Dries quickly (15 min)
One bottle covers 375 sq ft
Residue build-up if used too often
Does not add much shine
10. Pledge Floor Gloss Liquid
If you are on a budget, the Pledge Floor Gloss Liquid may be your best bet, costing less than $10 a bottle. It can be used on laminate floors, sealed wood floors, and no-wax floors. (note: It shouldn’t be used on unsealed surfaces.) It leaves a shiny gloss after application that repels dust and dirt build up.
Restores floors original look
Can be used on laminate
Strong chemical smell
Not the best choice for dark floors.
Hardwood Floor Polish FAQs
How do you care for hardwood floors?
Daily: Sweep. Getting rid of surface dirt and dust that normal foot traffic can grind down into the wood, causing micro scratches that dull the finish.
Weekly: Vacuum. Suck out the harder to reach dirt and grime.
Monthly: Mop. Hardwood floors don’t like water. So a monthly mopping is all that’s recommended to get any dirt that remains.
Deep cleaning: Unlike carpet, hardwood floors don’t need deep cleaning often, if at all. But if you want to make sure you do it correctly, we recommend a natural method using vinegar and water, spraying the floors and mopping at the same time.
Why is my hardwood floor cloudy?
Polish not applied to manufacturer instructions.
Someone walked on the floor before the polish dried.
The polish isn’t very high quality.
The polish wasn’t the right choice for the wood.
Polishing too often.
Too much moisture from mopping or other water sources.
How to get rid of a dull film?
Steam cleaning is a possibility, but only for sealed floors.
It is a chemical-free method to remove cloudiness or haze. But don’t let the steamer linger on one spot too long.
Distilled white vinegar can also be used by mixing one cup with one gallon of hot water. Gently rub this mixture with a soft cloth in a circular motion. Use a clean damp cloth to get rid of any leftover vinegar.
Keep It Polished
You can keep your hardwood floor looking fantastic by following these steps and keeping them polished. We think the 10 options we’ve given you are a great start. For those on a budget, Pledge Floor Gloss Liquid is the way to go. For the best removal of scratches, we recommend the Rejuvenate Shine Refresher. If you are worried about harsh chemicals or just prefer a more natural product, Quick Shine Hardwood Floor Polish is the top choice