How to Make Hardwood Floors Shine In 4 QUICK Steps

Harold K. Hardesty
Harold is a Flooring Specialist at TheHouseWire, educating people on the flooring by writing guides about the topic. He is a well-seasoned flooring specialist with experience in the industry for nine years.
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Updated May 18, 2022

Let your hardwood floor shine like the sun. Oh Yeah

How to Make Hardwood Floors Shine In 4 QUICK Steps

This is a complete guide to making your hardwood floors shine.

So if you’re looking for:

  • Spectacular hardwood floors.
  • Dazzling floors forevermore.
  • Or simply more shine in your home.

Then you’ll love the actionable techniques in this new guide.

Let’s get started.

How to make hardwood floors shine?

There are several tricks to maintaining a brilliant shine.

Regular cleaning routines, incorrect store-bought products, waxes, and traffic can tear your flooring, causing it to look dull, dirty and scuffed at times.

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You can read my guide on how to clean wood floors. And let me know if it helped you!

To achieve a shiny, freshly cleaned hardwood floor, you’ll need to follow a few steps.

But first… Do you know what type of finish your floors have?

In order to keep your hardwood floor shiny, you need to know what specific finish you applied to the wood.

For instance, having engineered or solid hardwood sealed with polyacrylic urethane or polyurethane, or if you finished the hardwood with past wax, amongst other options.

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If you don't know, you can run a quick test

Locate a spot with regular foot traffic and place a single drop of liquid on the floor. If the water sits and beads for more than a few hours, your hardwood was sealed. If the hardwood absorbs the water and causes spots, the wood has not been sealed and should not be cleaned with water.

If you want to find out if your hardwood was paste wax finished, get a piece of fine steel wool and rub it lightly in a hidden corner of the floor. If it was waxed, you’ll end up with a waxy, gray film on the piece of wool.

Cleaning Guide

Step 1
Wipe the spills immediately as soon as they happen.

Step 2

Sweep, dust mop, or vacuum daily to remove dirt which ultimately causes wear and scratches on your floor’s finish. Look under area rugs which can trap grit and cause scratching.

Step 3

Damp-mop with the change of seasons. Damp mopping is not necessarily more than four to five times a year, unless, of course, your floors are sticky or muddy everywhere or have neglected them for weeks on end.

To damp-mop, grab a lightly dampened microfiber mop and start cleaning in the wood grain’s direction. Sopping-wet mops are off the table. This can cause serious damage to sealed floors even and make them buckle.

If you feel the need to use a commercial cleaner, it’s best that you use one with a spray applicator. The heavy most of the cleaner will make it easier for spot cleaning.

Step 4
Start buffing. Grab a dry microfiber mop and buff your floors to protect your floors and prevent further streaking.

Why Your Hardwood Floors Look Lifeless ?

1.You Redistribute Dirt

Forgetting to vacuum, sweep or dust mop your floors is the same as not doing anything at all.

What does it mean? This means that: dirt is being redistributed all over your floors and never getting picked up or cleaned.

All that dust, grit, and dirt keeps on getting trapped in the cleaning product or staying on the floor’s surface.

To avoid this dulling your floors, have a cleaning routine you can follow. For example, you can sweep/vacuum and mop before you go to bed every day.

If this isn’t something you can keep up with, create a cleaning schedule fitting to your lifestyle.

By the way, you can check my selection of the best vacuum for hardwood floors here.

2.You Harm Your Floors With Your Cleaner

Some acrylic-based waxes preach on making your hardwood floors glow in a matter of minutes.

But they can make your floors look even worse. When you apply this type of way to polyurethane or paste wax finishes, the finish can end up looking milky or patchy.

Use elbow grease or mineral spirits in one small field at a time to remove the milkiness of the acrylic wax.

To restore the shine completely, you’ll have to strip and reseal your hardwood floors.

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How To Avoid This Mess ?

Apart from finding out what your finish is, make sure you always read the instructions and ingredients on the cleaning product you’re about to use. If you just had your hardwood floors installed, ask the manufacturer what the best cleaning solution for your specific finish is.

That’ll sort things out right away. harsh chemicals like ammonia, chlorine bleach, pine oil, or undiluted vinegar, can damage your floor’s finish. This is why you always have to read labels and choose a product formulated for sealed floors.


3.You Use Too Much Product

Using too much of anything can do more harm than good. The same goes for wood floor cleaner.

Even if everything you are doing is correct, using too much water or cleaning products will leave your floors looking dim and “flat”.

More is not better, at least, not in this case!

4.Leaving the Job Half Done

To prevent streaking, after waxing or damp mopping a hardwood floor, you should finish the job by buffing.

It’s simple. Grab a dry microfiber mop and buff the finish to achieve a shiny surface.

5.Too Many Scratches

Do you have dogs and cats? Or you have forgotten to place clean doormats outside and inside the entrance areas?

Then, scratches happen. This damage from scuffs and scratches create a dull look on floors.

But don’t worry! It is never too late.

The first thing you need to do as soon as you get hardwood installed in any room is to place clean doormats.

This way, every time someone goes in and out of the house or room, they have to clean the soles of their shoes.

Dust and sand act like small knives on your hardwood floors and scratches them without you knowing it.

6.Wax Buildup

If your floors rely on carnauba paste wax to shine and you have sealed them with a polyurethane finish, the wax can look dull due to building up.

If you apply paste wax on a polyurethane sealant, the shine will completely disappear.

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To avoid this kind of situation, you can read my guide on how to apply polyurethane to floors. And let me know if it helped you!

Even you use wax only twice per year, it will eventually buildup and turn grim in the low traffic areas.

In order to strip the paste wax, use mineral spirits or other commercial wax strippers.

7.Your Floors Require Refinishing

The truth is, not finish on hardwood floors is eternal, especially if the floor experiences foot traffic every day.

You can refinish solid hardwood floors and have them resealed many times. You can do the same with engineered hardwood.

Reseal and refinish a few times before you replace it.

Now Over To You…

So that’s it for my guide to make your hardwood floor shine. I hope you enjoyed it.

Now I’d like to hear your take:

  • What are you doing to get your hardwood floor shining again?
  • Or maybe you have a question about my step by step tutorial.

Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

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