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12 Tips for Burnishing Floors


When we think of a house, we typically think of the exterior and the interior. Few people stop to think about the floors. Floors are often overlooked as a part of our homes that need love and attention. There are many benefits to making floors a priority in your life.

When you visit a flooring store and walk on the floor finish samples of hardwood and other flooring materials, you might notice that some seem to be very shiny and slippery while others aren't.

What's the difference between those two types of floors? One is burnished or buffed down with machines following installation to make it super shiny and reflective.

In this article, you will learn how to beautify your home with just a little extra effort by following 12 tips for burnishing floors.

What Is Burnishing?

Burnishing is the process of polishing a floor using a floor pad to remove scratches and make it shine with a high-gloss finish.

This is a great way to make your floors look new or put some life back into them. You can burnish most types of floors using a simple pad and wax.

The Importance Of Burnishing Floors

Burnishing floors produces a dull luster that buffing machines can quickly restore. In contrast, a floor wax produces a glossy shine which is more challenging to maintain without regular recoating. The following are quick tips for burnishing floors: 

  • Using the right cleaner before applying wax Also known as "sanding" your floor, this should be done using a high-grit (150-220) paper on an automatic floor machine. Remove the final coat of finish on the floor with steel wool to get rid of any dust, dirt, or oil, which will keep wax from adhering correctly.
  • Hand burnishing for small areas If you don't have access to a machine, you can use a dust mop instead of towels to apply paste wax by hand onto your floor. This is ideal for small areas like closets and bathrooms where machine cleaning isn't necessary.
  • Use soft cotton cloths. Traditional cotton rags provide enough absorbency to be reused several times before needing to be laundered. Make sure these are freshly laundered each time since dirty rags can leave streaks in the wax.
  • Do not use paper towels since they contain wood fibers. Paper towels can leave streaks on your floor surface as well as embedded particles from the tree. Plus, they are too absorbent and will dry out the paste wax.

How To Clean And Polish Your Floor

There are many ways to achieve a polished clean floor. You can use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or burnishing pads, then use a wet mop to go over the floors. Another way is to use cleaners designed for floors, like white vinegar or water mixed with baking soda.

First, you'll want to take one part dish soap and one part liquid. Mix them in a bucket of water until the soap dissolves. Once it does, you can begin cleaning and shining your floor simultaneously!


Protecting Your Floor From Damage

One of the benefits of burnishing your floor is that it protects it from damage and promotes dust control. By preserving your floor, you protect it from things like pets scratching the floor or children spilling drinks on it. This can be helpful because sometimes, these things happen without warning.

If you have a high-quality wooden floor, you might want to think about burnishing them before they start to scratch. This will help preserve them and keep them looking new for many years to come.

Another benefit of burnishing your floors is that it helps protect against dust and dirt buildup. Dust and dirt are some of the leading causes of illness in our homes, so keeping this area clean is essential.

They also cause allergies, so if someone in your home suffers from these, you might want to consider using a mop with a microfiber cloth head instead of a regular cotton mop head, which attracts more dust and dirt (and therefore allergens).

Benefits Of Burnishing Floors

There are many benefits to burnishing floors. You can create a fresh and clean feel to your home just by burnishing floors. It is the perfect way to give your hardwood, tile, or linoleum floor a great shine with little effort. Burnishing floors is one of the most manageable tasks for your home.

Burnished floors offer a unique texture and style to any space in your home. This is why they are such a common flooring choice for homes worldwide. There are loads of colors and finishes available to make your flooring unique and special.

Tips For Making Floors Shine

1. Get The Right Supplies

During the cleaning procedure, you need to get everything you need for your project first. For example, if you are looking to polish your floors with furniture polish, you will need a clean rag or old towel, dishwashing liquid in dish soap form, and furniture polishcleaning-materials

2. Start By Sweeping

Before you do anything else, it's important to sweep the floor thoroughly so that any dirt and debris is gone from the surface of your floors so that they can shine as much as possible.

wiping-hardwood-floor3. Use A Sponge Mop Or Cleaning Brush

Next, dampen a sponge mop or a cleaning brush with water and use this on the floor to remove the dust from the surface of your floors.


4. Vacuum

To get down into those stubborn areas where dust might have settled in between cracks and crevices, vacuum these areas first before mopping them with either a moist or dry cloth or pad, depending on what type of cleaner you are using for this step of your project.

5. Wash The Floor With Soap And Water To Remove Spots And Stains

If there are any spots or stains on your surfaces after vacuuming them clean, wash them off with soap and water before drying them off completely.

Note: Be sure to put wet floor signs, especially when children are roaming around!

6. If There Is Mold On Your Flooring Surfaces, Disinfect It Without Scrubbing Too Hard

Mold can be an issue to those who have allergies but as long as it is not spreading across large portions.


7. Remove The Dirt With A Broom

When it comes to burnishing your floors, you can’t neglect the dirty work. You should always sweep or vacuum the floor before you clean them. It is vital to remove the dirt that has been collected to ensure that you are starting with a clean surface. After sweeping or vacuuming, use a damp mop to wipe down the surface of the floor. The last step in this process is to dry off the floor with a towel or rag.

8. Use Water And Vinegar To Clean Your Floor

If your floor is made of wood, you should use water and vinegar. This will leave your floors fresh and clean with no nasty chemical smells. You can also use this method for tiles, vinyl, linoleum, and laminate.

9. Polish With Beeswax

One of the easiest ways to make your floors look new is to use beeswax. Clean your floor with a gentle detergent and dry it with a dryer or towel. Then sprinkle beeswax on top of the floor, let it soak in for 10-15 minutes, and buff the wax off with a squeegee. This method will help restore shine to an old floor while adding a fresh scent to your home.

10. Get Rid Of Scratches With Steel Wool

It's hard to believe that something as simple as steel wool can help with scratches on your floors. But it's true! To get rid of scratches, take a piece of steel wool and rub it back and forth across the scratch until you see the scratch disappear.

11.  Shine Up Your Floors With An Old Toothbrush

If you want to make your floors look like they belong in a showroom, it’s time to get out the old toothbrush. You can use it to shine up your floors by scrubbing them with an old toothbrush and some soap. For more stubborn scuff marks, try using baking soda. Just sprinkle it on the area you want to clean and wait about 15-30 minutes before scrubbing with the toothbrush.


12. Use A Floor Buffer Machine

These are high-speed machines that help you clean your floors quickly with a buffing pad. They are perfect for hard-to-reach spots and will leave the floor polished to a shine in no time at all.

When using a buffer machine, you can use either water or wax on your floor, depending on what kind of look you want to achieve. Spray buffing pads also work great. They give a high-shine finish and are easy to use with a machine buffer. Spray buff pads can be used on any floor type and last for a while. The wrong pad can scratch your floors, so be sure to read the directions.


Burnishing your floors is an easy way to make your house feel like a home. It takes a little bit of extra effort and time, but the benefits are substantial. You will have a clean and shiny surface that is easy to maintain. Use these tips to get the most out of your floor polish. 

With the proper supplies, you can achieve any type of shine for your floors that you want. Although it may not be easy to keep up with all this cleaning, it is worth it in the end when people are complimenting your floor. The process is relatively simple overall, so have fun burnishing away!