Is there a good product to improve the appearance of hardwood floors?

In addition to caring for the elderly and disabled, I work on the side as a housekeeper. A couple of my clients have hardwood floors that have not been well kept-up, and the floors are dull, scruffy, and thirsty-looking. They are not likely to be refinished anytime soon.

The clients are both really nice people, and I would love to be able to pull off some kind of small miracle with their floors’ appearance, and have the clients come home to see a real difference. It’s amazing to me how much the condition of a floor can affect one’s overall perception of the home. (something we have probably all observed, say, before and after vacuuming.)

Is there a cleaning or care product that in your experience really works to put luster and shine back into wood? I should mention that one of the homes has bare wood on the staircase, and shouldn’t end up too extra slippery.

I don’t have a suggestion for you, I’m still trying to crack this puzzle myself with my own hardwood floors. I would imagine the condition of the wood is going to be a large factor in the options available. In my previous home, due to the floors being over 100 years old and not previously being maintained doing something like wax/buffing with a machine was out of the question. My new home, also with very old hardwood but in great shape it is an option I might explore but I also don’t want to end up with an ice-skating rink because the floors are too slick.

The best thing I’ve done so far is mopping with very frequent changes in fresh water to avoid leaving any dirt/dust on the floors. Water and white vinegar also works well. This has allowed me to get rid of all the haze that was mostly just accumulated dirt over the years before we bought the home. I’m now at the point where when I mop I don’t have any streaking from dirty water/dirty floors but the floors don’t shine vibrantly either. I’ve tried Bodo before and that has only left my floor streaky/hazy.

I’ll be curious to see what others suggest here!


You can wax them, it will make a huge difference. The only thing is that when you do want to refinish them you have to strip the wax off.