How to Make Floors Shine Without Wax

April Dowling

Favored for their shiny, natural appearance, hardwood floors visually enhance any interior space. All hardwood floors become dirty, however, and, if neglected, eventually lose their sheen. Tiny dust and dirt fragments commonly transfer from shoes onto hardwood, eroding its shiny finish over time.

Routinely clean hardwood to preserve its shine.

While deep cleaning removes grime and often improves hardwood’s appearance, the wood still may lack luster. Wax adds sheen to hardwood floors, but it eventually builds up and forms unsightly residue on hardwood. Fortunately, simple products are capable of making hardwood shine without the need for wax.


Substitute a broom for the dust mop.


Do not expose lacquered or shellacked hardwood to the mopping solution or any moisture.

Spot-test the homemade polish on the hardwood to avoid damage.

  1. Move all furniture off the hardwood floor, if possible. Otherwise, push the furniture against the walls.

  2. Remove abrasive particles from the hardwood using a dust mop. Glide the dry mop smoothly over the entire floor.

  3. Prepare a deep-cleaning mopping solution consisting of two drops dishwashing liquid dissolved in 1 gallon of warm water. Mix the soap solution in a mop bucket.

  4. Apply the solution to the hardwood using a mop. Wring the mop thoroughly before gliding it smoothly over the floor. Refill the solution once it becomes mucky.

  5. Buff the entire hardwood surface with soft towels, thoroughly absorbing the solution. Rinsing the hardwood is unnecessary as additional moisture may damage the wood.

  6. Examine the hardwood for shine. If cleaning the hardwood didn’t leave it shiny enough, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 cup of vinegar within a bowl.

  7. Rub a thin coat of the homemade polish evenly over the hardwood using a clean cloth. Buff the hardwood to a shine.