How to Buff Floors Without Using a Buffing Machine

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Things You'll Need

  • #0000 brass wool

  • Vacuum cleaner (non-beater bar type)

  • Hardwood floor wax

  • Terry cloth towel

Hardwood floor

Hardwood floors are a beautiful and valuable asset in a home, when they are well maintained. Periodically a floor will need to be sanded and refinished, but in between, the floor needs to be taken care of so that it can look good for a long period of time without major expense or refinishing. You can often take care of minor scratches, stains and marks through cleaning and hand buffing.

Step 1

Lightly scrub the area with the mark or scratch using a very fine brass wool. In general, steel wool should not be used on hardwood. Fine bits of broken off steel can lodge between boards and rust, causing stains. If you cannot find brass wool and choose to use steel wool, keep your vacuum handy to immediately suck up any steel fragments.

Step 2

Remove just enough of the existing wax finish on the floor to eliminate the mark, stain or scratch.

Step 3

Apply a hardwood floor wax using a corner of a terry cloth towel. Rub the wax firmly into the floor until the liquid turns pasty and then dry.

Step 4

Buff the area to a shine by gathering the terry cloth into a ball shape and briskly moving it back and forth and around the area. Apply pressure and speed and the luster of the polished wax will rise to match the shine on the rest of the floor.


It is often a good idea to clean room corners and small areas where a professional buffer can't reach by hand. Consider using terry cloth wrapped screw drivers to reach small areas that often look dull.


F.R.R. Mallory

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.