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This post is in response to all the readers who keep asking what I think of using Bona Refresher as a wood floor polish — since I initially mentioned it here.
I’ve known for a couple of years that I wanted to use the Bona Refresher to add life to my dulled hardwood floors.
Two things stood in my way:
- I couldn’t find the Refresher locally anywhere — not even at the trusted flooring stores where I had seen it years earlier, not at hardware stores, not at Bed Bath & Beyond… nowhere. (I ended up buying it on Amazon, and the price is reasonable too.)
- I didn’t want to remove all of my rugs and all of my furniture just to renew shine to a few high traffic areas in my home. But I also didn’t want it to be obvious where I had started and stopped using the product. (The Bona Refresher turned out to be the perfect solution!)
I finally used the Bona Refresher for the first time and I want to let everyone know how it went — and what you can expect if you use it to add shine to your hardwood floors.
For starters, I wish I hadn’t put it off for so long, because my floors now look wonderful. And it was so easy!
But there are a few things I learned that I’ll be doing differently the next time I use it.
Here are my tips for using Bona Refresher to add shine to dull hardwood floors…
Bona Polish vs Bona Refresher
Make sure you don’t buy (or haven’t previously used) Bona Polish on your hardwood floors. It’s a good product in and of itself, but it just can’t be used on floors that you’re eventually going to use the Bona Refresher on.
- Bona Polish contains polyurethane and acrylic.
- Bona Refresher contains polyurethane and water.
Also good to know…
- Once you use the Bona Polish, you must have your floor professionally stripped and shined in the future, rather than using other products to bring life back to those floors once they become dull again.
- Once you use the Bona Refresher, you can use anything you like to continue to add shine to your hardwood floors from that point forward.
Before Using Bona Refresher On Hardwood Floors
#1 – Bona Refresher adds temporary new life to your hardwood floors.
It wears off slowly and gradually after 3-4 months. For that reason, it can safely be used 3-4 times a year to keep restoring shine to your aging hardwood floors.
Personally, I like the fact that Bona Refresher doesn’t have a permanent effect. This was especially comforting the first time I used it — not knowing what to expect, how dramatic the effects would be, and if you could see where I started and stopped or not.
As a DIYer, it’s also nice to know that you always have this option available to you — and that it’s so affordable.
#2 – It really does dry in just 1 hour!
I waited an extra 15-20 minutes, just to be sure. But the floors were perfectly dry to step on with bare feet — no stickiness whatsoever.
I also re-applied Bona Refresher in each of the 3 high traffic areas I used it on. I waited an hour and a half before re-applying, and it worked great. The shine was a little bit more noticeable than with one coat alone.
Tip: I turned on all of my ceiling fans, in an effort to help speed up the drying time.
#3 – My biggest dilemma was how I was going to keep my 100-lb indoor dog off the floors while I was cleaning them, and then while they dried.
I used a freestanding baby gate to keep my dog in the master bedroom (a place he’s already comfortable spending long hours with us anyway) while I worked on the floors. He could see and hear me, so he wasn’t too rebellious.
The hardest part was deciding how quickly I could put down the rugs that my dog is accustomed to walking on. (He hates bare hardwood floors and will only make his way to the back door if can maneuver from rug to rug.)
For my dog’s sake, I put the rugs back down after about 4 hours of dry time. Had the inside of our house been more humid, I would have probably waited longer. For the record, they officially recommend waiting a full 24 hours.
#4 – My best advice is to clean your floors (and baseboards) thoroughly before using the Bona Refresher.
My pre-cleaning process consisted of using the Swiffer Sweeper first, then the Bona Spray Mop.
Having a big dog (who sheds a lot!) means there are fine hairs floating in every corner and all along the baseboards. That, combined with hardened dog drool in a couple of key areas of the hardwood flooring where my dog hangs out, means I should have given twice the effort that I normally use to clean my hardwood floors. I didn’t. And I kinda regret it.
The results weren’t devastating or anything. But you can definitely see some of the dog drool spots that I missed during the pre-cleaning phase. (Truthfully, I knew they were there, but I thought the Refresher — being a liquid — would help to magically make them disappear. It didn’t. It actually set them in.) Also, as I was spreading the Refresher on, I noticed a few dog hairs got trapped in the liquid Refresher.
Oh well. Live and learn. The Refresher will wear off naturally after 3-4 months, and I can do it right the next time!
By the way, this is one of the few times that I would recommend using the Bona Motion Mop instead of the regular Bona Spray Mop. It’s not really worth buying the motion mop just for everyday hardwood floor cleaning, but for deep cleaning hardwood floors a few times each year, it is worth it! I’ll be using mine for this purpose in the future.
#5 – The instructions say to use a special applicator pad when applying the Bona Refresher. I didn’t.
Instead of using the Bona applicator pad, just used the regular Bona microfiber pad that I use with my Bona Spray Mop — a fresh and clean one.
I’ve read about people using all sorts of things to apply the Refresher — all with good results — so I really don’t think it matters what you use to apply it with. Just make sure that your applicator pad is CLEAN.
By the way, since the Refresher product is water-based, the microfiber pad a cinch to clean afterward. Just toss it into the washing machine with your other towels.
#6 – I didn’t use the Refresher on every inch of my hardwood floors (like you’re supposed to). I only did the high traffic areas.
I like how you can use it to add shine only to the areas where you need it. But next time, I would do a better job of getting right up to the edges with the Refresher — like up close to the 2 large floor rugs that I didn’t move (maybe even a little bit under their edges) and up close to the baseboards — because those are all parts of the entire area I was cleaning and the floors still look dull along those few edges.
That said, I had 3 high traffic areas where my hardwood floors had dulled a great deal, and I can assure you that in the main walkway part of the floor, there’s not a dramatic line showing where I started and stopped. (The edges are another story though.)
If (like me) you don’t want to make a major event of this by pre-cleaning and shining your entire first floor, you can feel comfortable using the Refresher to spot-shine your high traffic areas only. Tip: After completely spreading the Refresher to my satisfaction in that area, I always made one final pass with the same microfiber mop pad, extending my reach slightly beyond the high traffic area. That way, the Refresher is ever-so-slightly wiped into the non-shined areas.
#7 – The results are great, but they’re not overly dramatic.
The Bona Refresher added just enough shine and polish to my hardwood floors. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t look brand spanking new or anything. That’s because the gloss itself is not super-shiny, and also because you can still see some of the dog drool that I didn’t clean effectively beforehand.
How much product did I use?
About half of the bottle. (Remember, I used 2 coats in each area.)
We have a 3,400 square foot house. Our entire first floor consists of hardwood flooring. I only used the Bona Refresher on 3 high traffic areas:
- At the bottom of the stairs — between the master bedroom and the living room
- Between the kitchen and the door to the garage — where we enter and exit the house many tines each day
- At the entrance to the kitchen — the spot where the dog hangs out waiting for treats in front of the pantry
Overall, I’m quite happy and look forward to using Bona Refresher again (and again). I highly recommend it.
#8 – Wondering why I chose Bona Refresher over other hardwood floor polishes?
I’ve trusted Bona hardwood floor cleaning products ever since we messed up the hardwood floors in the first home that hubby and I built together 13 years ago.
Back then (before we knew better), we used things like PineSol and Mop & Glo to clean those floors. (Eeek!) Needless to say, we pretty much ruined those hardwood floors. And we went through a lot of hassle to “fix” the floors and get them back to a presentable condition prior to selling that home.
When we moved into this house, I made a point to do a lot of research before deciding what I would use to clean our hardwood floors going forward. Bona products kept coming out on the top of lists — because it’s super safe for use on hardwood floors, among other things. Few hardwood floor cleaners are actually safe for your floors. (Most will strip the finish over time. Bona doesn’t.)
I’ve used Bona hardwood floor products since day one, and I’ve been really happy with both their hardwood floor cleaner and their spray mop. And now I’m thrilled with their Refresher as well for polishing my hardwood floors.
By the way, after using the Bona hardwood floor cleaner on my floors for the past 5 years, I can honestly say that my hardwood floors still look great. The cleaning solution has not harmed the floors in any way. They pretty much still look like new, and we still get compliments on the beauty of our hardwood flooring. So why did I need the Refresher then? Because there were 3 key areas (mentioned above) that simply needed a boost. High traffic dulls a shine, no matter what you use to clean & protect your floors. The Bona Refresher is exactly what I needed — just for those areas.
The instructions on the bottle itself are pretty straightforward, so be sure to follow their advice for the best results.
Personally, I also got a lot of reassurance after reading the feedback from others who’ve used the Bona Refresher on their hardwood floors. — like why you should gently rock the bottle to mix the ingredients rather than shaking it (which will cause air bubbles to pool up on your floor).
In the end, I agree with this advice:
There are various products on the market that promise to make your floor look like new without having to actually sand or recoat the floor. These products are usually an extremely thin finish that you can apply yourself. The first thing with such products is to make sure they will be compatible with the finish on the floor and won’t contaminate your floor for future recoating … Second, be aware of typical pitfalls when using a product such as this. You must clean your floor extremely well before applying the product; if you don’t, you’ll be adhering dirt and debris right into the floor. Also, be aware that, because the product is so thin, it wears off quickly and often unevenly. So, no, products like these aren’t anything like the results you would get from having your floor professionally recoated. Source
My Other Related Reviews
- The Best Hardwood Floors If You Have Dogs
- Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors: Monster Steam Mop vs Bona Spray Mop
- Bona Spray Mop vs Shark Steam Mop: Which Is Best For Hardwood Floors?
- Shark Steam Mop Review: For Floors That Are Clean Enough For A Crawling Baby
- Bona Motion Mop Review: Is It Better Than The Regular Bona Spray Mop?
I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner — so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about instead. For example, I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you’ll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve personally written over 200 articles about cleaning, organization, DIY repairs, and household hacks on this site! A few have over 2M shares; many others have over 100K shares.
5 thoughts on “Using Bona Refresher As A Floor Polish Instead Of Using Floor Wax: How To Make Hardwood Floors Shine Without Damaging Them!”
Thanks for the great article. I’ve used Bona refresher for a few years now. My original floors are hardwood and about 50 years old. My dining room has newer hardwood, only about 7 years old. The refresher (NOT THE POLISH), has kept my floors looking good without having to pay to refinish them. Eventually, I will have someone in to refinish all of them but for now, Bona refresher is a great product. However, I can no longer find it in the stores either and had to order on Amazon. People do need to understand the difference between the refresher and the polish.
Hi! We just tore up carpets in our 1950s house and found hardwoods. We live in our home and have a LOT of furniture, so refinishing is not an option at this time. Some of the floors look varnished or shellaced, the others just look original and dull. My question is–what do I clean with first? I used Bona cleaner on some dull and stained spots, it got rid of the stains, but dulled the area. Today, my flooring place said do not use Bona cleaner on old hardwoods, to use vinegar and water, but i called Bona and they said it’s ok! I def. think I’ll try the Refresher, but how would you recommend I clean? THANK YOU!
Hi Debbadepp – I know that you’ve addressed your question to Patriciag. But I thought I’d offer my $.02… Just to be clear, I haven’t personally tried to restore old hardwood flooring myself – like you are doing. So I would turn to someone who HAS done it and learn from their experience. Here are a few that seem like reliable resources to me:
Personally, I would trust anything the Bona people said – as long as they were aware of the true condition of your hardwoods.
And definitely after you get your hardwood floors in good condition, I’d recommend the Bona products to KEEP them looking amazing for years to come.
Best of luck!
Hi! We just tore up carpets in our 1950s house and found hardwoods. We live in our home and have a LOT of furniture, so refinishing is not an option at this time. Some of the floors look varnished or shellaced, the others just look original and dull. My question is–what do I clean with first? I used Bona cleaner on some dull and stained spots, it got rid of the stains, but dulled the area. Today, my flooring place said do not use Bona cleaner on old hardwoods, to use vinegar and water, but I called Bona and they said it’s ok! I def. think I’ll try the Refresher, but how would you recommend I clean? THANK YOU!
I would like to use Bona® Clean & Refresh Hardwood Floor Cleaner on my new LVT/laminate plank floors. They have a matte finish and I would like more shine. What do you think about this option. I do not want to use anything that would cause a build-up or require stripping. Thanks!