Buffing wood floors successfully involves using the proper equipment, removing old wax before buffing, blending scratch patterns and avoiding swirls. Proper preparation of the floors and buffing with the grain of the wood are also vital to successful buffing.

Hardwood floors should be immaculately clean before they are buffed. Any dirt or grit on the floor causes the buffer to cut unevenly, producing unwanted swirls. Vacuum a floor before buffing, mop it with a dust mop and repeat with a wet mop. Allow it to air dry without using a towel, which can damage the grain and add dirt to the floor. After the floor dries, use tacky material, such as tape, to remove any dirt left behind. The cleaner the floor is, the more evenly it absorbs polish. Clean the floor between each round of buffing.

Use a new, high-quality pad for each use of the buffer. When buffer pads become uneven, the buffer does not spin evenly. Choose the correct abrasive pad for the type of wood being buffed. Dense woods, such as cherry or hickory, can tolerate alumina mineral screens, which can be destructive to walnut or pine. Do not let the buffer sit upright on the pad when it's not being used; this can cause uneven wear and result in badly scratched floors.