I'm moving in with my girlfriend into her 1940's apartment with real hardwood floors in rough shape. They're worn out with little to no finish on them. They smell quite bad due to her two dogs, spills, and years of abuse (before her also). Nothing really cleans them and my latest thought was waxing them to seal it all in after a good cleaning. Will this work? Is it a good idea? We rent otherwise I'd say refinish them. It's just one room 20' x13'. Should I just refinish them? Thanks!
Personally we think this comes down to how long you plan to stay at this apartment. If you're in it for the long haul, perhaps discuss with the landlord about splitting the costs and have the floors refinished if they're salvageable (we've lived in older apartments where the wood was so worn, they couldn't stand to be refinished again). If you're really up for a weekend project, you can try the screen-and-overcoat technique, which requires sanding and applying a new coat of professional-quality varnish to restore dull wood floors. Step by step instructions here.
Here are some past tips about keeping your floor clean, whether you clean/wax or have them refinished: