Inside: Do you often wonder why your floor is still dirty after you mop a floor? Find out which mops and floor cleaners are the most ideal for your particular type of flooring, as well as the correct way to mop a floor.
What’s the one homemaking chore you hate the most? For me, it’s putting away the laundry and emptying the dishwasher. I’m not normal. I’d rather mop a floor then have to deal with the other two tasks.
Mopping a floor is a satisfying experience and one you should truly take pride in.
When your kiddos were young, did they drop a pacifier on the floor?
Before giving them the pacifier back, did you submerge it in boiling water to remove whatever germs must have hopped on?
Did the two-second rule apply? (If it’s on the floor for less than 2-seconds, it’s okay to insert it back in their mouth). Or, were you like me and wiped the pacifier on the leg of your jeans to clean it off.
As moms, we don’t do this intentionally but never-the-less at one time in your life, it’s going to happen.
By having a clean floor, and maintaining the cleanliness of your flooring, you can reduce the overwhelming guilt you self-imposed on yourself for doing that bone-headed maneuver.
When you mop a floor correctly, you’re not only ensuring the floor is clean, but you’re saving yourself time from having to mop the floor again.
As simple as mopping a floor appears to be, there’s a science behind the floor mopping technique that will boost your homemaking skills up several notches.
Perhaps you don’t care how clean your floor truly is, but then again, if you’re reading this you do take pride in the appearance of your home, and you know and value the importance of keeping a clean home.
Now, I’m not saying if you don’t mop a floor correctly, you’re a bad homemaker. What I’m saying is, if you’re going to go through the motion to mop a floor, why wouldn’t you want to do it correctly?
We both know your answer is yes.
Disclaimer: Please note, some of these links are affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission. These product links help support this blog and allow me to continue to make free content without the disruption of annoying pop-up ads. I only recommend products that I use and love. Thank you for your support. To read more about this please visit my Legal Disclaimer page.
Types of mops
An all-in-one mop is perfect for quick touch-ups, or if you’re the type of person who finds dipping your mop in water in a bucket that’s become dirty is a turn-off, an all-in-one mop is for you.
There is a myriad of different types of mops on the market today. One of the most popular ones is a Swiffer® WetJet™ Mop. The Swiffer® WetJet™ makes mopping a floor quick and easy; however, if you have a large area to mop, you’re going to have to change out the cleaning pads more often. After a while, this turns out to be rather expensive.
If the cost of the cleaning pads doesn’t bother you and you find the cost outweighs the ease in mopping, then by all means continue to use them. Now mind you, you don’t have to use disposable cleaning pads.
You can always attach a piece of terry cloth, microfiber, or any cotton cloth to the base of the all-in-one mop. Many all-in-one mops do come with two pieces of hook and loop fasteners that will assist you in adhering to your pad of choice.
An all-in-one mop typically comes with a replaceable or refillable reservoir attached to the handle of the mop. There’s typically a button to release the cleaning agent from the mop to the floor.
Most all-in-one mops offer their cleaning agent that’s designed to go with the mop; however, you can always use any cleaner, either by spraying it directly onto the floor or purchasing an all-in-one mop that allows you to fill the cleaning reservoir bottle with the cleaning agent of your choice.
When one thinks of a string mop, most times you envision your highschool janitor, as they would always mop a floor using a dirty string mop.
Although times have changed and so has the string mop. Some string mops now come with a wringer handle that allows you to ring out the mop, You no longer have to touch and twist the mop head to release the dirty water; however, you can still purchase a ringer attachment to place in your water bucket.
Strings mops are useful as they can get into any nook and cranny; however, they do become a little cumbersome when it comes to cleaning the mop.
Microfiber strip mops
The microfiber strip mop is a cousin to the string mop. They both have the same qualities; however, most microfiber strip mops have a removal head that allows you to pop them in the washing machine.
Microfiber strip mops do come with a wringer which allows you to remove the dirty water from the mop without bending or twisting.
The microfiber strip mop is ideal to wipe up a quick spill.
Sponge mops are ideal for cleaning up a quick spill, and they’re very convenient. Replaceable sponge heads are available at many big box and grocery stores; however, most are not interchangeable.
Sponge mops have a wringer level mid-way down the handle, which allows you not to bend or twist. Some sponge mops have a scrubber strip to help remove the stubborn stuck-on mess.
As with any type of sponge, you should always change out your sponge mop head frequently to above the spread of bacteria.
You’ll want to make sure you place your used sponge mop in a well-ventilated area to dry out fully. You’ll want to replace your sponge mop when it begins to smell or breaks apart.
A steam mop has a refillable water reservoir which once it reaches the proper heat (typically this occurs in under 30 seconds), produces a steady stream of steam to not only clean but disinfect your floor.
Although a steam mop is a cleaning device every homemaker should own, it should not replace any of the above-mentioned mops.
A steam mop is ideal to sanitize your floor after you’ve already washed the floor with a mop. By using the steam mop after your mop a floor you’re ensuring the floor is thoroughly clean.
This is how to mop a floor correctly
Before you begin to mop a floor, you’ll want to make sure all the dust, hair, crumbs, and any other debris has been vacuumed up.
Vacuums are great; however, they have a tendency not to vacuum everything up all the time. Once you’ve completed vacuuming the floor, you will want to go over the floor with a Swiffer® or any other dust removal floor cloth.
This part of the process is essential before you mop a floor because if you don’t attempt to get all the debris off the floor, you’ll just be pushing it all over, spreading the debris.
Skip this step if you’re using an all-in-one mop.
You’ll want to fill a bucket with tepid water. Add a small amount of your favorite cleanser. When it comes to cleaner; less is more. If you add a lot of cleaner to your water bucket, not only will the cleaner leave behind a residue, but your floors may be sticky as well.
When you mop a floor you’ll always want to start from the furthest corner from the entrance of the room and work your way backward. You’ll want to keep the bucket in front of you, or on a part of the floor, you haven’t washed.
Insert the mop into the bucket. Once it’s wet, ring the mop out to release the extra moisture. Mopping a floor with too much water is counter-productive and will take longer to dry. Too much water can also seep under baseboards and can cause the wood to rot or mold to grow.
If your mop is too wet, it can also move the dirt around the floor which sort of defeats the purpose of washing your floor.
If your floor dries rather quickly, you’ve added the correct amount of water.
You’ll want to begin moping from the outmost corners of the room toward the middle, using uniform back and forth strokes. By moving the mop from side-to-side, as it may cause puddles of standing water.
Pass over the area of the floor you just mopped a second time. The first pass is to lay down the water and cleaner, and the second pass is to remove any cleaner that may remain on the floor.
If there are scuffs or stuck on jelly, jam, sauce, or other substances, use either a scrub brush or a scrubbing pad to remove the marks.
After every 5 or 6 passes over a section on the floor, you’ll want to immerse the mop into the bucket, ring it out and continue to mop.
If you’re using a sponge or string mop, you’ll want to turn it every so often to avoid redepositing the dirt onto the floor.
As soon as the water starts to look cloudy, murky, or dirty, pour it out, and replace it with fresh water and more floor cleaner.
If you’re using an all-in-one mop, after you clean a large section on the floor, look at the pad. If it’s completely filthy, replace the pad with a clean one, and continue to mop the floor accordingly.
How to mop a floor by floor type
Most floors have different cleaning requirements. If all floors were one care fits all, the world would be a brighter place. Since all floors are different, these guidelines should assist you in properly cleaning your specific floor.
Now, no one is saying if you mop a floor using a cleaner that’s not specified for that floor, you’re going to ruin it, but doing so continuously, it may jeopardize the integrity of the floor.
Glazed ceramic tile
Tile is very easy to clean; however, most people struggle with keeping the grout clean and restoring the grout to its original color. When you mop a floor that consists of glazed ceramic tile, you’ll want to be sure to rinse it well.
Since grout is very porous any residual dirt will be absorbed into the grout, causing it to become discolored due to the dirt.
The best cleaning solution for glazed ceramic tile
To clean your glazed tile, you’ll want to use tepid water and an all-purpose cleaner.
Say no to vinegar and water
You’ve probably heard vinegar and water is wonderful for cleaning tile. I hate to burst your bubble, but the acidic content of the vinegar can ruin your grout. To avoid your grout splitting and breaking apart, avoid mopping a floor with any acidic products.
If you mop a floor with vinegar and water occasionally, that’s okay, but try not to do that regularly.
You will also want to avoid using bleach on your floor and especially the grout. Bleach is corrosive and will eat through the grout quicker than the vinegar.
Unglazed ceramic tile
Unglazed ceramic tile, such as terra cotta, is extremely porous. Due to this even water drops that haven’t been wiped up can cause the tile to stain.
If you’ve never had your unglazed ceramic tile sealed, you’ll want to do so after you thoroughly cleaned it. Most tile installers will not treat your tile with a sealant.
You can purchase a tile sealant at any big box hardware store online on Amazon. The one that I’ve used in the past and have gotten great results from is Miracle Sealants, Tile, Stone & Grout Sealer. You can pick this up at Lowes for under $10.
The best cleaning solution for glazed ceramic tile
To clean your glazed tile, you’ll want to use tepid water and an all-purpose cleaner.
Linoleum & vinyl flooring
Linoleum and vinyl flooring are some of the easiest flooring materials to clean. Although there are distinct differences between linoleum and vinyl flooring.
Linoleum and vinyl flooring are often confused for each other; however, they’re both made from totally different compounds.
Linoleum is derived from pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, mineral fillers, and linseed oil; whereas vinyl is derived from PVC and other additives.
The difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring
The way you can tell the difference between the two is simple. If your flooring is embossed on the surface. If your flooring has a hole or tears in it, you’ll see a break in the pattern, meaning, you’ll see the material that’s securing your patterned flooring peering out from beneath the rip, tear, or hole.
If you have laminate flooring, if a rip, tear, or hole was to appear, you wouldn’t notice it as the pattern doesn’t just lie on the surface as that of vinyl flooring.
Laminate flooring does need to be rewaxed periodically, whereas vinyl flooring never needs to be waxed.
The best cleaning solution for laminate and vinyl flooring
The best cleaning solution for both laminate and vinyl flooring would be to mix one gallon of tepid water with one cup of vinegar, and 2 to 3 drops of liquid dish soap.
Polyurethane coated hardwood flooring
For someone who spent their entire life with glazed and unglazed ceramic tile floors, learning how to take care of hardwood floors began as a challenge. Over the years, I’ve perfected the method of keeping my hardwood floors looking brand new; however, my fails are denoted in several areas in the house. These failures will never recover unless I decide to find the same flooring and replace the slats.
Mopping a hardwood floor isn’t difficult; however, there are a lot of misconceptions on how to clean it on the internet.
Most of the new hardwood floors that have been installed are treated with a layer of polyurethane. Polyurethane is a plastic coating that makes the hardwood floor look shiny.
When cleaning a hardwood floor, you’ll want to be cognizant of the amount of liquid that’s placed on the floor. Too much water can seep into the cracks of the wood planks, which will cause the wood to expand and contract.
If you’ve had a hardwood floor for years, and all of a sudden you’re finding spots that squeak and are rather flexible. The culprit was too much water when you mop your hardwood floor.
The best cleaning solution for waxed hardwood flooring
To clean a hardwood floor, you’ll want to use ¼ cup white vinegar to 1-quart tepid water or using a commercial cleaner suitable for hardwood. My cleaner of choice is Swiffer® WetJet™ hardwood cleaner.
Say no to Castile soap
You’ll want to avoid oil and vegetable soaps such as Castile soap, as they’ll break down the wax on your floor as well as, creating a barrier which will keep your floors looking dingy, as well as attracting dirt to the floor.
A clean floor dictates a clean home
Have a clean home is wonderful, but when your home is neat and tidy, and put together, and your floor is looking…well, for a lack of terms…pretty gross, it diminishes all the work you’ve accomplished when it comes to having a clean home.
Moping a floor should become part of your weekly cleaning routine. Mind you, there’s no need to mop every square inch of the floor every week, but try to mop a room a week. You’ll see in no time the moping process will become less arduous, and you may enjoy the process.
What’s your favorite type of mop and how do you typically mop a floor? Share in a comment.
Swiffer® and Swiffer® WetJet™ Mop is a registered trademark of Procter & Gamble