Have you ever mopped your floors only to find that they still look or feel dirty?
Figuring out how to mop your floor seems straightforward. But is it? There is a wrong way to mop your floors. These are mistakes that I know I have been guilty of and you may be guilty of them too. So let’s talk about the best way to get clean floors.
What You Need To Mop Correctly
There are a few supplies that you will need in order get the best results. You do have a few options here. I will go over some of the most popular options as well as share my absolute favorites.
Types Of Mops
When it comes to selecting a mop there are several different options that you can choose from. Each one has positives and negatives. There are also some mops that work better on some flooring types than others.
You will want to take into consideration both your flooring and your cleaning style when selecting a mop that will work best for you.
One of the most popular types of mops. The string mop, when used correctly, is great on a wide variety of flooring types.
The second in line when it comes to popularity. A sponge mop should only be used on a smooth floor, such as laminate floors or hardwood, and never on tile or textured flooring. The sponge part of the mop head should be replaced frequently as sponges can store a lot of bacteria and dirt.
A steam mop should be avoided if you have laminate. Some manufactures say that you can use a steam mop on wood floors but some steam mops have been shown to leave behind excess moisture that damages the joints between the boards and causes the wood to warp. You will also want to exercise caution using a steam mop on tile or stone floors. The tiles themselves can hold up to the heat and moisture but the grout can get damaged.
If you want to use a steam mop be sure to do plenty of research so that you do not damage your flooring.
Swifter Type Mops
This type of mop typically has a disposable mop pad and can be a great cleaning tool to use in between your true mopping. I would never recommend that you use this mop as the only way you are mopping your floors. However when you just need a quick refresh rather than a deep cleaning then I think it is a wonderful solution.
As a mom of little ones I like to use this after meal times when I need to clean around the table. I have this version here and it has served me well for many years. One trick I use with mine is to refill the cleaning solution with vinegar and water instead of purchasing more of the name brand cleanser.
The microfiber mop looks very similar to a string mop. The initial cost of a microfiber mop is higher than a string mop however they last much longer. The microfiber mop head remains effective and efficient much longer than a string mop and it holds up well to a substantial amount of use.
I love and swear by my microfiber mop! I use it constantly and I would be lost without it. This is the kind that I have here.
The microfiber mop also uses less water to clean your floors. Some reports say they use up to 20 times less water.
You can use a microfiber mop for both dry mopping and wet mopping. I am primarily talking about wet mopping in this post but it is good to know that this purchase will have a duel purpose.
The microfiber head is safe on just about any flooring surface that you have. The mop is great to clean hardwood floors, laminate, vinyl, tile floors, marble, linoleum, and more!
Different Mop Bucket Options
When it comes to a mop bucket there are two main types you can use.
A standard bucket is the most traditional option. I have even heard of women who use the kitchen sink. That would not be my first choice but it is a good option to have if you are even in a pinch.
A spin bucket is any standard bucket that includes a spin attachment to help wring out the mop. Avoiding excess water is crucial to obtaining a clean floor so a way to wring out water is very important. If you want to mop your floor with the best results then your mopping process must include a way to thoroughly wring out your mop head.
If you go with the best option and choose the microfiber mop the bucket has an easy to use spin bucket.
What Should I Mop My Floor With?
The best mop will only get you so far if you are not using the correct cleaner for your flooring type.
I cannot stress enough how important it is that you read the labels of your floor cleaner. The right cleaning products are going to make a huge difference on how clean your floor surface is after mopping.
The two biggest mistakes that people make when mopping their floors is using a cleaner that is not meant for their floor type and using way too much cleaner than is called for on the label.
A Quick Word About Different Cleaners
Social media has made it increasingly popular for people to use dish detergent, laundry detergent, and similar cleansers in ways that the products were never intended to be used.
Please do not fall into the trap of using a cleaner in a way that the manufacturer did not intend.
There are some cleaners that can be used for a wide variety of cleaning tasks at different dilutions. For example, Pine Sol has directions for how to use the product on laundry. Sal Suds is another great example of a product that has many uses.
Laundry detergent has been recommended on social media as an all purpose cleaner that you can use in bathrooms, on cabinets, and on floors. However, that is absolutely not one of the recommended uses for the product.
The average washing machine uses 19 gallons of water per load. You do not use 19 gallons of water to mop your floors. The dilution for any laundry detergent is not made for your one to five gallon mop bucket. This will cause a build up on your floors that over time results in streaks or even blemishes.
Most laundry detergents also have a brightening agent in them. Even the detergents that are formulated for colored clothing. That is not something that you want on your floors at all. The alkalis in laundry detergent are also not compatible with most flooring types such as tile, luxury vinyl, and hardwood.
So What Do I Recommend?
I have two favorites that I prefer but it is always important to follow the recommendations for your specific flooring type.
White Vinegar + Hot Water
I use 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of hot water.
The acidity in vinegar works to lift and remove dirt without leaving behind a residue. I also love this option because it is very affordable.
Sal Suds has a wide variety of uses and it’s worth saying that it smells great as well.
I follow the recommended use of 1/2 teaspoon with 1 gallon of hot water.
Sal Suds does a great job of removing stains, is a natural option so I feel good about having it around my kids, and it is super affordable. Using just 1/2 teaspoon at a time the bottle lasts practically forever.
You Need A Quality Vacuum Cleaner
If you truly want to mop your floors the right way that starts with using a vacuum cleaner.
I am not saying that a broom is useless here. I use my broom a few times a day to get the larger crumbs and mess that has been left behind. However beyond the larger messes a broom is not going to serve you well. The broom will push the smaller dirt around rather than pick it up.
Use a vacuum cleaner on your floor before mopping so that you are setting yourself up for success.
What Is The Easiest Way To Clean A Floor?
- Mix cleaner and water according to manufacturers directions
- Wet mop in the soapy water and wring thoroughly so that there is not much water left on your mop head
- Use a swishing side to side motion on your floors with mop head
- Work in small sections and rinse your mop frequently
- Move backwards across the floor to avoid walking on your clean wet floors
- Once you have completed your mopping rinse the bucket, wash the mop head, and allow both to try completely before storing
Why Is My Floor Still Dirty After I Mop?
There are a few reasons that you may have a dirty floor after mopping.
- Not following the manufacturers directions on how much cleaning solution to use. This will lead to streaks, build up, or even a sticky residue.
- Using a floor cleaner that is not suitable to your type of flooring.
- Using a mop that is too wet. This will cause floors to be streaked in the short term and damaged in the long term.
- Not rinsing the mop as you go and/or not using a vacuum cleaner before you mop. Either of these will result in just pushing dirt around the floor rather than actually cleaning it.