Having a dirty, sticky floor is the worst. If you think about it, every time your feet touch that floor and then go to a different part of your home, like your nice carpet or your comfy bed, you’re now spreading around germs. That’s why knowing how to mop floors so they shine and sparkle is important.
Let’s face it – carpeted floors are easy to clean with a vacuum or carpet cleaner. But non-carpet floors, like linoleum or vinyl or tile? Sweeping doesn’t remove all the grime and germs; that can only be done with a mop. Keep your home nice and clean by knowing how to mop floors.
How to Mop Floors Like a Pro
You might think “I know how to mop floors. It’s so simple,” but there are some tricks and tips that can make the process go quick and smooth. Plus, keeping your floors clean of bacteria and grime can prolong the floor’s lifespan.
Keep in mind that these tips are not for wooden, laminated, cork or bamboo floors. These types of floors require their own special type of cleaning, as water can damage them.
Step 1: Clear the Intended Cleaning Area
Before you can do any mopping, you must clear the area. This includes any furniture, rugs, clothes and other miscellaneous items, like books or shopping bags. If you can’t reach every spot on the floor, you’re already cutting your odds of having a clean floor.
Step 2: Sweep Before You Mop
As mentioned before, sweeping can only do so much, but it can pick up the little pieces of dirt, crumbs, dust, hair and debris. If you don’t remove these items first, the mop will simply move them from one spot to another or smear them all over the floor. Even worse, some debris can scratch your floor if dragged all over the place; you certainly don’t want to mess up your nice floors.
If you notice an area on the floor that is really sticky or gross, you might want to quickly wipe it down with a sponge and soapy water so the mop has an easier time of cleaning the floor.
Step 3: Use Hot Water and Small Strokes
No matter which cleaner you go with (dish soap or a professional cleaner), mix it with one gallon of hot water. A cup of vinegar can also help remove grime and disinfect the floor. The bucket should be about half full so the mop head can be completed submerged and soak up the cleaner. However, make sure the mop head damp, not sopping wet, by wringing out the water.
When you do start mopping, you should only wipe the floor about three times. This spreads the cleaning solution over the floor without leaving behind a pool of water, which can damage the floor.
Keep in mind that too much soap or cleaner can leave behind a sticky residue that can trap more grime and dirt than before. In this case, less is more.
Step 4: Mop in Small Areas
This is particularly relevant if you have a huge floor area, like in a dining room or kitchen. Mopping in small areas can help tackle the grime and germs easier. Start with the sides or edges first before moving to the center of the floor.
Work your way from the farthest area back to the front one area at a time until the whole floor area is clean. By working from back to front, you are always standing on the unmopped area. This means you aren’t getting your feet wet, and you aren’t tracking germs and grime all over the floor you just cleaned.
Step 5: Remember to Rinse and Repeat
For this step, it applies to both the mop head and the bucket.
Before you start mopping another area, wring out the mop head over the bucket so you remove all germs and grime. Some people then like to do another quick wipe down of the previous section to remove any remaining residue before tackling the next section.
As for the bucket full of water and cleaner, you should see it become dirtier the more you clean. Obviously, using dirty water won’t clean your floor, so you need to rinse and refill the bucket whenever it becomes visibly dirty. Refill it with more warm water and cleaner.
BONUS TIP: Two Buckets is Better Than One
Instead of using one bucket to mop the floor, try using two: one bucket full of cleaner and another for wringing and rinsing the mop head. Granted, this does not eliminate the need to rinse and refill the second bucket once it gets dirty, but it saves you from having to add cleaner every time you refill it.
Plus, two buckets stop you from contaminating the bucket full of cleaner with whatever dirt and grime your mop just wiped up.
Step 6: Let the Floor Dry
What’s the point in mopping the floor if you aren’t going to let it dry properly? Open a window or door so the floor can air dry. Don’t let any people or pets walk on the floor until it is completely dry. Then you can start moving the furniture and other objects back to where they belong.
Once everything is back to its place, dump the bucket’s contents in the toilet (never do it in your kitchen sink) and clean out the bucket of any leftover grime and debris. Wash the mop head in a mixture of bleach and water so it’s clean and ready for next time. Make sure both are completely dry before storing them separately; don’t let the mop sit in the bucket to prevent mold and bacteria from growing.
If mopping isn’t your favorite chore or you simply don’t have the time to tackle your vast floor area, don’t fret. 3 Maids can help you keep your non-carpet floors spick and span, especially with our 49-point checklist.