How to Mop a Floor: Step by Step Guide

Traditional damp mopping still remains the primary and best way to clean your house floors. But, since construction technology developed a variety of flooring materials, so did the mopping technology.

Different floorings need different cleaning instructions. Some flooring requires a traditional wet mopping and others require a dry mopping.

This article is focused on delivering you the elaborated techniques of choosing the right supplies for mopping your floor and the guideline to mop your floor properly.

The first and foremost reason, we all know, is to keep it clean. But, we often don’t pay attention to the other significant reasons why we should mop our floors regularly.

  • It Sanitizes: Sweeping works quite well to make your floor clean and yet, you need to mop. Because sweeping doesn’t sanitize as much as mopping does.
  • Reduces Allergy: Even if you sweep or vacuum your floor daily, the invisible dust still remains and often causes allergy to the dust-sensitive people. If you are one of them, or even if you aren’t, you should mop the floor regularly to reduce or prevent dust allergy.
  • Prevents Scratches: For hardwood floors, mopping can help prevent scratches and retain the shine. So, if not that frequently, you should mop it once in a while.

How Often to Clean a Floor

Well, cleanliness is a must though, you shouldn’t go crazy about it. Depending on the type of your floor, it varies how often you should clean your floor. However, it shouldn’t be more than twice a week.

If you have a hardwood floor, it’s best to clean it once a week.

This is mostly because your hardwood floors tend to create a sticky floor residue that holds in the tiny granules of dirt.

But if you have a ceramic tiling or linoleum floor, then you can mop it twice a week.

What You Need

For getting prepared to mop your floor, you need these supplies ready to get started. Some of these supplies may vary depending on your choice and depending on the type of the floor.

  • Vacuum Cleaner or Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Cleaning Solution
  • Sponge
  • Mop
  • Mop Buckets (2)
  • Dry Rag or Paper Towels

Things to Consider before Cleaning the Floor

Mopping a floor is really easy. But, you need to consider a lot of things to do it right. These 4 things are the most important.

1. Different Types of Floors

Different Types of Floors

There are at least twenty types of floor that exist. But for mopping concern, we consider five different types of flooring-

You can categorize all floorings more or less under these five types of floors in terms of mopping. So, learning to clean these five will be enough to clean and maintain your home properly.

You should always consider which type of floor you have before you choose a cleaning solution, mop, or a mopping bucket for further cleaning. Random solution can suit one kind of floor, but it may cause damage to other floors.

Different flooring needs different post-care or maintenance as well. The recommended frequency of mopping also varies depending on what type of flooring it is.

So, for appropriate cleaning, consider the type of flooring first and then choose the other supplies wisely.

2. Different Types of Mops

Different Types of Mops

These six types of mops are the most common types in the market-

Flat Mops

Flat mops are the most common and inexpensive mops. This mop has a flat disposable pad attached to its head. It is best for everyday mopping, but not the suitable one for scrubbing out the greasy particles on the floor.

Dust Mops

Dust Mops usually have a long handle to reach the ceiling and corners. The head can be made of a variety of materials including microfiber, synthetics, and lamb’s wool.

A Dust mop is a dry cleaning tool, and it cleans the dust over things. You shouldn’t expect proper wet mop finish with the dust mops.

Sponge Mops

Sponge mops consist of a removable spongy head that allows easy rinsing and replacement and usually comes with a wringer. These mops are great for wet cleaning and rinsing the floors, especially for uneven floors like tile floors.

But wet sponge mops spread bacteria fast. So always rinse the floor completely and place it upright in such area where it can dry completely.

Change the sponge head when you see it starts to discolor or create an odor.

String Mops

Traditional string mops are the best and most commonly used for its scrubbing and absorbance power. The strings easily reach the corners and mops every corner of your floor quite easily.

Strip Mops

The synthetic stripe mops are less absorbent than the cotton string mops. Thus, it is easier to maintain than cotton mops.

Strip mops dry quickly and create less smell and yet do a fantastic job for scrubbing and cleaning your floor.

Steam Mops

Steam mops are electrical appliances which heat up the water in the refillable tank and release steam. It comes out as a spray from a reusable mopping pad to mop the floor.

Steam mop saves your effort of hot water using a different bucket and yet works pretty well. But these mops are quite expensive and best avoided for mopping hardwood floor.

3. Different Types of Mopping Buckets and Wringers

Different Types of Mopping Buckets and Wringers

If you haven’t got yourself a mop bucket yet, then you can use two normal buckets for mopping, one for clean water and the other for dirty water. But if you are getting yourself a mop bucket then better get it right.

Modern mop buckets have three essential parts in just one bucket- the clean water (or solution mixed water) bucket, the dirty water bucket, and the wringer.

Now there are many other things to consider while buying a mop bucket. For instance, the size of the bucket, the plastic or metal wringer, and types of wringers.

Among these, the most crucial criterion is to define the types of wringers. There are basically four types of wringers for household mop buckets.

There are other types of wringers for industrial mop buckets which we will discuss later someday. The four types of household mopping wringers are-

  • Reverse Press Wringer: The reverse press wringer uses a lever toward the mop to release water back into the bucket. These wringers are quite economical for household cleaning, but they need more pressure than the down press wringers.
  • Funnel-Type Wringer: Place the mop head into the funnel of the Funnel-type wringers and twist as much required. These wringers are easy and efficient for wringing the mop.
  • Side Press Wringer: The side-press wringers are convenient to use for its high handle. Just one press on the side lever will drain all the excess water from the mop.
  • Down Press Wringer: With a down-press wringer, you get the maximum control over how much water you want to drip off from your mop.

4. Different Types of Mopping Solution

Mopping Solutions have a direct relation with the type of flooring you will mop with it. So depending on the five types of flooring discussed above, mopping solutions can be classified as four following types-

Solution for Hardwood Flooring

Steam or any Wet mops are not recommended to mop the hardwood flooring on a regular basis as water or steam may damage it. There are some oil based spray or solutions for the old woods. But new Hardwood Flooring manufacturers often recommend Bona Cleaning Kit for wood floors.

Solution for Porcelain Flooring

The dirt on a porcelain floor is so evident that even the luxurious Porcelain floors can turn into a mud-field when it gets dirty.

The best solution for porcelain floors to keep it clean and retain its sheen consists of a ¼ cup of white vinegar, 3-4 drops of regular dishwashing soap; and 2 cups of plain water. Mix these well and pour it into a spray bottle.

Spray the solution and mop with a damp mop. A microfiber head mop is the most suitable mop for cleaning these floorings.

Solution for Linoleum and Ceramic Tile Flooring

Though these floorings are completely different from each other, you can use the same solution for cleaning both Linoleum and Ceramic Tile Flooring.

Take half a bucket of warm water (you can use normal water as well, but for best results, you should use warm water) and mix 6-8 drops of regular dishwashing soap. Stir up the mixture well, dip your mop and start mopping.

Solution for Laminate Flooring

The beautiful laminated floorings have its own cleaning requirements. But so far the most effective and safest cleaning solution for these kinds of floorings are made of a ½ cup of PH neutral Cleaner, 2 tablespoons of ammonia and bleach free floor cleanser, and 4 cups of plain water. Pour this solution in a spray bottle and spritz before mopping.

NOTE: Though phenol Cleaning solutions are often used and recommended as a disinfectant cleanser, phenol based cleansing solutions are very toxic not only for humans but also for pets. So we don’t recommend it. But if you still buy one, then read out the instructions and cautions carefully before buying.

How to Mop a Floor

Almost all kinds of floors have the same process of cleaning. Some floors need dry mopping. For those, you can skip the entire water and bucket steps. Just spray your solution and wipe it up with a dry towel. For any other floorings that need wet mopping, you need to follow these simple steps to do it correctly.

Step 1: Choose the Right Mopping Solution for Your Floor

Considering the type of your floor (discussed above), prepare or buy a suitable mopping solution. If you are buying it, then read the Use and Cautions first.

Don’t buy products randomly, like phenol based solutions. Use other harmless disinfectants for your floor, especially for your bathroom floors.

Step 2: Choose a Suitable Mop and Bucket

If you are dry mopping your floor (for wood floors), then there is no need for a bucket and a good wringer. Just spray the solution and mop it well with a dry napkin or flat mop.

But if you are planning to do wet mopping, then choose your mop wisely. For a floor with lots of texture like the ceramic tiles, you should choose a string or stripe mop which is good for scrubbing your floor. For Smoother flooring texture, you can use a sponge mop. The flat mop is usually for the regular (not so hard) mopping.

For wet mopping, you will need a good mopping bucket with suitable wringer. You can choose the wringer of your preference.

Step 3: Sweep or Vacuum the Floor First

If you want to avoid your floor getting a sticky and muddy mess, then it would be best if you sweep or vacuum before even you touch the mop.

If you want to reduce your effort in mopping, then it is probably the best time for rubbing off the sticky stains on the floor while sweeping it. If it still leaves the stain, then immediately after sweeping or vacuuming and before mopping, you can use a sponge and soapy water to rub it off.

Step 4: Prepare Your Bucket

Now that you are done with all the preparations before mopping, now you can prepare your bucket.

For this step, decide if you want to do it with hot water or normal water. Our suggestion is to use hot water (if not going against the flooring manufacturers’ instruction) because it cleanses better and quicker while also sanitizes your floor.

Now mix the mopping solution and disinfectant cleanser you chose into the water bucket. Avoid the temptation to increase the amount of solution or disinfectants for better result. It will end up with a completely opposite result.

Check your bucket and wringers whether it’s working well.

Step 5: Dip and Wring the Mop

Dip your mop well into the solution mix water bucket and wring it out using the wringer. If you do not use a wringer, then do it manually with your hands.

Make sure that your mop is damp, not sopping wet. Excessive water dripping off on the floor can make it slippery and extend the time of drying out.

Step 6: Start to Mop

After wringing the mop start to mop the floor. While mopping select a small space and start mopping from one end to the other.

Always move backward to make sure that you are not standing on an undone area, leaving a footprint.

While using a sponge head, mop in the straight lines. On the other hand, with rag mops, you should mop in a figure 8 motion to maximize its efficiency.

Step 7: Stop for Stubborn Spots

Whenever you spot a stick and stubborn spot, stop and rub your mob back and forth several times until you rub off the stains from the floor.

You might need to apply pressure downward to the spotted area to get rid of the grim sometimes.

For reaching the corners and edges, you may need to bend down and scrub.

Thus, continue to mop other small areas until you feel the urge to rinse your mop.

Step 8: Rinse the Mopped Area Well

Getting done with the scrubbing, rinse your mop in the rinse bucket and press it up and down several times until it removes the maximum amount of dirt from the mop head.

If the water becomes dingy, empty, and refill the bucket and continue.

Step 9: Repeat Mopping and Rinsing to Complete the Entire Floor

After rinsing the mop head, again continue to mop the other small areas. Repeat the process until you are done with the entire floor.

Step 10: Do a Final Rinse

At this stage, your floor should be clean with little to no cleansing residue left on it. But for an extra clean finish, just mop over the entire floor for the last time with nothing but plain hot water.

This will help to clean if any residue or footprints left on the mopped area.

Step 11: Let It All Dry

Rinse out your mop thoroughly, wash the bucket and let them dry completely before you store them away. Let your floor completely dry before stepping on it.

Wrapping Up

We tried our best to cover every aspect of choosing the right supplies and tools for mopping your floor. This article intends to guide you with the right instructions, cautions, and care for mopping different types of flooring.

Despite all our instruction and guidelines, we highly recommend that you read the USE & CAUTION label before you buy any product for your household cleaning.

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