mopping floor

How To Mop a Floor So It’s Actually Clean

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how to mop a floor

You’ve probably spent a lot of time mopping your floors only to look at them and see a spot you missed or think they still look dingy. Then you find yourself thinking (and Googling) how to mop a floor so it’s actually clean. 

At Upstairs Downstairs, we mop floors on a daily basis and we’ve learned some tips that can help you. Keep reading to learn tips from some of our professional cleaners. 

What Do I Need to Mop a Floor? 

You don’t need a bunch of fancy things to mop your floors and get them clean. A mop bucket with soapy water, a rinse bucket, cleaning solution, and mop are the basics. You can get fancier if you like, but you certainly don’t need to. 

Types of Mops

If you take a walk down the cleaning aisle at your local store, you might be a little bit overwhelmed by all the different mop options available. 

It can feel overwhelming trying to pick the “best” mop for the job you’re doing. Ask your friends if they have a mop they love (or hate) to help you narrow down the search. 

  • Mop Pads – using a disposable or reusable mop pad is great for quick clean ups. Put a pad on the mop base, do a quick clean up, then throw the pad into the trash (or washing machine if you’re using a reusable one).  
  • Sponge Mop – sponge mops are the kind of mop most homeowners are familiar with. It’s got a large sponge mop head on one end that you submerge into your cleaning solution and wring out before using on your floors.
  • String Mop – string mops are the other most common types of mops. Like a sponge mop, you put your string mop into your cleaning solution and remove the excess water before mopping your floors. 
  • Microfiber Mop – these mops can look like a string mop and sometimes are sold with their own bucket that spins the mop head to get the extra water off before you start mopping.
  • Robotic Mop – these are great to help with maintenance and upkeep. You’ll still need to do regular mopping for the best results in addition to your robotic mop. 

Types of Floors

Knowing what kind of floors you’re trying to clean can also be very helpful. Different cleaners work better on different floors and different types of floors may need to be cleaned differently. Here are some of the most common floor types: 

  • Hardwood 
  • Laminate
  • Vinyl
  • Linoleum
  • Stone tile
  • Ceramic tile

Floor Cleaning Solutions

Different types of flooring might need different types of cleaners to get (and keep) them looking their best. Here are a few things you can try on your floors: 

  • Mild Dish Soap: dish detergent is meant to cut through the grease and grime so using a small amount mixed with warm or hot water can be helpful on kitchen floors. Try using ¼ cup dish soap with three cups of warm water for mopping your floors. 
  • White Vinegar: use vinegar alone or mixed with a bit of dish soap. Don’t worry about the smell – it will disappear once the floors dry so you won’t have a house that smells like vinegar. ½ cup vinegar mixed with a gallon of water is a good mix to try.
  • Window Cleaner: to remove streaks from laminate flooring or ceramic tile floors, you can add a bit of window cleaner to your mop bucket. Use one part window cleaner to one part warm water for tile floors. Laminate floors need a more diluted mixture.
  • Rubbing Alcohol: because rubbing alcohol dries quickly, it can be a good choice to mop your floors with. Mix a cup of rubbing alcohol with a gallon of warm water to use on your floors. 
  • Powdered Laundry Detergent: you only need about a teaspoon of detergent in your mop bucket mixed with hot water to use it to clean your floors. 
  • Floor Cleaners From the Store: there’s something available for almost every type of flooring. Be sure to follow the directions on the packaging to make sure you’re using the right ratio to properly clean your floors. 

You can use a spot cleaner in a spray bottle to clean tough or sticky spots on your floor. That way you don’t have to mop the entire floor with the stronger cleaner, but can still use it on the tougher spots.

Resist the urge to use more cleaner to get a clean, fresh scent in your room or home. More cleaner might mean a stronger scent, but it doesn’t mean a cleaner floor. It can actually make your floor more dirty and cause a build up over time. 

lady mopping wooden floor

How Do You Mop a Floor?

When it comes to mopping your floor, there are a few things you want to do to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it. Over time, you’ll develop your own personal mopping and rinsing process, but these tips will help you get started. 

Before You Mop

Before you start mopping your floors, remove everything from the floors like rugs, pet food, trash cans, and other items. Removing these things before you start cleaning will not only make it easier to clean, it will also leave less places for dirt to hide and get trapped. 

Once you’ve got an empty floor, start out by sweeping or vacuuming your floor. This will help make sure that you’re getting up any loose dirt before you start mopping. You don’t want to be pushing dirt and dust bunnies around with your mop.

After you’ve removed the dirt, it’s time to gather up what you’re going to use to clean your floors. Depending on the type of flooring you’re mopping, you may need different types of cleaner to get the best results. 

Be sure to plan your mopping so the floor has plenty of time to dry before you put things back on the floor and start walking on it. Mopping at night works best for most people because they’ll have a few uninterrupted hours with people not walking on the floors. 

Mopping Your Floor

Start mopping your floor with a damp but not wet mop. To keep your floors looking clean, you want your floors to dry quickly. Unless you’re mopping a very small floor, it’s easiest to work in sections of your floor. This will let you focus on that area of the floor without feeling rushed. 

Not sure what part of the floor to start mopping? The corner of the roof that’s furthest away from the door is the best place to begin mopping. That way you won’t be walking over your clean floors to finish mopping the floor. 

If you have spots on the floor, spend some time scrubbing the floor in those areas to help remove the spots and stains on the floor. Try using a scrubbing sponge if there are tough to remove spots.

As you’re mopping, you may need to change out the water several times so that you’re using clean water on your floors. Don’t be afraid to dump out dirty water and start with a bucket of clean water. You can also use two buckets – one for your cleaning solution and one for fresh water – to help extend the life of your mop water. 

When you’re finished scrubbing and mopping the floor, go over the clean floor with clean water. You can use two buckets while mopping, or empty your dirty mop water and re-mop the floor with clean water.

After You Mop

Rinse out your mop and bucket and let them dry completely before you put them away. Put away any cleaning supplies or other materials that you had out while mopping floors. 

Once the floors have completely dried, put the items back that you removed so you could mop so you can go on with using and enjoying your space. 

Continue with your regular cleaning routine of sweeping and mopping to keep your floors looking great until your next deep cleaning mopping.

lady mopping tiled floor

How Often Do I Need to Mop? 

Every day your floors get dirt and grime on them so to keep them as clean as possible, it’s best to do a damp mopping daily. At the end of your day, sweep your floors and do a quick mop with warm water to pick up any dirt or pet hair from the day.

To get the dirt that’s built up on your floors, it’s best to do a more deep clean mopping on a weekly basis. When you’re mopping, use your preferred cleaner and plan to spend a bit more time so you can scrub any spots that have shown up over the week and didn’t come up when you mopped with warm water.

If you’re just getting yourself into a regular mopping and cleaning routine, you might need to fully mop your floors twice the first couple of times to help get all of that stuck on dirt loosened up and off your floors. 

Putting down rugs throughout your home and mats at your front door can help to keep dirt off the floors and give you a bit longer between mopping. Regular sweeping can help keep your floors looking clean between moppings too.

clean kitchen

Why Are My Floors Still Dirty After Mopping?

Even if you’re mopping daily and weekly, your floors can still look dirty. There are a few things that might be causing this: 

  • Using the wrong cleaner: if you’re using a cleaner that’s been formulated for tile and you’re using it on hardwood floors, not only will it make your floors look dirty, it can also cause damage to your floors.
  • Using too much cleaner: too much cleaner can leave a cleaning solution residue on your floors so you’ll want to follow the directions on the package to make sure you’re not using too much cleaner and that it’s diluted properly.
  • Using too much water: water spots on your floor can make it look less clean so be sure that you’re wringing out your mop before mopping your floors. 
  • Using dirty water: if you’re putting your mop in dirty water, you’re not getting the dirt off your floor. To know when it’s time to change your water, put a quarter at the bottom of your bucket and when you can’t see it any more, it’s time for clean water in your bucket.
  • Lots of dirt or pet hair: having pet hair or dirt on your floor means your mom is just pushing it around your floor instead of cleaning the floors.
  • More than normal activity: your floors can look more dirty than normal if you’ve had more traffic in your home.

Get a Those Floors Clean (and keep them that way!) with Upstairs Downstairs 

Need help keeping up with mopping floorings and other cleaning? Upstairs Downstairs can help with regular housekeeping services like mopping, sweeping, dusting, and other things. If you need help with a deep cleaning, Upstairs Downstairs can help with that too. Contact us for a free quote for the cleaning services you’d like to start using for your home.

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