Top 10 Mopping Tips for Clean Floors

Get rid of dust bunnies and kill germs by following our mopping tips.

Are you looking for mopping tips and hacks? You’ve come to the right place. Mopping the best way to clean most floors — it’s got to be done.

It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but if you do it right, it can be rewarding. There are ways you can make this chore a little easier. So, grab your cleaning tools and try out some of our top suggestions.

Top 10 Mopping Tips

We’ve done our research and found 10 ways you can improve your mopping.

1. Vacuum First

One of the best ways to achieve pristine floors is to vacuum first. Picking up all the loose dirt may make mopping more effective — mops aren’t designed to hold onto pieces of debris.

The suction power of the vacuum can get right into the corners and pick up dust you can’t reach. Then you can start mopping to bring out the natural shine of your flooring.

Just be careful what vacuum you use if you’ve got hardwood floors — upright vacuums might damage your floor. You’d be best off using a canister vacuum without a rotating beater bar. You can also opt for a stick vacuum, which is lighter to glide around the floor.

2. Choose a Microfiber Mop

Woman cleaning living room floor with microfiber mop

You may notice that there’s a large variety of mop heads out there. From cotton to synthetic materials, you might be wondering what one is best.

We’d recommend microfiber for its versatility. It’s going to be suitable for pretty much every type of hard flooring. Plus, it can be used for wet and dry mopping — you can decide what you need.

Microfiber is able to remove 99 percent of microbes (1). This allows you to sanitize the floor for kids and pets.

Take Note

Make sure to use a dry microfiber mop for unsealed wooden floors. It’s best to use a simple microfiber mop to dust and collect small dirt particles.

Moisture can damage wood, causing it to expand and even go moldy. If the wood is sealed, however, this should be fine. The sealant creates a barrier against moisture.

3. Reusable Mop Pads Are Economical

You may think that disposables mop pads are easy to use. But they can work out to be pretty expensive in the long run. Think about how often you mop your floors — most families go through a pack quickly.

You can save money by opting for reusable mop pads. They tend to be made from microfiber or cotton, allowing them to be hand or machine washed. If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll also enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re reducing your carbon footprint.

Take Note

To kill the germs, mop pads can be successfully disinfected at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (2). You should avoid using bleach or fabric softeners when you’re washing them to avoid damaging the fibers.

Some materials may be tumble dried on a low setting. Drying is essential to avoid bacteria growth. If it can’t be tumble dried, you can air dry it out flat or hang it on the line.

4. Make a Homemade Floor Cleaner

If you’re using a mop and bucket, you may want to use a cleaning solution to sanitize the floors. But if you have young children and pets, some cleaning agents may contain toxic chemicals you don’t like.

Well, why not try making your own solution at home? You don’t always have to spend a fortune on fancy cleaning solutions. There are several cheaper, less toxic alternatives.

For example, vinegar is naturally effective at microbial reduction (3). It contains acetic acid, which can disinfect your flooring and deodorize too.

Most of the vinegar you see in the store will contain around 5 percent acetic acid. This can kill about 80 percent of bacteria. In particular, this simple ingredient can kill Salmonella, E. coli and others (4).

A study even found that malt vinegar can kill the flu virus and stop it from spreading (5). There’s one thing to keep in mind if you’re going to use vinegar in your homemade cleaning solution, though. You have to make sure it’s properly diluted.

Take Note

Due to its acidity, it may damage your floor if it’s too concentrated — it can also dull the finish. A good mixture is approximately 1 cup of white vinegar mixed with 1 gallon of water. This should be suitable for linoleum, tile, and vinyl floors.

You may also choose to add specific essential oils for a pleasant, refreshing fragrance. But some also make good cleaners too. Five drops per gallon mixture should be plenty.

Lemon has also been found to have antibacterial properties. It has the ability to inhibit S. carnosus, E. gergoviae and E. amnigenus (6). These bacteria are often found in kitchens from food spoilage.

Tea tree is also a good choice since it has been found to kill E. coli, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae (7).

5. Make Two Passes Over an Area

You don’t want to spend all day scrubbing away at the same surface with your mop. So, the best way is to work in small sections first and focus on one area.

You can follow the two-pass rule. The first pass should be forceful to capture all of the grime and dust from your floor. Then the second pass can clean the surface and make it shiny.

That’s all there is to it. If you do have more stubborn stains, you may need an extra pass and a little elbow grease.

6. Use a Spray Mop for Speed

a spray mop

Is your schedule pretty busy or do you just hate cleaning? To make the job a little easier, you may want to try out the spray mop. You don’t have to carry around a heavy bucket this way — there’s an integrated spray function to scrub the floors.

Besides being lightweight, spray mops are suitable for tile, linoleum and laminate floors. They may be a lot cleaner — you just spray and go. This means a deep clean but with less effort.

7. Rinse and Wring Your Mop Often

a red and white spin mop and bucket

What’s the point in cleaning your floor with a dirty mop? Really, it’s wasting your time. This is exactly what you’re doing if you don’t rinse out your mop regularly while you’re cleaning.

You risk spreading dirt and debris around your floor. It only takes a second to dunk your mop in the clean water and then wring it out. A spin bucket can be effective at doing the wringing for you.

8. Start in the Corner

When you’re all ready to start mopping, it may be best to start in the corner. This should be the furthest point from the exit. Starting away from the exit prevents you from having to clean an area twice.

If you start anywhere else, you’ll have to walk over the wet floor you’ve just scrubbed. This can get your feet wet and dirt from your socks, slippers or shoes may spread to the flooring. Working your way towards the door gives you a swift exit.

9. Avoid Injury With an Adjustable Handle

You may think that mopping isn’t a strenuous or dangerous task. But, did you know that mopping is actually the second-leading cause of injury when it comes to cleaning? In particular, mopping can lead to back pain and tendonitis (8).

Some mops are designed to be one-size-fits-all. But the problem is, not everyone is the same height. If you’re using a mop that is too short, you may be giving yourself back pain by bending over all the time.

Be on the lookout for adjustable mops. Certain models that have a telescopic pole that you can adjust to different lengths. This way you can find the correct length for your height and prevent back pain.

Another good way to avoid using the wrong muscles for mopping is focusing on using your arms for movement. This may help avoid shoulder and back strains as well.

10. Use a Steam Mop for Grouting

What about the grouting between tiles? Grouting is notorious for harboring dirt and bacteria since it’s not smooth. It can also be a breeding ground for mold and grime if you don’t scrub it away.

Lots of cleaning products claim they can disinfect grouting and get it looking as good as new. While this may be true, they often contain toxic ingredients, such as bleach. You may not want this in your house if you’ve got young children running around.

The good news is that you can use a steam mop instead. This device is popular for its natural germ-killing and sanitizing ability. You’ve just got to fill it up with water and it’s ready to go — no need for any chemicals.

Studies have found that steam can kill NDM-1 Klebsiella, VRE and MRSA within five seconds (9).

It’s Time to Clean

There you have it — mopping tips to save you time and energy, as well as help you achieve a clean home.

Vacuuming is the first thing you should do. Use a microfiber mop as they’re most effective for scrubbing. Reusable mop pads may save you money and you can help the environment too.

You don’t have to spend a lot on cleaning solutions either. Just make your own with ingredients you commonly have in your home.

Most of the time, two passes are all you need to freshen up your flooring. Be sure to rinse and wring often. Spray mops may be what you need for quick cleaning, while steam mops are good for grouting.

Have you tried out any of our mopping tips? Let us know how you got on in the comments, and don’t forget to share our article!

Headshot of Amy Anthony

About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy is a stay-at-home-mom, seasoned writer, and a home cleaning and organization aficionado. Amy enjoys having an absolutely spotless home and has worked hard to develop strategies to keep it that way, despite having 2 kids and 3 dogs!