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10 Mopping Tips and Tricks: For a Pristine Home

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

Have you just realized that nobody has ever taught you how to mop correctly? It’s really something they should teach in school.

If you’re looking for mopping tips and hacks, you’ve come to the right place. Mopping should be part of your weekly cleaning routine, so we’ll show you the ropes.

It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but our suggestions will make this chore easy and effective.

Key Takeaways

  • Vacuum before mopping to remove loose dirt and debris, making mopping more effective.
  • Use a microfiber mop for versatility and effectiveness in removing 99% of microbes.
  • Opt for reusable mop pads to save money and reduce environmental impact; wash and dry them properly to avoid bacteria growth.
  • Make a homemade floor cleaner using diluted vinegar and essential oils for a safer and cheaper cleaning solution.

Top 10 Mopping Tips

Here are 10 proven ways you can improve your mopping.

1. Vacuum First

One of the best ways to achieve pristine floors is to vacuum first. Removing loose dirt makes mopping more effective since mops aren’t designed to hold onto pieces of debris.

The vacuum’s suction power can get into nooks and crannies and pick up dust you can’t reach.

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 lightweight and able to glide around the floor.

2. Choose a Microfiber Mop

Woman cleaning living room floor with microfiber mop

There’s a huge variety of mop heads out there. From cotton to synthetic materials, you might be wondering what one is best.

We’d recommend a microfiber mop for its versatility. It’s suitable for most hard flooring. Plus, you can use it for wet and dry mopping.

Microfiber can 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

Disposable mop pads are easy to use, but they are 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 you to hand or machine wash them. 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, you can successfully disinfect mop pads at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (2). You should avoid using bleach or fabric softeners when 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, air dry it flat or hang it on the line.

4. Make a Homemade Floor Cleaner

If you’re using a mop and bucket, a cleaning solution can sanitize the floors. But if you have young children and pets, you may want to avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals.

Why not try making your own solution at home? You don’t always have to spend a fortune on fancy floor cleaning solutions. DIY cleaners are safer and cheaper.

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

Household cleaning vinegar contains around five 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 and dull the finish if it’s too concentrated. A good diluting ratio is one cup of distilled white vinegar per one gallon of water. This solution is 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. 10-15 drops per gallon is plenty.

Lemon has antibacterial properties. It can 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 can kill E. coli, S. pneumonia, and H. influenzae (7).

Be careful if you have pets, as many essential oils are toxic to them.

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 grime and dust from your floor. The second pass cleans and polishes the surface.

If you 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

To speed up the mopping process, you may want to try out the spray mop. You don’t have to carry around a heavy bucket since there’s an integrated spray function to wet the floors.

Besides being lightweight, spray mops are suitable for tile, linoleum, and laminate floors. 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 do the wringing for you.

8. Start in the Corner

When you’re all ready to start mopping, start in the corner furthest from the room’s exit. This prevents you from walking over clean floors when you do need to exit the room. Just work backward.

If you start anywhere else, you’ll have to walk over the wet floor you’ve just scrubbed. This can get your feet wet. Plus, 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 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’ll know because your back will ache!

Be on the lookout for adjustable mops. Certain models 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 well.

Many 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.

The good news is that you can use a steam mop instead. This device is famous 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).


How Often Should You Mop Your Floors?

You should mop your floors once a week, but if you have high footfall or children and pets, you may need to clean more frequently.

What Should You Not Do When Mopping?

You should not mop hardwood floors, pour dirty water in the sink, or leave your air conditioning on. The excess moisture will enter the air ducts and cause mold and mildew. Instead, open windows and doors to improve airflow.

Is It Better to Mop With Hot Water or Cold Water?

It is better to mop with cold water because it is less likely to damage your floor. Only use hot water on surfaces like marble that can take the heat.

Should I Boil Water to Mop?

You shouldn’t boil water to mop because it could damage the floor. It’s better to use cold water mixed with an appropriate cleaner to kill bacteria and clean your floor.

Should You Dry the Floor After Mopping?

You should dry your floor after mopping to prevent watermarks and streaks. Some surfaces are more water-resistant and can be left to dry naturally, making drying a choice rather than a necessity. If you have a laminate or hardwood floor, removing moisture prevents warping.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy Anthony is a cleaning expert, author, and contributing writer for Oh So Spotless, a leading online resource for all things related to cleaning, organizing, and maintaining a spotless home. With over 15 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Amy has gained extensive knowledge and expertise that have made her a trusted authority on best practices, efficient techniques, and innovative cleaning solutions.