Once upon a time, when a floor needed to be cleaned, the person cleaning (usually Mom) would get down on hands and knees with a bucket and large sponge and spend an hour or more cleaning the whole thing until it sparkled. These days, we have Swiffer Wetjet. Oh how things have changed! But if you talk to some people, the tried-and-true methods are still the best. So we’re going to run you through a quick course on how to mop.
Step 1: Mop the Floor Last
The first step on understanding how to mop is to sweep or vacuum the floor and remove the dry dirt. If you want to get real correct you need to first clean everything else that will deposit dirt on said floor then do the dry mop step. We clean top to bottom for a reason: dust and dirt settle. If you mop and then dust, you’ll end up with a brand-new layer of dirt on your freshly cleaned floor. Save yourself the trouble and clean everything else first. Then vacuum or sweep your floors. Doing both in partnership is probably a better choice, since brooms fit best into tight corners and along floorboards, but vacuums pick up those things you might not see (or be able to catch with your dustpan). Believe us when we say that Step 1 is the most important step. Once you get the floor damp while mopping it is much more difficult to get up the dry items that you may have missed.
Step 2: Choose Your Weapons
No matter what you prefer on how to mop your floor, you’re going to need some essentials: a bucket of water, soap or cleaner, and a cleaning tool. Your water should be warm to hot (not too hot if you’re going to be putting your hands into it, of course). Choose your soap according to your preferences and what type of floor you have. For a wood floor, a wood oil such as Murphy’s Oil Soap works well; for a tile or linoleum floor, Pine Sol or something similar can work. If you’re into green options, you can choose straight water or add a minimal cleaner such as natural soap or even essential oils. You may also want to look at what the manufacturer of your floor suggests.
There is debate on which cleaning weapon is best: a mop or a sponge… and you’ll probably receive some mixed responses when you ask people, even if those people are professional cleaners. And even if you choose a mop over the more labor-intensive sponge, which one should you choose? Your best bet is a corded mop option, as opposed to those noodle-style mops; they just push around water and don’t really clean much. If you get a mop head with a scrubber, that will help you get the tough stains and spots on the floor without having to get on your knees. We personally like twist-style mops like the Rubbermaid Twist Action. They are easy to use and convenient and provide enough “oomph” for those rough spots. The standard commercial grade mop and bucket like these are also a fine choice. While they clean well and cover more area than most mops, they are more expensive and take up more storage space.
If you want to go old school and scrub with your whole body, knee-pads are a great idea. They’ll protect you from the hard floor, which really hurts after about 15 minutes crawling around on it. You’ll also want long gloves. Choose a larger sponge so you can cover more area with less exertion. But our take is to skip the Cinderella reenactments and go with the mops mentioned above.
Keep in mind what floor type you are cleaning. Tile and more sealed up floors can handle more water used on them while floors with seams and cracks like hardwood require more caution and awareness. If you are doing standard mopping (i.e. with a water solution) on hardwood or similar remember to wring out the mop or sponge very well. When you mop on this floor type it should only be damp on the surface with no standing puddles.
Step 3: Deep Cleaning
If you have a wood floor or tiles, you should consider some regular deep cleaning outside of your weekly mopping sessions. By “deep,” we mean hiring someone to come in and use the heavy-duty cleaners to get into the grout between tiles or sand and refinish the wood. Depending on how hard you are on your floors, this extra step might need to be taken every six months or every couple of years.
If even the thought of cleaning floors or learning how to mop in real practice makes you break out into a cold sweat, don’t worry: Moxie Girl has you covered. Let us take the guesswork out of what to use and how to mop by hiring us to come to your home and get rid of the dirt.