Mopping the floor seems like a simple process, but many people do it incorrectly. People tend to use too much soap to mop their floors, which leads to streaks and residue. They also use too much water, which can potentially damage hardwood, laminate and tile flooring. Another common problem is failing to rinse off the mop often enough while cleaning, which leads to the mop simply spreading dirty water around the floor rather than cleaning it.
Most homeowners have simply never learned how to properly mop a floor. Thankfully, it's not that difficult. If you want your floors to be sparkling and clean, read on to find out how you should be mopping.
1. Vacuum First
The purpose of mopping a floor is to use soap to scrub off any stuck-on dirt, dust, and oil. If there's gunk on the floor that isn't sticking to it, you may as well pick it up with a vacuum cleaner first. It's quick and leaves less work for you to do when you're mopping. Set your vacuum cleaner's rollers to its hard floor setting and run it over the floor a few times before you begin mopping it.
2. Use Dish Soap and Water
While there are numerous cleaning products you can select to mop your floors with, the best product to use is simple dish soap. You don't need very much in order to mop your floors, either—the amount you use to wash a dish is adequate. Using too much soap will leave streaks on the floor along with a very sticky residue. Additionally, sticky soap residue will trap dirt and dust on the floor, which causes it to become dirtier much more quickly.
3. Prepare Your Mopping Buckets
Mopping the floor is much easier when you have a mopping trolley that has a wringer attached to it, but you don't absolutely need one to get your floors completely clean. You will, however, need to wring out your mop using your hands fairly regularly during the process. Wear rubber gloves if you don't want to touch the grime that's on your floors.
You'll need two buckets. The first should be filled with water with several drops of dish soap added to it, and the second bucket should just be filled with plain water. Dip your mop into the soap bucket and let it soak for a minute.
4. Mop the Floor in a Figure-Eight Pattern Using as Little Water as Possible
Afterwards, wring the mop out until it's nearly dry. Mopping a floor requires very little water. There should be enough water on the mop to leave a sheen on the floor as you're mopping it, but the mop shouldn't be dripping. If you ever see standing water on the floor while you're mopping, you're using way too much water. When you use too much water, you run the risk of damaging your floors—hardwood flooring is particularly vulnerable to excess moisture, but laminate and tile flooring can be damaged as well.
Mop from the far corner of the room towards the front so that you're never forced to step on a damp floor while you're mopping. It's best to mop in a figure-eight pattern in order to work the soap into the dirt and oil on the floor, which will cause them to dissolve into the water and cling to the mop.
5. Rinse Your Mop Regularly to Remove Dirt and Oil
After a few passes with the mop, dunk your mop into the bucket without soap and twirl it around a few times in order to rinse the dirt and oil off of your mop. This is the most important step when you're mopping your floor—if you don't rinse your mop regularly while you're cleaning, you'll end up pushing dirt around the floor rather than removing it.
Wring the mop out into the bucket with dirty water in it until it's completely dry, then place the mop in the soapy water bucket and wring it out again until it's only slightly damp. Then repeat the process of scrubbing the floor in a figure-eight pattern, making sure to rinse the dirt off of your mop regularly.
6. Clean Your Mop and Stow It Away, Then Let the Floor Air Dry
After you've mopped the entire floor, let it air dry. If you weren't using much water while mopping the floor, you shouldn't need to set up any fans in the room in order to speed up the drying process. It will dry on its own fairly quickly. Dump both of your buckets down the bathtub or shower drain and then rinse your mop off completely to remove any soap and dirt that may be clinging to it. Leaving any soap residue on the mop can cause the fibers to harden, which can damage it.
Ultimately, mopping the floor is simple, but many homeowners don't do it correctly. The most common error is neglecting to rinse off the mop regularly while cleaning. As long as you follow the steps above, you'll be able to completely clean your floors rather than simply spreading dirt and dust around. Finally, if you find touching a dirty mop to be off-putting, you can always hire a professional house cleaning service to mop your floors for you.