Believe it or not, there’s a right way to mop! If you want to have really clean floors in your home, this is the way to do it!
Mopping. Not really the most exciting subject matter. This is, until you find yourself the proud owner of floors that just don’t seem to come clean or that always look a bit lackluster. If you don’t have clean floors, that can make your whole house feel icky and if you’re like most people, then you probably never really put much thought into whether you’re really mopping them correctly or not.
Now this little tutorial today is going to be all about cleaning tiled or vinyl linoleum-type flooring. Your basic hard-working kitchen, bathroom, and entryway type of floors.
Of course, I have a little story to go along with it.
Back in the day, when I used to run a branch of a certain green-aproned coffee shop, we had tiled floors that got a lot of traffic and got very dirty. We spent hours trying to get them to look presentable, but the cleanliness level really wasn’t very easy to maintain, especially while keeping my labor budget in check! All you managers out there know what I’m talking about! One day we got a visit from the rep of the cleaning chemical company we used and he gave us a little lesson on how to properly clean floors. That moment changed my life! Well, the 10 minutes a day of my life that we spent on mopping and the 30 minutes or so a month that I used to spend explaining to my boss why the floors were always dirty-looking. This method really works!
How to Get Clean Floors
First of all, it’s called “slop mopping”. I know. You love it already, don’t you?
You start out by filling a bucket or your kitchen sink with hot water and some kind of cleaning solution. If you have a favorite, by all means, use that. A little dish soap and some vinegar does the trick just as well too!
*Edit!* Just a note about using the kitchen sink: If you do use the kitchen sink like I do, as with any time that you add unusual amounts of ick to it that may result in some kind of cross-contamination, be it rinsing out raw chicken in there or using it as a big tub of hot soapy water for spring cleaning your house, use common sense! Please make sure that you clean out your sink and surrounding countertops thoroughly afterwards to avoid unwanted contact with floor germs. I happen to use my kitchen sink for pretty much all my cleaning and so I’m constantly cleaning it out and wiping things down. A couple of lovely readers were worried about you, including a real, live Home Ec teacher, so I thought I’d better just ad a note. 🙂
Next, grab your mop! Despite all the new-fangled mopping gizmos out there, a classic cotton mop is still the best. It holds on to water and dirt, but it also lets it go. This is key! The great thing about these types of mops is that you can take the mop head off and wash it either in a washing machine or by hand and then dry it out really well. With some of the foamy mops, you never really know if they’re clean and you end up having to replace the heads more often because they get gross, smelly, and they spread the yuck around.
Here’s my mop! It’s new and I love it. That’s not weird, is it?
(Several people have asked about this mop. I can’t seem to find a link to the exact same mop but this one looks pretty similar!)
So next you’re going to dip your mop into your hot, soapy water.
Now, here’s where things get crazy, so stay with me. Normally you’d wring your mop out now and get to work, right?
No! Don’t do that!
Just let it drip out for a second or two…
…and then BLAMMO! Slop it on the floor!
See? I told you! Slop mop!
Now, you’re only going to work in small sections. If you have 12″ square tiles, that means only 4-6 tiles at a time.
Spread the water over that small area using only 3-4 swishes of your mop. In this step you’re putting the soapy water down and letting the cleaners do the work for you.
Next, go back to your sink or your bucket and wring all that excess water out of your mop.
My mop twists on itself to wring out, but yours may use an attachment on your mop bucket. Both work just fine!
Next you’re going to go back with your freshly wrung-out mop and pick that dirty water back up off the floor!
But here’s the key!
Only swish your mop back and forth about three times over that spot! Then wring it out and if there’s still more water to pick up, do it again! If you go over it more than three times, you’re just putting the dirty water right back down!
You’re going to get into a rhythm and this is all going to go much quicker than it sounds, I promise.
So then you just go all around your floor, putting clean water down and then picking it back up a few seconds later. In no time, your floor will be the cleanest it’s ever been!
Watch here for a full video demonstration:
The Resulting Clean Floors!
So pretty, right?
Now don’t worry if you don’t always mop your floors this way. It’s good to know for when you really need it, but if all you have time to do is toss down an old towel and skate around on it to get rid of the worst of the mess, sometimes that’s just fine too! 🙂 When you really need the white glove treatment and super clean floors though, you’ll have this one in your back pocket!
If you like clever cleaning tips, tricks, and hacks like this, check out my book The Cleaning Ninja! It’s full of all-new cleaning and organizing tips from front to back and it’s available now!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.