So you want to get that floor clean. Mopping is simple enough, right? Well, there is more to mopping than one may think. When it comes down to the details, it can be a difficult chore just finding the right kind of mop, and how to master the job of mopping your area.
In order to mop a floor, you will simply need a mop, a bucket, and a good floor cleaner mixed with water. Now if you’re wondering what’s a good floor cleaner, I urge you to remember that a while ago I’ve covered the best cleaning products, so make sure to check that out. Important tip: you should wear rubber cleaning gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning chemicals.
Now, back to our business, you might wonder what type of mop you should buy. There are different units among which you can choose:
The yarn mop is a very common mop used in both households and for industrial use, and on basic wood or tile floors. It looks like a collection of thick strings or yarn hanging from a pole. You can choose either the mop with the loose ends, which will absorb a large amount, or the one with coiled ends, which will cover more floor space. Overall, yarn mops are considered to be highly absorbent. They do need to be disposed of, and replaced frequently, as they cannot typically be washed in a washing machine when soiled. There are however exceptions to this, depending on the manufacturer.
The Libman Jumbo Cotton Deck mop is rated high for its strength, heavy weight, and substantial cleanup. The Unisan Super Loop Wet Mop Head is also reviewed highly for its high absorbancy, ability to wash, as well as convenient handles.
The microfiber mop, like the yarn mop, has several thick strings hanging from the pole. However, instead of the yarn fibers, it is composed of polyester and polyamide. Although a little more expensive than the yarn mops, there are many reasons why you should spend a little extra. The microfiber mop is extremely absorbent, works great on the dirtiest floors, and also demands less cleaner and water. These are really great options for businesses, particularly those in health and child care, because the microfibers grip harmful bacteria to the mop (until washed, of course), preventing them to be spread around. Additionally, these mops may be washed hundreds of times without wear and tear.
I appreciate the Rubbermaid Commercial Pulse mop for its quality and reusability. If you need a more affordable price, you could also take a look at this commercial grade mop which comes with a telescoping handle.
The sponge mop is a sponge, which is either a flat rectangle or with a rounded bottom, that is attached via a metal gripper to the mop’s pole. There is usually a hinge attached, that the mop holder can pull, or a slider that when moved squeezes excess water and debris out of the mop. Sponge mops are lighter than the former mentioned mops, and easier to maneuver around the floor. They are usually less expensive than other mops as well. The sponge may be removed and replaced, depending on the product and brand.
A few well-known sponge mop units include the Libman Nitty Gritty Roller Mop and the Rubbermaid Sponge Roller Mop. Both types of sponge mops contain a pull handle for easy squeegee maneuvering, and the Libman also contains a scrub brush along the side of the sponge.
A dust mop can be used either after sweeping, or in place of a broom. Either way, a dust mop is meant to be used dry, and for dusting. The dust mop can either be used on a floor, or on other surfaces, such as ceiling fans, walls, pictures, or other hard to reach areas.
The Swiffer Dust mop continues to be rated high by its owners. This is because it is easy to use, placing the disposable cloths over the bottom of the mop, and throwing them away. These mops do a great job of collecting dirt, dust, as well as animal fur, on any bare floor surface. Another good unit of this type is the Libman Swivel Dust Mop.
Steam mops, as their name states, use steam as a complement to mopping, for sanitizing bare floors and for killing germs and bacteria. Now, there’s much to discuss over here and I’m not going to get into many details, as I would like to cover this topic separately sometime in the near future. Suffice to say you can either get steam mops, or you could take a look at some hybrid devices such as Bissell Symphony or Shark Vac or Steam.
As for the classic steam mops, Bissell and Shark are also pioneering this cleaning filed, by producing some of the best units out there. Bissell has come up with the Powerfresh Steam Mop, which is an impressive machine: it’s cheap, durable and powerful. Shark on the other hand produces the Steam and Spray Professional SK460 model, one of my favorites.
Steps to Mopping
First of all make sure you have all of your supplies. Now that you’ve picked the type of mop you would like to use, don’t forget the bucket with floor cleaner and water!
Don’t Forget to Sweep or Vacuum
Although this article is about mopping, not sweeping per se, it is important to note that a good sweep is necessary before you use a mop on your floor. Usually I sweep everything twice, making sure chairs are moved, tables swept under, and any toys or other objects on the floor are removed, in order to keep the space open for a nice clean mopping. If the sweeping is not done, or there are spots missed by the broom, the mop is going to get dirty faster, and, if not a microfiber mop, will spread dust, dirt, and other type of debris through the room. Vacuuming is also an option, for more info, you can check this hard floor vacuum list I’ve pulled together a while ago. So do not forget this imperative step or there will be no point in mopping in the first place.
The bucket should be filled with just a few splashes of your floor cleaner, up to 1 cup maximum. You can add then about a gallon of hot water. Be sure to use a special cleaner for wood floors if that is what you are mopping, a special cleaner for tile floors, and so on. After mopping for a while, the water will appear darker, and with less bubbles than before. This is when the water should be dumped in the toilet, the bucket rinsed out, and refilled again. It is a tedious, but a necessary part of the task, because, again you will be spreading dirty water all over the floor if the water is not changed when dirty.
The Act of Mopping
Mopping is kind of an art form. It may not take a genius to mop a floor, but it does take a little skill and experience. It will depend on the type of mop you have, as to whether you will move the mop in a circular motion, such as with the yarn or microfiber mops, or if you will use a push pull action, such as with the sponge or dust mops. However, the dust mop could really be used with either method. With any mop, take one section of the floor at a time, beginning in the cleanest area of the room, and moving to the dirtiest. Usually, a floor is most dirty at a main doorway entrance, or under and surrounding a garbage or recycling bin. Corners may also contain more rubbish due to misses during the last mopping. Once you notice that the water on the floor is starting to look anything less than clear, it is time to wring out that mop.
Wringing Out the Mop
On average, your mop should be wrung out about five to seven times in one mop session. This may sound like a lot, but it is just as important as changing the bucket water, and thoroughly sweeping before mopping, because the same problem will occur, as with the first two if you don’t wring, or squeeze the dirty water out of the mop (depending on your type of mop), rinse it, then dunk it back in the soapy water for a refreshed mop. Now that you know how important it is to wring out a mop several times during your mopping session, you may ask when this should occur. As a rule of thumb, it should be done when you have mopped at least 100 square feet. Otherwise, you can do it when the mop looks dirty, or when you notice that the water is splurging out a little brown, rather than the clear fluid you originally started with.
Don’t forget to also wring your mop out, and rinse it after you have finished mopping, so that it is nice and clean, and ready to be used for the next time. If it is not rinsed after you have finished, it may be too dirty to ever be used again, and will need to be disposed. Make sure you place any dirty mop head ready for disposal in a plastic bag.
Drying the Floor
The floor will need to dry before anyone can set foot on it again. If not, there will be nicely smudged footprints, whether the person is wearing shoes or not. That is because there is another object that likes to absorb debris, and that is our feet, and the cotton socks we wear. You can either allow the floor to air dry, or dry it with a towel. Just make sure that if you decide to use a towel, you are not tracking your feet on the floor, and the towel is washed immediately after.
Mopping Wood Floors
Here are some tips on mopping wood floors. First of all, only use cleaners meant for wood, such as Murphy Oil Soap, Pledge (multi-purpose), Orange Glo, or another specified hardwood floor cleaner. However, do not use furniture cleaners, such as Pledge furniture cleaner or Pledge wipes on floors. An all-purpose or tile floor cleaner should not be used on wood floors. Secondly, make sure to minimize the amount of water being used. Instead, spray a wood floor cleaner on the mop, or pour a little in the bucket, with only a little water, and wring out your mop until it is only damp. There should be instructions on the cleaning product, as a safeguard for the correct use of that products. So make sure you are following directions for different products.
Mopping Tile Floors
An all-purpose cleaner, as well as detergent, disinfectant, vinegar, or another acid based cleaner such as lemon, can be used to mop tile floors. A harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia are not good for your tiles because they can tint or break down the tiling. You can be generous with water for this type of floor, as in the instructions above, under The Bucket section. Spills such as juice, or other beverages need to be mopped immediately, in order to prevent being absorbed by your grout. This could create a foul smell, and damage to your tiles, as well as creating a stickiness that no one enjoys.
Mopping Bathroom Floors
Make sure you are still sweeping prior to mopping the bathroom floor as well. Dirt and other particles, as well as hair can accumulate in this room very fast. You do not want to be spreading this around with your mop. An all-purpose cleaner, vinegar, lemon, or even dish soap, are appropriate cleaning products to use for mopping the bathroom floor. See under the previous section, if your bathroom floor is made of tile. Ammonia or bleach can also be used, but it is very important that you only use a small amount mixed in your bucket of water. Never mix these chemicals, or any cleaning products together, as these can become very toxic to the environment, and inevitably to you. If there are windows in your bathroom, it is a good idea to keep these open during, and well after the cleaning session, for proper air circulation and quality.
Marble floors are pretty, but they are easily stained and damaged, so it is important to take special care of them. Like with tile floors, using harsh chemicals is a bad idea because they will cause damage to your marble floors as well. Make sure that spills, whether liquids or food, are cleaned up immediately, as it will only take a little time for stains to set in.
A marble cleaner or dish soap are best to be used for these floors. Vinegar or lemon juice should not be used for this surface, in order to prevent acidic damage. Use a softer mop to clean marble floors. Microfiber may be the best option, so you are not creating scratches when mopping. If scratching should occur, you can remove it by gently rubbing the scratched area with a warm, wet, and soft washcloth. Marble should be dried with a soft towel rather than air drying, so that stains are not created by mopping puddles.
Well, I hope I’ve covered most of the mopping “technology” in this guide. One more thing I’d like to add: you can buy some of the mops presented above directly from the links provided, or from just about any convenience store out there. Before you do that however, make sure you read my guide on buying appliances from big retailers. If there’s anything I’ve missed in this post, please comment bellow. Do you have a favorite mop? Or a special mopping technique? I’d love to hear about it!