The Right Way to Mop a Floor

by BrendaReeves

Mopping a floor may seem like a no-brainer, but amazingly many people, even housekeepers, need a bit of schooling in this department.

Mopping Products

Every time I see a commercial promoting a fancy mopping device I cringe. One mop requires that you attach special disposable sheets to it. We see the happy housewife giving the floor a few easy swipes. Another commercial demonstrates a machine that steam cleans your kitchen floor. You're wasting money if you need to buy those mopping sheets or an expensive machine to mop your floor.The main problem with both of these products is that the floor doesn't get clean.  The dirt just gets shoved around. If you're happy just giving a surface appearance of a clean floor, by all means use these products. However, if you want a truly sanitary, clean floor that your toddler can crawl on, learn to do it the right way.


  • Mop
  • Two buckets of clean water
  • Dish liquid 
  • Broom
  • Dustpan

For best results use either a rag-type, cotton mop or a sponge mop. Use separate mops for the kitchen and the bathroom. There's also the option of getting down on your hands and knees and cleaning the floor with rags or sponges;  many fastidious housekeepers do this. Liquid dish detergent is really all you need, but if you have a favorite product that you like, use it. I like to use earth-friendly household products.

Getting Started

Firstly, remove all chairs, trash cans or anything else on the floor. Sweep the room with the broom and be sure to get the corners of the room. Sometimes it's hard to get the dirt out of the corners. You can spray it out with canned air, like you use on your computer. An old toothbrush works well, but if that doesn't work, sweep it out with your fingers. I've had to do this on occasion.


Squirt a little dish detergent in one bucket of water. Dip your mop in the water, wring it out and begin mopping. Each time you need to rinse the mop, do so in the second bucket and then dip it in the bucket with the dish detergent. This keeps the washing water as clean as possible. When you're finished, rinse the buckets out and fill one up with water again and give the floor one more rinse.

A good scrubbing like this once a week, with sweeping and running a damp mop over the floor as needed, keeps the floor looking great. .

Ceramic Tile Floors

Ceramic tile floors need extra care due to the grout that gets dirty. You could scrub the grout with an old toothbrush, but you can buy a tool for doing the job faster. Large grocery stores and stores like target or Walmart sell it. It looks like an electric toothbrush but heavy duty. This gadget sells for about $35. However, I got one at Walmart in the auto supply department, and it only cost around seven or eight dollars. That, my ladies, is a good example of how we are charged more for products than men are charged.

Other Efficient Ways to Mop the Floor

Those of you reading this may have other efficient ways of mopping the floor and that's fine. Several months ago I saw Kirstie Alli on Oprah. She said she used to work as a housekeeper. A lady trained her to get down on her hands and knees and scrub. She then shined up the floor with cheap vodka. Kirstie recommended that you get the cheapest vodka you can find. The alcohol sanitizes the floor, but remember it's not for drinking.

Updated: 01/30/2013, BrendaReeves
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LadyGuinevere on 02/17/2012

LOL I just mopped my floors before I read this. I have cats and 1 of them likes to use the kitchen floor for her bathroom. I just found that none of my 4 vats like the scent of the Lemon scented Pinesol. I use that now.

katiem2 on 02/15/2012

I like the way you think. I like using a cotton mop and the old fashioned bucket. I have one of those that wring the mop out, like janitors use. I love it! I will put your tips to good use, I have tile and hard wood.

2uesday on 02/14/2012

I have ceramic tiles in my kitchen and they are much easier to mop and keep clean than the vinyl floor covering we had in the past. This page gives good advice for anyone struggling to find the best way to mop a floor.

TerriRexson on 02/14/2012

Very useful. I had a cleaner until recently and I've been experimenting with the best way to mop my engineered wood floor. I seem to make it slippery and then visiting kids slide all over the place. (My own kids seem to adjust pretty quickly.)

Meagan on 02/14/2012

I like the two buckets approach Brenda. I have never done this but will next time as it makes perfect sense! And I agree vinegar and water does the job nicely! Thankfully I only have a small space to mop as like Angel I am not very keen on it!

BrendaReeves on 02/13/2012

I haven't heard that, but it makes sense. Vinegar is great for cleaning.

MuminBusiness on 02/13/2012

I love this. Just mopped my floor today and somehow it was stickier than before I did it - Have just bought some fancy floor cleaner and it is not working! In the end I went over the floor with water to get rid of the stickiness and now i have a lovely floor. I wish I had read this first, would have avoided the time and money wasted. Thanks for writing this useful article.

Angel on 02/13/2012

You are so right about there being a method to mopping. I have always hated to mop and therefore don't think I do a very good job. My grandmother would roll over in her grave if she knew how bad of a mopper I was! What about wood floors? I have heard to use white vinegar and water. Have you heard that or done that?

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