The Best Way to Mop a Floor

The best way to mop a floor is to use the right mop and cleaner to get the job done. In a very short period of time, floors become covered with a layer of dirt and grime. Bare floors require regular mopping to clean up behind high traffic and settling dust particles.


Clear your floor. Pay special attention to the room's corners and along the walls' baseboards. Sweep under the furniture, moving them when the broom cannot reach underneath.

Gather your cleaning supplies--the mop, bucket and cleaner. Fill your bucket with very hot tap water (to cut through any grease or sticky films of dirt), or use a very large stock pot to boil your water, if your tap water does not get very hot.

Floor Cleaners

Use an all-purpose floor cleaner to mop your floors, or use a homemade mix to clean the floors. To a 5-gallon bucket, add 1/4 cup of baking soda (acts as a neutralizer), 1/2 cup of vinegar (cleans and cuts through grease), and 1 tbsp. of liquid soap (extra cleaning power). Then, for fragrance, add five to seven drops of essential oils, such as orange, lemon, lavender, peppermint, sage and ylang ylang.

Wet Mop

Traditional wet mops work are preferred for non-wood floors. These mops have rope fibers that resemble a head of hair when turned upside down. If this is your preferred mop, it is a good idea to use a bucket with a mop-wringing attachment that squeezes out the water once the lever is pulled down.

Dip and wring out the mop, then place it onto the floor. Apply a little pressure to the mop as you push it back and forth in front of you, then side to side, in an "S" pattern. Flip the mop and repeat, then rinse, squeeze and go over the area to pick up the last dirt. Move on to the next section and continue until the entire floor is clean.

Sponge Mop

Sponge mops work well on linoleum, wood and tile. These mops provide maximum control over your coverage area--where the mop goes is what it cleans. Yet, these mops have less surface areas to lift and trap dirt.

Squeeze the wet sponge mop then push and pull it across the floor in an "M" and "W" pattern. Rinse, then go over the area again. Rinse and continue onto the next section, repeating until the entire floor is clean.

Steam Mop

Steam mops offer an alternative to the traditional mop-and-bucket method of cleaning. They typically just require distilled water--water without chemicals or metals to build up in the machine--and with a flip of the switch, steam is generated to heat and wash away dirt residues or germs on the floor.

Purchase a steam mop that uses washable pads that can be used repeatedly. Steam mops leave less water on the floor, and the heat of the steam actually speeds up the drying process.

Where to Start Mopping

Start at the farthest corner of the room from the entryway, and mop your way out of the room and not into a corner. This will eliminate excess traffic across your clean floors as they are drying. When the area nearest the door is dry you will know that the starting point and the rest of the room is dry as well.