How to Dry Mop a Floor

Lisa Maloney

Dry mopping, also known as dust mopping, is one of the most effective ways of cleaning a hardwood floor if used often. It's essentially sweeping, but instead of using a broom, you use a woven fiber or microfiber cloth attached to a long handle by a swiveling head.

The dry mop is wielded in much the same way a sponge mop would be, and if used regularly, it will prevent the accumulation of heavy soil.


You might be more familiar with the dust mop or dry mop as Swiffer products. While Swiffer is not the only brand to produce dust mops, it is one of the most visible.

  1. Start in one corner of your hardwood floor. Drag the dust mop or dry mop toward you, then push it away, working in straight lines and keeping its head in full contact with the floor.

  2. Work your way sideways to the far edge of the hardwood floor, continue to drag the dry mop toward you, then push it away. There's no need to apply pressure on the mop; let the friction of its head against the flooring do the work.

  3. Check the head of the dry mop for accumulated lint, dust and dirt. Peel any surface debris off the head with your fingers--you should be able to do this quickly--then take a few steps back.

  4. Place the mop just in front of where you were standing before you moved back. Resume your toward-and-away sweeping as you work your way back across the floor, sweeping dust off a section of floor parallel to the last section you worked.

  5. Continue to dry mop the floor in slightly overlapping sections until the floor has been completely swept. Check the head of the dust mop and clean it every time you reach the edge of the flooring. Do it more often if it shows signs of heavy soil.

  6. Rinse the head of the dry mop if it is of the reusable type--usually these are made of woven cloth--then hang it up to air dry. If the head of your dry mop is disposable--these are often made of microfiber--you can peel it off the mop and throw it away.