The Art of Mopping: How to Clean Your Floors Effectively

Keeping your house clean is essential for a healthy and happy family. Sweeping and vacuuming will remove dirt from floors, but eventually you'll have to scrub. Mopping is the best way to clean vinyl sheet floors, vinyl tiles, and ceramic or porcelain tiles. Properly sealed woods or laminates can tolerate an occasional wet wipe, but scrubbing these floors with plenty of water is not recommended.

Dust, pet dander and other allergens build up quickly on our floors. By mopping frequently, you stop that build-up and, in the process, you keep allergens out of your home. For lightly soiled floors, cleaning just once with a damp mop may be sufficient. For heavily soiled floors, you may need to scrub twice. The first time, wet the entire floor (don't flood it, just leave it very wet).

Clean the edges first and then move them to the middle of the floor, with overlapping strokes in the shape of eight. When one side of the mop gets dirty, turn it to the clean side. When both sides are dirty, wash the mop in the bucket; otherwise, you'll spread dirt instead of removing it. If there is persistent soil left, remove it with a scouring pad before rinsing. You can also use two buckets, one for the cleaning solution and one for fresh water, to help extend the life of the mop water. When it comes to cleaning your floor, there are a few things you should do to make sure you get the most out of it.

Vacuuming is best if there are only hairs or dust on the surface while sweeping is a better option if you're trying to remove larger pieces of dirt or other products that may be difficult for the vacuum to remove. Use your favorite cleanser and plan to spend a little more time to scrub any stains that appeared throughout the week that didn't appear when you scrubbed them with warm water. Look for a bucket that can hold at least five gallons (if it's smaller, it'll be harder to wet the mop without making a mess), that has a built-in drainer if the mop doesn't have one, and wheels for easy cleaning; otherwise, you'll have to walk on freshly washed floors to get to your bucket or drag it with you while you mop. Continue your regular sweeping and mopping routine to keep your floors looking good until your next deep cleaning. Do it with a sponge and soapy water or with your favorite household cleaning solution (just make sure it's safe for your floor). Rinsing the mop regularly will prevent you from throwing out dirty water, so you'll need a second bucket of running water to submerge the mop after finishing each section.

For example, if you use a solution that isn't suitable for hardwood floors, you can remove the finish or, if you use a waxy cleaner on the tiles, it could leave the floors slippery or look hazy. If you take a walk down the cleaning aisle of your local store, you might be a little overwhelmed by the different mop options available. You'll also wonder if the excellent Shark steam mop you've read about will be a good fit for your floor, or if the best robotic mops or combinations of mops and vacuums will really make your life easier. While flat mops such as Swiffers are great for daily cleaning from dust and light dirt, only a good weekly wet clean with an appropriate cleaning solution and a mop can truly provide the deep cleaning a floor needs. If you've just started a regular mopping and cleaning routine, you may need to thoroughly scrub your floors twice the first few times to help get all of that stuff stuck in dirt loosens and comes off the floors. For home cleaning options, you can mix borax with water or mix two gallons of hot water with two tablespoons of Castile soap and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

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