Washing advice

How to Use a Mop for Effective Home Cleaning

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Use a Mop for Effective Home Cleaning

Sweeping and vacuuming hard floors can only do so much, so if you want to remove the dirt and stains which are left behind you'll need to use a mop. It is used by professional cleaners and is the best option for clean and shiny floors. It might seem easy enough, but allow OneHowTo.com to tell you our helpful hints and tips to optimize your mop use and effectively eliminate dirt to keep your home clean and your family healthy.

You may also be interested in: How to mop laminate flooring without streaking

Steps to follow:


A mop is a cleaning tool that is commonly used for smooth floors. It is usually used to remove dirt and dust particles that adhere to surfaces and cannot be swept away. Generally, if you have a large coverage of dirt (such as sand, mud, foliage, etc.) a mop is not advisable. The mop will only really manage to move the dirt around. As you try to clean harder by applying more pressure on the handle, you run the risk of scratching or damaging your floor. To clean this dirt, it is best to vacuum or use a traditional broom.

How to Use a Mop for Effective Home Cleaning - Step 1

There are various kinds of mops made from different materials: viscose, microfiber, cotton and polyester being a few. You might want to use a different material according to the surface you wish to clean. For example, microfiber mops are ideal for wood surfaces whilst cotton types are good for tiled floors. Choose a mop head that's most suitable for your floor - more volume for rougher surfaces and less volume for smoother surfaces. There are also disposable mops which allow you to trap errant hair and dust with their static.


Normally, to use a mop to clean dirt that accumulates on any surface, you have to soak it first. You don't necessarily have to use a cleaning product as warm water alone is advisable for delicate surfaces which night not react well to abrasives. If you use a disposable mop, you will not need to moisten it beforehand. You will probably need to first sweep or vacuum the floor to make sure you get rid of surface dirt. Pass your wet mop over the floor in a zigzag pattern or in figures of eight. This is best for rag mops, but sponge mops work better in vertical lines like you would do with a vacuum.

Try not to lift your mop from the floor to prevent debris from falling. Rinse and squeeze your mop regularly, but make sure it is not too wet or too dry. If it is too wet you might make more of a mess than you started and being too dry can make it ineffective. To best clean with a mop, leave the area as tidy as possible and free of obstacles such as furniture, curtains, rugs or anything that hinders the task.

How to Use a Mop for Effective Home Cleaning - Step 3

Once you have finished mopping, or when too much dirt has accumulated, set your mop aside. You might see piles of dirt which have not been picked up by the mop, but you should now be able to sweep them away as mopping has loosened them. It is a good idea to vacuum the mop itself to remove the dirt which has accumulated on the strands. This means you won't move more dirt around as you continue cleaning.

Like how you would wax a car, it is best to wash it again with some floor polish applied directly to the floor. This means your floor is not only clean, but sparkling. Take care if you have small children or pets as you don't want them coming in contact with harmful cleaning agents.

How to Use a Mop for Effective Home Cleaning - Step 4

A dry mop is very versatile to clean the most inaccessible corners of the house, like the corners of the walls or ceiling. Use it to remove any dust and cobwebs. Always remember that the mop must be clean to avoid dirtying the wall. If you have white walls, do not use a coloured mop as this can sometimes add marks to bright surfaces. Be careful when you store your mop. Do not leave it in a bucket of water to fester. If you want to be thorough, wash your mop head in the washing machine between uses. Avoid using fabric softener so that it does not lose its absorptive capacity.

For more ideas on how to best clean your home, read our article on How to Use Ammonia to Clean.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Use a Mop for Effective Home Cleaning, we recommend you visit our Home cleaning category.

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How to Use a Mop for Effective Home Cleaning