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Friday, May 22, 2009

Cleaning - Mopping the Floor 101

It has been a while since I had a cleaning blog. Today I'd like to talk about mopping a floor. I know you are thinking this is silly because mopping the floor seems so straight forward. However, from a look at your cleaning isle in a local supermarket - it seems that there is confusion and bad information for the local consumer.

It is getting crazy impossible to find a good mop at a store. For instance, at Walmart you don't find the good type of mop in the cleaning section - you find it in hardware. Yup, that is right in hardware. You need a great cotton deck mop to keep your floors clean.

You can find good mops at Lowels and Home Depot too. The mop I get is from Walmart - the deck mop. It has a great cushion grip on the handle of the mop. Of course I didn't get a picture of it. When selecting a mop - find a 100% cotton mop - very important.

First note - Of course you have to sweep the floor before you mop. If my customer has an animal or lots of girls or long hair, I sweep the floor with a broom and then "Swiffer" to get all of the hair off of the floor. I hate hair in my mop! :-) (I always sweep with a broom before I Swiffer - because the Swiffer is ineffective when debree gets on the cloth)
It is best to soak a NEW mop for about 1 hour before you are ready to mop. Squeeze all the water out of the mop and dispose of the soaking water. Then get clean water to start mopping.

Also a little tip with a new mop -- it is pretty thick and tough to wring out. Divide the mop into 2 sections and wring out each section individually.
I put Yellow - lemon - MR. Clean in my bucket. I do not like pine sol and the lingering smell. I like yellow Mr. Clean for the fresh cleaning smell and clean it provides me. For me, it's about the smell. I do not use vinegar. I am not a vinegar smelling house cleaner - but you can do it if you want on your hardwood floors.

On hardwood floors, I only use about a cap of Mr. Clean - not too much. Every once in a while I use Murphy's Oil soap floor cleaner - to put moisture back into the floor. On tile, laminate, linoleum, rock, cement - all floors I use Mr. Clean.
Wet the floor with a soaked mop. Tip, use less water on hardwood floors as the wood soaks it up and it is harder to dry.
Mop away..... Harder on really soiled spots. A cotton mop is very safe for your floor.. no scratching. Food and spills lift up with the wet floor/mop.
A super great thing about a cotton mop - it cleans the corners really well.
Close and tight against the wall. Sponge mops just push the dirt into corners and edges of the wall - they are a BAD thing. Continue wetting the floor and mopping until the floor has been mopped.
Now the most IMPORTANT step in the whole process of mopping a floor. It is the WIPING up and drying of the floor. The key to mopping the floor is really not in the mopping at all - it's in the DRYING and getting ALL of the water off the floor.
You have to squeeze ALL of the water out of the mop - and squeeze some more. Then you start mopping up the water - all of the water. It make take 3 to 5 times of going over the floor /squeezing out the water, going over the floor, squeezing out the water - until ALL of the water is off of the floor.
I pull the mop back towards me, back and forth. This way.......
And that way.. Backing up... Backing up.

Until every last piece of the floor is dry.

That is why you need a cotton mop- it absorbs the water off of the floor. That is why all of the other types of mops don't work- they can't dry and pull up every last piece of dirt off of the floor.

IF I purchase a self twisting mop, I still have to put my hand on the bottom of the mop and twist it a little bit more to wring it out as dry as possible.

DRY.... DRY..... DRY is the key. Most people leave some water on the floor or do not get into the edges, corners, in between each tile on the floor. They leave dirt on the floor that continues to build up over time.

You need to get every drop of water and the dirt on that floor up -- EVERY time you mop or it isn't clean. It will build up and your floor will look dirty.

Unfortunately, you can't find a good mop in the cleaning isles anymore... You have to go to the hardware department.... crazy... Who are all these people coming up with ways to mop the floor and teaching people how to do it ineffectively?

The good news is if your floors have been neglected and the dirt has built up - As you continue this process it will continue to get better and better as you go along. The dingy floor will be clean again. The Key is getting every last bit of dirt off the floor every time - by drying the floor.

I hope this has given you help and thought into the next time you mop your floor. Let me know if you have any questions.

13 comments:

Zoey said...

Funny - My mom has that same mop, but I am NOT a fan of wringing mops out by hand. Do you use rubber gloves all of the time???

Small House said...

Sondra, I have a sinking feeling that you could eat off your floors. I bet you have the cleanest house EVER!!! You can come visit me, but don't ask to use the restroom!! HAHAHHAHAHA

As usual, thanks for the tips! I really do like reading them, and then utilizing them in my home.
Have a great day.
Sandra

Ann Marie said...

I am grateful for your cleaning tips! I am always most curious to what cleaning products you use.

I am a REALLY old school girl cleaning the floors. I get on my hands and knees. I'm such a perfectionist, it has to be where I can see up close! :) I have never used a cleaner.. just soap and water.. I think I'm going to stock up on some Yellow Mr. Clean!

If I wasn't headed out of town today -- I would start on my walls! I can't wait for them to be CLEAN! :)

Thanks again for all of the time you put into these cleaning posts! I LOVE THEM!

Happy Memorial Weekend!

Janel said...

Hi Sondra,
Your cleaning posts are my favorite thing to read on your blog! I am in awe of how you clean and how clean your home looks! Hope you don't have to clean on Memorial Day...enjoy!
Janel in NJ

Janice said...

Wow, I have never dried my floors when I mop. I always let them air dry. My entire house is wood floor and I loath it. But, this mopping tip has helped.
This post reminded me of the Bill Cosby show when he was teaching Vanessa and I think it was Denise how to mop. So funny!!

Kimmie said...

VERY helpful post Sondra!!

For me mopping is the LEAST favorite thing to do and so my floors go WAY longer between moppings because I haven't been able to find a good mop and so I mop the good old fashioned way....on my hands and knees!!

I think I am going to go shopping and get myself a cotton mop! Such great, helpful tips!!

I'm a very clean person, but my kitchen floor doesn't always show it. (HOWEVER, I do sweep my kitchen floor twice daily and vacuum my carpets everyday as well.)

Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend and I just hope you know how much I enjoy the things that you post about and how VERY helpful that they are to me!

Connie said...

How exciting to see a post on mopping the floor. I didn't know you could get the good mops in the hardward dept. I HATE to use a mop because I've always had the kind that push the dirt in the corners. I'm heading to Walmart on Monday because my floors need some GOOD mopping and I'm tired of being on my hands and knees!

wendy said...

I have one of those micro fibre mope things --what do you think of those?? and I have laminate floor and was told you use nothing but water on it----I can use Mr. Clean?

Sondra said...

Zoey, No I don't use rubber gloves. But I should.. My hands are definitely working hands. Not a good hand shaking hand - very manly unfortunately. I don't like rubber gloves. I like to feel surfaces as I clean - I'm weird like that :-)..

Janice - Bill Cosby.. Giggle.. That was great.

Wendy, The Micro Fiber Mops are not my favorite. When my customers get laminate or new wood floors they are all freaked out about using these mops and nothing but water. My goodness.. How did our mother's ever get by back in the old days? I don't use a lot of Mr. Clean on these floors - about a cap full per bucket of water. I think you need some type of cleaning agent to get the bacteria off of the floor - from every where your shoes have been.

I always wonder when people are told to use these "Special" type of products when they get new floors - it's to sell a certain type of product. People are ripping carpets out of old homes and the wood floors are still in good shape. They may have to sand them and fix them from the carpet nails-etc. but they last and last.

Those micro mops are a pain to me. You have to take off that covering and rinse it out. It pushes the dirt like a sponge mop into the corners and edges. When I have a customer who makes me use it - I just cringe. It makes the job sooooo much harder - and I don't really feel like I ever get it clean.

OK.. I've written another blog here. I hope it helps... :-O

Robyn said...

I always love your cleaning tips. I have hard wood floors and was told by the company only to use vinegar and water- I don't like the smell either. I have heard that you can put in smelly oils to cover up the vinegar smell- have you ever heard anything like that?

Sondra said...

Robyn. Blah to the company. Use water and a little bit of Mr. Clean. Read my comment above.

Walking on the wood floor is going to hurt it much more then using water and a bit of Mr. Clean.

Never heard of the oil stuff... Not too sure about that - oil would make it slick and you could fall... Doesn't sound like a good alternative.

We; grandma and me - NEVER use vinegar.. yuck!! It will be OK not to use it. And every once in a while use Murphy's Oil - to put moisture back into the floor.

I've been cleaning now for about 7 years the same clients. Their floors still look great. What more can I say. The important thing is mopping and getting the dirt off the floor - which aids in the wearing of the floor (the dirt). Keep it clean and it will last a long long time... just like the floors from the 1950's still are going on and on.. Wood floors are durable.. I don't know why everyone is soooo freaked out about taking care of them... ?????

I'm pretty opinionated - huh?? giggle... :-)

Sharon said...

I am somewhat of a germaphobe, so when it comes to mops, I'm kind of grossed out about mopping up floors with a mop, and then using that same mop again in a few days. That's the only reason I've ever done a microfiber mop. Could you tell me how you clean your mop *AFTER* you're done mopping floors? Also, how often would you recommend to buy a new one?

Sondra Murray said...

Sharon, when I feel like my mop is dirty I put it in a bucket of hot water with Clorox in it and let it soak, then rinse and squeeze out the water. I shake out the mop head to store it so that it drys without an odor. I've found that if I store it after I squeeze out all the water and don't shake the strands loose, it takes longer to dry and will smell - so shake out the mop head and store it mop head up until you are ready to use it again.

I replace my mops monthly, but I mop a lot of floors every week.

Luckily you can get a cotton mop at Walmart for under $5 - especially if you are a germaphobe - it's not expensive to switch it out often.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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