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Mopping do's and don'ts

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Mopping 101

Floors get dirty, fast. Because they’re tread upon by children, guests, pets -- you name it -- they're rife with germs and can stain easily. That’s where proper mopping comes in. Here are a few floor-cleaning do's and don’ts to help you make the most of your time spent mopping.

Woman mopping hardwood floor

Do:

  • Clear the area before you start mopping. There's no point in cleaning the floor if you have obstacles such as large pieces of furniture in the way.
  • Cordon off the area before you start mopping. Why let people dirty up the floor while you're still cleaning it?
  • Do a light sweep of your floors before mopping. Mops are great for getting up germs and dirt, but they don't necessarily sweep away large chunks of grime or dust.
  • Follow instructions. If you're using a cleaner to wash away dirt and grime, be sure to mix the product with the right amount of water. Too much water, and the product won't disinfect; too little, and the cleaner could strip your flooring of its natural sheen or leave behind a slimy residue.
  • Clean your mop's bucket. Wet buckets can be rife with germs and, if you leave them damp, may start to smell (which means the next time you use your mop, it'll smell, too). Rinse your bucket with a mixture of water and vinegar after every use.
  • Make a mopping plan. Never start mopping in the middle of a room. Work your way from one wall to another or from door to door so you can seal the room off to traffic until the floors dry.

Don't:

  • Mop hardwood floors. The water from the mop can warp the flooring.
  • Forget to care for your mop. Clean it regularly to rinse it of dirt and dust. Use vinegar to clean away germs in the mop's strands. Washing your mop will also ensure it doesn't deteriorate because of bacteria buildup. Store the mop upside down so excess water can drain from the mop's top.
  • Dump mop water down your sink. Mop water is full of germs and dirt, so the worst thing you can do is to dispose of it in a place where you're apt to drop a toothbrush. Dump it into a toilet or down your shower drain instead.
  • Leave the air conditioning on if you're mopping. Opening windows will increase airflow and circulation, which will help your floors dry faster.

More housecleaning tips:

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