Can all floors be mopped the same?
Flooring can vary by material and sealant, meaning all floors cannot be mopped the same. Certain mops and cleaning solutions can ruin and damage wood, vinyl, and tile floors by breaking down the seal meant to protect the material.
Miller stressed the importance of finding out what kind of floor and seal you have before you start cleaning your floors. For those who are unsure what kind of flooring they have, Miller recommends having a qualified professional assess your floor and help you determine the best cleaning products to use.
A common way to damage your floor is by using too much water to mop, allowing it to seep into the flooring. In addition, store-bought floor cleaning and natural cleaning solutions like vinegar can break down seals over time making floors more susceptible to damage.
“For wood floor cleaning products that are neutral pH, some may have an alcohol base and isopropyl alcohol, which again, can cause long term damage to finishes if it’s used improperly,” Miller said.
When it comes to stains or tough spills, Miller shared that “mopping a floor is one of the best things [you] can do and damp mop with a little bit of water is usually sufficient for most products.” If you have a stain like wine or grape juice that won’t come out, Miller advises consulting a flooring professional.
What to look for in a mop?
While floors come in many different materials, Miller said that mop heads made out of microfiber are a good choice for a versatile and effective mop, especially for dry and wet mopping. “A good microfiber mop actually has a natural static charge to it,” he said. “So when you’re cleaning a floor, that static charge attracts dirt and debris and hair and lint and all that stuff.”
Miller added that using a microfiber head to dry mop floors every day can prevent damage from dirt, food, and other particles from being dragged across the floor.
Stapf said that microfiber mops generally hold less moisture, making them a good choice for preventing water damage to hardwood floors. “If you want to speed up the drying process, you can go over the floors with a microfiber sweeper or open the windows,” she said.
How often should a mop head be cleaned?
To keep your mop from spreading dirt and bacteria, Stapf said that proper mop head maintenance is important. “I recommend replacing a mop every three months — that is generally how long it takes until a mop begins to visibly look dirty,” she said.
While mops generally come with manufacturer instructions, Stapf recommends sanitizing the mop after each use and then allowing it to dry fully. To sanitize the mop head, rinse it out completely. Then combine a mixture of half hot water and half bleach in a clean bucket and soak the mop head in it for 15 minutes.
Cleaning instructions for mop heads may suggest air drying or drying on low heat, but Stapf shared that it’s important to let a mop head dry fully before using.
What is the difference between a steam and spray mop?
Steam mops use heat to release water vapor from the head while you mop, whereas a spray mop doesn’t use any heat and has a built-in dispenser for water or cleaning solution so you can spray liquid onto the floors while you mop.
Steam mops can get up to boiling temperatures and are ideal for sanitizing floors or cleaning tile or sealed laminate. However, Miller warns that steam mops can be damaging to certain floors. “We never suggest using steam on a wood floor; the steam mops are vapor water and that vapor water is forced into the wood, the open wood cells, and cavities and will damage wood and also damage finishes,” he said.
With a spray mop, you can control how much liquid you want on your floor depending on the amount of spray you use. Some spray mops may have a button you press to dispense liquid or a squeeze handle to manually spray the liquid.