How to Mop Floors Without Causing Damage

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Mops are a tremendous tool to keep your floors clean with. Using both water and and heavy fabric, this tool can be used to clean all sorts of hard floor surfaces. However, there are several risks that come with using a mop, and you need to be aware of them so you don’t cause damage to your floors. 

Know Your Floors

Mops are great tools to clean floors with, but you need to know exactly what kind of floor you’re dealing with first. Here is a quick overview of common flooring types, and what you need to pay attention to so you don’t damage them:

  • Tile is the least susceptible to problems, but you still need to make sure to pick up the correct mop for this type of flooring. You can make use of steam to get a deep clean.
  • Linoleum and Vinyl requires a little bit more care, as these surfaces aren’t thick and durable. However, because it is a plastic makeup at the end of the day, you have less risk from water exposure. 
  • Laminate flooring is tricky, especially given the many different types available. You have to be careful of the thin, top layer that laminate has, as you can’t scratch it. 
  • Wood flooring is the toughest to use a mop on, and you have to very very careful not to let water pool or stand as you go about your cleaning. 

Sweep First

A vital step that you have to take is to make sure you sweep your floor first, prior to mopping. If you don’t take this step, you run the risk of damaging your floors, no matter what type they are. 

Over time, dirt and dust builds up on your flooring surface. While dust wouldn’t be that damaging, dirt and rocks can cause serious damage if they aren’t picked up prior to mopping. 

Without sweeping your floor first, you’ll run the risk of grinding the dirt into your floors. This can chip, stain, or even scratch your flooring permanently. 

This dirt can also scratch the protective surface that your flooring has on it. For example, if you have sealed hardwood floors, little pebbles that are dragged around by a mop can cause damage to the sealant. This will leave your bare wood exposed to the elements and future dirt. 

So, before you get out the mop, make sure you sweep your floor. You can also use a vacuum cleaner, provided you can make sure that the dust roller is off. 

Don’t Use Too Much Water

For wood, laminate, and vinyl flooring, it is vital that you don’t use too much water while mopping. You want a damp mop, not one that is soaking wet. 

Water is truly the enemy of wood, so it’s important that you keep water off of the flooring as much as possible. You never want standing pools of water, either before or after you mop. 

While not as important, this is still a good rule of thumb to follow for tile flooring. While tile should be able to stand up to the water, you might have cracks or broken areas in your grout where water can seep under the flooring. 

Wring your mop out really well so that it doesn’t have too much water in it, and you’ll be in great shape. This will allow there to be little enough water on the floor surface to dry quickly. 

Don’t Use a Steam Mop on Wood

We already said that water is the enemy of wood, and steam would be an even bigger enemy. Steam mops heat the water to anywhere between 120-200 degrees, allowing it to penetrate areas that water can’t typically get to. 

Unfortunately, that means that steam will work its way into the unsealed areas of wood even better than water, leaving your wood floors vulnerable. 

While steam cleaning is a really powerful and quick way to clean floors, you need to avoid it for hardwood. There are just too many risks to damage for your hardwood flooring.

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