How to Mop With a Bad Back

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To protect your back when mopping, use proper posture and technique.

Back pain can be acute, short-term or chronic. According to the National Institutes of Health, the pain can take the form of muscle aches, a stabbing feeling, impaired flexibility, or the inability to stand up straight. Many household tasks, such as mopping the floor, can cause back pain. If you already suffer from back pain, these chores can exacerbate the symptoms. However, if you take precautions and work correctly, you can protect your back when mopping the floors or performing other jobs that require you to twist or flex your back.

Things You'll Need

  • Long-handled fabric mop
  • Bucket with casters
  • Soap
  • Small container
  • Platform
  • Hose (optional)
  • Dolly (optional)
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Instructions

  1. Mops

    • 1

      Make sure the mop handle is long enough for you. You should not need to lean forward to hold the mop.

    • 2

      Hold the mop handle at a comfortable spot somewhere between your chest and hips.

    • 3

      Use a damp fabric mop rather than a string mop. They are light, effective, and eliminate the need for a bucket.

    Technique

    • 4

      Maintain correct posture when mopping. Stand with one leg in front of the other and slightly flex your front knee. You should also engage your abdominal or core muscles, which will stabilize and help support your back.

    • 5

      Use your entire body to move the mop instead of your arms and back. Transfer your weight to your front foot when you move the mop forward and transfer your weight to your back foot when you bring the mob back toward you. This way, your hips and legs absorb the strain rather than your back.

    • 6

      Use smooth, even strokes and keep your strokes fairly close to you. If you push the mop far from your body, you’re more likely to bend at the waist.

    • 7

      Pivot your entire body when you turn, rather than twisting your back.

    • 8

      Kneel on one knee if you need to mop underneath furniture. Place your feet about 10 inches apart, and then move one foot forward. Bend at your hips and knees to lower yourself to your knee. Though your chest may move forward, your back should remain straight. You may need to put your arms in front of you for balance. If you need to bend forward, stabilize yourself by putting your free hand on your knee or the floor. Reverse these steps to stand up.

    • 9

      Mop the area close to you before cleaning another area.

    Buckets

    • 10
      Keep buckets light to reduce back strain.
      Keep buckets light to reduce back strain.

      Fill your bucket one-half full, which will make it easier to lift. If you need more water in the bucket, use a small container to add the additional water. Alternatively, if it is possible, you can fill your bucket with a hose.

    • 11

      Make it easy to move the bucket. Either use a bucket with castors or place the bucket on a dolly.

    • 12

      Make emptying the bucket as easy as possible. Use a small container to empty some of the water. Place a platform in front of the sink and put the bucket on it. Tilt the bucket over the sink and pour out the water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take advantage of chemical cleaners, which will reduce scrubbing.

  • Keep buckets light enough to carry easily.

  • Switch your hand positions occasionally.

  • Do not twist from side to side when mopping.

  • You may need to clean your floors more often when using long-handled brooms than by cleaning on your hands and knees.

  • Even small jobs can cause back problems if you move incorrectly while completing them.

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References

Resources

  • Healthy Back Basics; Helmut Reichardt
  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

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