Maybe someday you'll win the lottery, hire a full-time cleaning crew and vow to never lift a mop or broom again. Maybe. In the meantime, make mopping less of a dreaded task and more of a satisfying one by finding new ways to get your floors clean. Standing in the doorway admiring the way your freshly scrubbed floors shine in the sunlight is a gratifying moment – and you can take all the credit.
1. Try Laundry Detergent
Honestly, what did we do before TikTok? No social media platform has introduced us to more cleaning hacks. It turns out that there are a lot of self-taught cleaning experts out there who are happy to share their tips and tricks for getting floors clean. One mopping hack that TikTokkers have embraced, made popular by @momthatlovestoclean, uses 1 tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, a dishwasher detergent pod and 1 tablespoon of blue Fabuloso (an all-purpose liquid cleaner) dissolved in a bucket of very hot water. Supposedly, mopping with this mixture achieves a streak-free, residue-free cleaning for tile floors.
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2. Swap Your Mop
If you're still using the same mop you've been using on your floors for years, it's time to upgrade. (Just think about how much gunk has built up on that dingy mop head over time!) TikTok has gone crazy for the O-Cedar mop and bucket set, but you might prefer a mop with a built-in spray bottle and removable, machine-washable cleaning pads. It might even make sense to have more than one mop if your home includes more than one type of flooring. If you have hardwood floors in a very compact kitchen, you might want a mop with a narrow, swiveling microfiber mop head for that room as well as a bucket mop to clean the large expanse of tile floor that runs through the rest of the house.
3. Let There Be Light
It can be hard to get your floors really clean when you can't see which areas are really dirty. At least when you're cleaning your countertops, you can easily get down to eye level to look for crumbs or sticky patches you missed. You might not be able to see the debris that has gathered in the cracks and crevices under your cabinets or under a dining table. Some new floor mops are made with built-in LED lights, but you can also turn on a flashlight (or your phone's flashlight) and set it on the ground to illuminate the floor while you mop. You won't miss any patches of dirt or grime when they're lit up this way.
4. Make a DIY Floor Cleaner
Creating your own floor cleaning solution lets you avoid harsh chemicals and save money on cleaning products. This is yet another job for that trusty pantry staple: white vinegar. To make a simple mopping solution for vinyl, tile, laminate and most other noncarpeted floors, mix 1/2 cup of vinegar per gallon of warm water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to cut through the vinegar odor.
5. Pull Up Pet Hair Before Mopping
You love your furry pets. You really do. But you might love them just a little bit more if they would stop leaving their hair all over the place. Mopping a floor that's littered with pet hair sometimes just pushes the hair around, which is both frustrating and not an effective way to get floors really clean. Try using a dry microfiber mop or a rubber broom with a squeegee head to pick up pet hair from the floor before mopping with a floor-cleaning solution.
6. Mop Hardwood With Black Tea
The cleaning options for hardwood floors are limited since so many of the harsh chemicals that are safe for durable materials, like ceramic tile, could damage hardwood. Drenching hardwood floors with moisture could also warp them. Generally, the best way to clean hardwood is using a microfiber mop that's either dry or just barely dampened with cleaning solution. Freshly brewed black tea that is cooled to room temperature is a popular hardwood cleaning solution among cleaning experts.
7. Brighten Grout With Hydrogen Peroxide
Dirty grout in your floor tiles is the kind of thing that you might not notice for months. Then one day, you bend down to pick up something and wonder, "Has the grout always been this gray and gross?" Deep clean grout lines using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. The standard grout cleaner recipe is 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide and about 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Mix them in a squeeze bottle and apply the cleaner along grout lines. Let it sit for several minutes and then scrub it into the grout with a stiff brush. Rinse the grout with a clean, wet sponge or damp paper towels.
8. Wear Mop Slippers While You Clean
There are two good reasons to don mop slippers or mop socks before mopping your floor. First, the scrubby bits on the bottom of your feet should help loosen and lift dried gunk as you move around the floor, making it easier for your mop to whisk away this dirt. Second, it's pretty fun to slip and slide in socks or slippers with mop heads cushioning your feet. Take them off when you're finished mopping so you don't track one room's dirt into the next room and wash them before wearing them again.
9. Use a Paper Towel as a Dustpan
It's always advisable to sweep the floor before mopping. If you don't have a dustpan on hand or if your dustpan's edge doesn't sit flush to the floor, there may still be dirt and crumbs on the ground when you start mopping. Hopefully that stuff gets lifted away by your mop, but it might not. Make a DIY dustpan for small amounts of debris by dampening one edge of a paper towel. Press the wet side onto the floor and sweep dirt onto the paper towel. Fold the paper towel around the collected debris and use the damp edge to wipe up any remaining dirt.
10. Save Disinfecting for When It Matters
When you're looking for strategies to get floors cleaner, you might be tempted to grab bleach and kill every germ and virus that's lingering on your floors. In reality, most of us don't need to disinfect our floors every day or even every week (unless you have kids or pets who spend a lot of time playing down there). Use bleach or other floor-safe disinfectants if someone in your home is sick with an infectious illness and as part of spring cleaning each year. Otherwise, you can probably skip the bleach and trust that floor cleaners will get the job done.