How to wash floors

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The Smarter Way to Mop Your Floors

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You’ve just grabbed the mop to clear up a spill or wipe away the day-to-day dirt, but will you actually make your floors dirtier by using this cleaning tool? If you’re left with dingy flooring no matter how much you clean, you may be breaking the first rule of mopping: Vacuum first, mop second. Without a clean sweep or vacuum job, mopping a floor covered in dust, dirt, and hair simply spreads the debris around. If you’ve been making this mistake all your life, there may be a couple of other areas for improvement in your cleaning routine. So, once you’ve successfully incorporated this first step, try implementing the equally crucial components that follow, and your floor will be so clean you could practically eat off of it.

The Right Cleaner for the Job
It’s a common misconception that more soap equals cleaner floors. In reality, using too many suds leaves behind a sticky residue—and that sticky residue can trap more grime. Whether you opt for a homemade or commercial cleaner, choose the one that’s best for your floor type, and use it sparingly.

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• Hardwood: Check if your floors are finished with polyurethane or wax. If your floors are sealed with polyurethane, use a mild or pH-neutral soap with water. Avoid cleaning products (natural or commercial) with acidic additives, which can damage wood over time. If your floors are waxed, use a damp (almost dry) mop once a week at most—even a small amount of water may cause warping.
• Laminate: As is the case with hardwoods, less is more when it comes to water; you want to keep it from seeping underneath the laminate planks. Try damp mopping and spot cleaning, but never use a commercial floor cleaner with polish.
• Vinyl: One of the best cleansers for this floor surface is a solution of apple cider vinegar and water. Due to its acidity, vinegar helps remove dirt without leaving behind a buildup, and it disinfects at the same time.
• Linoleum: Not as resilient as vinyl, this floor surface requires a milder cleaner. Mix a few drops of dish soap with hot water in a spray bottle, and then spritz the surface section by section. Finish up by going over the floor with clean water from a dampened mop.
• Stone tile: Mop with a pH-neutral, non-chelating cleaner that won’t react with the minerals in the stone. Skip bleach, ammonia, and vinegar, as even small amounts could damage the seal on stone tile floors.
• Ceramic tile: White vinegar and water create an effective, odor-eliminating, nontoxic cleanser for this floor surface—great for households with pets and children.

Put It Through the Wringer
A string mop, or “yacht mop,” is what most people think of when they think “mop.” A sponge mop, however, is worth considering, depending on your flooring type. When choosing between the two, keep in mind that string mops absorb large amounts of water, so they require several rounds of wringing, while a sponge mop holds much less water, making it ideal for hardwoods and laminate flooring.

Once you choose your mop type, dip the mop in your cleaning solution so it’s immersed up to the top of the head. Let the mop absorb the cleaner, and then wring out as much moisture as possible. Remember, you want the mop damp, not wet. In some cases, as with hardwood floors, laminates, and linoleum, the mop needs to be wrung out numerous times until it’s almost dry.

Two Buckets Are Better Than One
Here’s a hygienic idea: Use one bucket for rinsing and one for the cleaner. By dipping the dirty mop into a separate rinse bucket, you can wring out the water without contaminating the detergent bucket with whatever debris was picked up. When the water in either bucket gets too dirty, replace it, but don’t just dump the old batch down your kitchen sink. Mop water is full of germs and dirt, so dispose of it down the toilet—not in the same vessel you’ll use to rinse off your chicken and vegetables during tonight’s meal prep.

Wipe in the Right Direction
As you would if you were painting a floor, begin mopping in one corner of the room and work your way back toward an exit to avoid stepping in the area you just cleaned. Just as important, pay attention to the pattern in which you push your mop, For hardwood floors, swipe in the direction of the wood grain; for floors with a more textured surface, wipe in small figure eights. If you come across some stubborn spots that just won’t get clean, go back over them with some cleaner and a cloth after you’ve completed a full pass on the floor.

Air It Out
To ensure a germ-free mop the next time you clean, after its hard day’s work, soak your mop head in a mixture of bleach and water to disinfect it. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse and wring out the excess water. Never leave your mop sitting in the bucket to dry, or you’ll risk the formation of bacteria and mold in the leftover moisture. The simple preventive step of squeezing out every last drop should make your cleaning routine easier and cleaner the next time you pull out the mop.

Why Regular Mopping is Good for Your Floor

We all know that we’re supposed to sweep and mop the floors regularly, but do you know exactly why you should do this? Frequent mopping has some common sense benefits, as well as some surprising ones that you might not know about. Here are a few reasons why you should break out the mop bucket the next time you’re cleaning the house.

It Sanitizes

Our floors are a lot germier than we might think. They’re exposed to everything that touches the bottom of our shoes while we’re out and about, as well as pet hair, dropped food, and a host of other messes. With all of this, the germs build up fast, especially during cold and flu season. Regular mopping is important in keeping your home sanitized. You can use a store-bought solution, or you can also use a mixture of water and white vinegar– both will do the job. A clean floor translates into a house that’s cleaner overall, and a clean house means a healthy and happy family.

It Reduces Allergies

Dust, pet dander, and other allergens accumulate quickly on our floors. By mopping frequently, you’re stopping that buildup in its tracks, and keeping allergens out of your home in the process. If you’re suffering from watery eyes and a runny nose, don’t run to the doctor just yet– your house might just be overdue for a good cleaning, and mopping can help reduce your allergy symptoms in a big way.

It Can Prevent Scratches

Mopping your hardwood floors with the appropriate cleaner is an important part of your routine for keeping them scratch-free. Over time, debris builds up on the floor, and that debris can cause tiny scratches in your floor that can take hold and eventually become big eyesores. Keeping the floors clean will reduce your risk of accumulating these scratches.

It Makes Floors Look Their Best

If it’s been awhile since you last mopped, you might have forgotten what a truly clean floor looks like. You’ll be surprised at how different your home looks after the job is done. It might even inspire you to mop more often (and let’s be real, we could all use that extra push, right?). With all of the benefits of regular mopping that we’ve talked about here, we’re sure that you’ll take that initiative to stay up to date on your cleaning schedule.

You probably already have all of the ingredients needed to make your homemade floor cleaner. This mopping solution gets your wood, tile, laminate or vinyl just as shiny and streak-free as the commercial stuff without introducing irritants to your home.

That’s one of the great things about homemade cleaners: you don’t need a lot of different products that only clean one kind of surface. So, once you’ve got your standard cleaning ingredients on hand, it’s easy to mix up a variety of homemade cleaning products.

The Best Homemade Floor Cleaner

Safer for Indoor Air-Quality

Commercial cleaning products contribute significantly to indoor air pollution. For people with allergies or asthma, indoor air quality is critical to good health.

Companies that manufacture cleaning products aren’t required to disclose their ingredients on the label. As a result, there’s no way to tell at a glance whether a product contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may cause irritation or even cancer.

Switching to homemade natural cleaners lets you know exactly what you’re using in your home, so you can avoid dangerous combinations. (Here are some common cleaning products you should never mix.)

Easier on Your Budget

If that’s not enough to convince you to switch to a homemade floor cleaner, consider how much money you’ll save. The cost of commercial floor cleaners is crazy!

Using a Swiffer mop, for instance, runs about $0.32 per wet pad — and you have to use two or three of them in even a small kitchen or bathroom. Even bottles of commercial mopping products run anywhere from $4 to $15, depending on the brand.

Over time, those expenses add up. Cleaning shouldn’t cost a fortune, and it doesn’t when you use this homemade mopping solution.

Homemade Floor Cleaner for ALL Hard Flooring

This homemade mopping solution cleans any kind of hard flooring.

✓ It works on laminate.
✓ It works on hardwood.
✓ It works on vinyl, linoleum, and tile.
✓ Yep, you can use it on marble or granite.
✓ It even works on cement!

Have I mentioned that, after powering through grime, it also leaves a gorgeous shine?

It Works With Mopping Robots, Too!

I’ve written before about my search to find the best floor cleaning robots. One of my requirements was being able to use a homemade floor cleaner.

After spending that kind of money on a robot, I didn’t want to be stuck buying a special floor cleaning solution or wet mopping pads all the time.

I’ve been using it in my mopping robot for over two years now, and I’m thrilled with the results.

Homemade Floor Cleaner Recipe

What the Ingredients Do

  • Water: Loosens grime and acts helps the other ingredients combine.
  • White vinegar: Degreases and provides mild disinfection. At this dilution, it’s safe for natural stone surfaces because it’s not acidic enough to cause etching. I’ve been using this on marble and granite for years without a problem. If you have any concerns, don’t use it.
  • Isopropyl (70%) rubbing alcohol: Speeds up evaporation to avoid streaks. Degreases and helps disinfect. (In the UK, if you can’t find it inexpensively at the chemist it’s available online.)
  • Liquid dish soap: Dissolves bonds between dirt and floor, degreases and cleans. Don’t use a dish soap that contains moisturizers, antibacterial ingredients, or “oxygen bleach.” I use Dawn Original (Classic). (Fairy is the UK substitute.) Please don’t swap Castille soap for the dish soap. Castille is an oil-based soap and will leave streaks and smears.
  • Essential oils: Optional ingredients to offset the smell of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. If you have pets or children, verify the safety of any essential oil you use. Be sure they aren’t compounds (i.e., those with fragrance added to grapeseed or some other form of oil). I buy these from Amazon.

Remember, there are reasons for using the specific ingredients in this homemade cleaning recipe. If you change them, you’re changing the formula, and that may alter your results.

Homemade Floor Cleaner

Course: homemade cleaner Keyword: homemade cleaner Prep Time: 2 minutes Total Time: 2 minutes Servings: 22 ounces Inexpensive but powerful mopping solution that cleans all types of hard floors. Works on wood, tile, laminate, vinyl, even marble, and stone.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup isopropyl (70%) rubbing alcohol
  • 1/8 tsp liquid dish soap (See notes)
  • 5-10 drops essential oils optional

Instructions

To Use in a Spray Bottle

  • Add all of the ingredients above and gently swirl to mix. Lightly spray 3-foot sections then wipe with a mop. This is best for small areas or touch-up mopping.

To Use in a Bucket

  • Scale the recipe depending on the size of your bucket. A 1-gallon bucket holds 128 ounces (US) to 160 ounces (UK). Use the “Serving Size” slider to select your needed amount. You may need to scale more than once to select your desired amount.

For Both Methods

  • You do not need to rinse after use.
  • Allow the floors to completely dry before walking on them.
  • Store unused homemade floor cleaner in a cool, dark spot. Use within 1 month.

Notes

Do not use a liquid dish detergent that contains moisturizing, anti-bacterial, or oxygenated bleach ingredients. Also, do not swap Castile soap for the dish detergent since it is an oil-based soap and will leave streaks.

More Homemade Cleaners

Here are some more homemade cleaner recipes to try.

  • Homemade All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
  • Homemade Window and Glass Cleaner
  • Homemade Floor Cleaner
  • Homemade Soft Scrub
  • Homemade Bathroom Disinfectant
  • Homemade Daily Shower Spray to Prevent Mildew
  • Homemade Soap Scum Remover (no scrubbing!)
  • Homemade Wipes
  • Homemade Furniture Polish
  • Homemade Granite Cleaner
  • Homemade Disinfecting Sink Spray

The Most Efficient Ways to Keep Your Floors Spick & Span

We’ve partnered with Miele to bring you smart tips for keeping your home fresh and clean. Want more? Check out Spring Clean Your Life, your one-stop shop for inspiration to spruce up your kitchen and home this season—and well beyond.

A sad fact of life: No matter how tidy you are, your floors, carpets, and rugs will get dirty. Between whatever you track in on your shoes, crumbs accidentally dropped from the kitchen table, the natural accumulation of dust, and so on, the floors in your home can get quite grimy. But a little maintenance goes a long way—especially if you attack that grime in the most efficient manner for every type of floor.

First up, a quick primer on different types of rugs and carpets. There are two main components to carpet: the fabric or fiber, and what’s called the “pile”—that’s how the fabric is looped or cut. The length of the loops or cut fibers are what determines whether a carpet is low-pile (short fibers) or high pile (long fibers). You can also get flatweave rugs, which have no pile because the fabric is tightly woven with no fibers sticking up.

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Depending on what type of flooring you have, here’s the best (and most efficient!) way to clean it.

Miele’s HomeCare Collection makes tidying up a pleasure. Photo by Rocky Luten

Flatweave rugs

Most flatweave rugs can withstand regular vacuuming on the front and back of the rug — check the care label or ask the manufacturer if you’re not sure. For delicate rugs, vacuum in small sections using a floor head with little to no agitation.

To tackle spills, spot cleaning is your best bet. Blot wet stains with a paper towel (and do not rub them, since this can cause the stain to bleed or set in). For tougher stains, spot clean using a mild detergent mixed with hot water.

Medium to high pile carpet

The most efficient way to clean this type of carpet is with a turbo or electric power nozzle. Typically, both nozzles have a standard rotating roller brush that cleans deep into the carpet fibers. Figure out which direction the weaving goes in by petting the carpet, and make sure to vacuum with the grain, rather than against it (this can cause breakage).

Shag carpet

Those shag carpets and really woolly rugs feel amazing to walk on, but can be intimidating to clean. (Especially since they can be easily ruined by over-zealous cleaning if you’re not careful!) For the deepest and most fail-proof possible clean, borrow or rent a steam cleaner (many hardware stores offer this service). But for regular, maintenance-type cleaning, you can use a straight suction floor nozzle and gently go over the rug. If your rug is small and you have some outdoor space, you can also take it outside, hang it up, and beat it with a broom handle to get rid of dirt and dust particles (as an added bonus, this is excellent for stress management).

Sweep or vacuum up crumbs (or regular wear-and-tear dust) before mopping hard wood and linoleum. Photo by Rocky Luten

Linoleum

As with other hard floors, the first step is to vacuum or sweep to get rid of dirt, hair, and dust. Then mix 6-7 drops of a mild detergent (dish soap is usually fine) with one gallon of warm or hot water. Use the mixture to dampen a mop, and clean the floor in sections. Make sure the mop is damp and not dripping wet, since standing water can damage linoleum. Once you’ve mopped, swap out the cleaning solution for cool water, rinse the mop, and go over the floors again with just water to remove any soapy residue. Finally, use a towel or cleaning cloth to dry your clean floors.

Hardwood

The best way to clean your hardwood floors depends on whether or not the floor is sealed. Not sure? Rub your finger across the floor. If you see a resulting smudge, the floor is probably unsealed, and you shouldn’t use water to clean it since this can cause the wood to swell and warp. No smudge? The floor is sealed, and it’s ok to use some water for cleaning.

First, dry mop, sweep, or vacuum with a soft nozzle to get rid of pet hair, dust, and debris. For unsealed floors, you should then use a specialized unsealed floor cleaner. For sealed floors, wet clean using whatever cleaner is recommended for your type of seal — if you’re not sure, a simple soap and hot water mix is a safe bet. Use a damp mop, not a soaking wet one, and mop in the direction of the wood grain. If a soapy film is left after cleaning, gently buff the floors with a dry cloth to remove the residue.

Tile

Make sure you regularly sweep or vacuum your tile floors to pick up surface dirt. Then use hot water and mild detergent to mop. And don’t forget to clean the grout — that’s the porous stuff between each tile, which can absorb dirt, grease, and other nasty stuff. You can seal grout about twice a year to stop dirt from penetrating it. Or, mix equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide, and really get in there (using a toothbrush) to scrub out stains. For a less intensive grout-cleaning option, apply a paste of baking soda and water. Leave it on overnight, rub it off the next morning using a nylon brush, and vacuum up the dried, flaked-off paste remnants.

More tips & tricks

Do you have any floor cleaning tips of your own? Share them in the comments!

Looking for a vacuum that works well for all types of floors? Check out the Miele HomeCare Collection to find the vacuum that is best suited for your needs.

The Correct Way To Clean Floors

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One of the biggest questions: “What’s the correct way to clean floors?” It seems everyone wants to know what the best method is for tile, wood, ceramic, laminate, and vinyl that won’t destroy the surface. But they also want to know the quickest and easiest method to clean floors because everyone just loves to spend all day cleaning, right?

Not this gal and I bet you’re like me and want to get the job done right the first time!

For this post, we’re going to focus on hardwood, laminate, vinyl, tile and grout.

Table of Contents

The Best Way To Clean Floors

The trick to super duper clean floors is to make sure the surface is free of debris. I know that most people sweep their floors before washing, but I don’t particularly like this method because sweeping typically doesn’t pick up all the crumbs and dust completely from the floor. Instead, I like to vacuum my floor before washing. I feel it does a far superior job than sweeping in picking up the particles and making sure all pet hair is off the floor.

My favorite vacuum hands down is the Sears Kenmore Progressive Elite. Its ease of use coupled with the terrific suction, makes this hands down the best vacuum out there.

Next, I’ll show you how to clean your floors the right way as not all floors should be cared for in the same manner. Not using the proper procedure could damage the floor and result in costly replacement.

Before we start we that, go and get your floor cleaning checklist in the Free Resource Library!

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Hardwood Floors:

With wood, the secret is knowing that the floors are sealed and what they are sealed with. Knowing how they are sealed will dictate how to clean them. But if they are sealed, less water is the best, so I never wash them with a steam mop or water and bucket method. Instead, what’s best for these types of floors is a refillable or microfiber mop like the Bona. While many people love the ease of a steam mop, it’s not recommended for hardwood floors. If you don’t have a refillable or microfiber mop, a damp microfiber mop will work too. Just use a spray floor cleaner and spray and wipe as you go.

Unfinished or Bamboo Floors:

If you have unfinished, waxed, or bamboo hardwood floors, the best approach is to use a barely damp (with water) microfiber mop pad. Always check with your manufacturer’s instructions first.

What about scratches?

If there are scratches that stand out after cleaning the hardwood floor, simply take a crayon the color of the floor and rub it on the scratch to fill the gap. Turn a blow dryer on high, heat the area where the crayon was applied and buff it with a soft cloth. Another great way to cover small scratches in hardwood is using Rejuvenate twice a year. I always did this to my hardwood floors in spring and fall and my floors looked fantastic.

Laminate Flooring:

One of the biggest issues with laminate flooring is that commercial cleaners leave behind a sticky residue that makes the floor dirtier and dirtier because it attracts dirt and dust back onto the floor. For cleaning, laminate use my simple DIY cleaning recipe. Just mix equal parts of white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, water and several drops of your favorite essential oil like thieves, or peppermint. Five ounces of each of the three ingredients with five drops of essential oil will fill an average size spray bottle or refillable mop.

Laminate and water don’t mix so you’ll want to use this in a spray format instead of mop and bucket.

Enjoying this cleaning article? Here are more you might enjoy!

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Vinyl Flooring:

Almost any commercial product will clean vinyl flooring effectively. The key is to use a system that removes all the dirty as opposed to just moving dirty water around your floor. If you don’t, over time dirt can settle into the crevices in the floor and make the floor look dull and dirty. If your floor is already at this point, use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Mop to get the floor super clean and then keep using it regularly. It will make your vinyl look practically brand new.

Ceramic-Tile Flooring:

Ceramic-tile floors can be cleaned easily with nothing but warm water. Never use a sponge mop to clean ceramic tile floors. It will pull the dirt right into the grout tracks. This makes the floor harder to clean over time. A micro-fiber mop picks up all the dirt that a sponge mop leaves behind.

Deep Cleaning Tile and Grout Floors:

It doesn’t take long before grout in between tile can show dirt and wear especially when it is in high traffic zones like kitchens, entryways, and mudrooms. There are several different approaches that you can take to deep clean both your tile and grout. Here are two of my favorite cleaning methods for tile and grout: a) Use a portable steam cleaner and with the small nozzle attachment and then let the machine do its magic and steam those grout lines and tile. The dirt just comes right off. No solution needed. You may be able to use a steam mop as well but not if it’s super dirty. b) My second favorite cleaning method is mixing 7 cups water, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup vinegar. Spray the concoction onto the dirty grout, let sit for 5-10 minutes, and scrub with a brush. Sparkling grout awaits.

How to Handle Streaks and Residue:

Here are a few tips to manage streaks and residue on floors. If you are using a microfiber pad, make sure to dampen it before starting and rinse often when washing the floors. If you have streaks with a steam mop and cleaning the mop head frequently doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to use distilled water (purchase by the gallon at your local grocery or drug store). If you have hard water, the minerals in your water may be contributing to streaking and residue on your floors.

Cleaners:

When it comes to what brand or formulation of floor cleaner I recommend, I would have to say you should try out a few and find the one you like best. Some people love making their own cleaners while others prefer the pre-mixed, ready to go options. If you prefer the convenience of pre-made cleaners, there are many options to choose from. My favorite brands for performance and safe ingredients are Bona and Method. All of these are ready to use – simply use the spray and mop method or pour into your refillable mop and clean away. Using the proper method depending on the type of floor you’re cleaning is so important. The last thing you want to do is to damage your clean floor and have to embark on costly repairs because you used the wrong products or methods. Using these tips and strategies will ensure your floors are clean and well maintained all year long. Any special products you love to use to clean your floors? I’d love to hear about it. Let me know!

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How do you Disinfect Hardwood Floors?

Did you know that a floor contains plenty of germs and bacteria that are dangerous? Pet mess, spillages and soil from outside are the major source of household germs and bacteria. Such microorganisms find refuge in dirt, grime and debris.

General routine of cleaning a wooden floor mainly helps in removing, dust grime, and loose soil from the surface but does not keep such unsighted microorganism at bay. Therefore the need to find other ways of disinfecting your wood.

Microorganisms that live on the surface of the floor can be destroyed by using antimicrobial agents. While there are many types of such products, most of them may not be suitable on a wood floor due to their harsh ingredients or toxic nature. Example is bleach and Lysol.

Household bleach is an example of an effective agent for disinfecting hard surface floors but cannot be used on a wood floor. Bleach has detrimental effects on wood floor and should not be used. Lysol is another commonly used anti-microbial cleaning agent in homes but not suitable for hardwood floors as well.

Lysol manufacturers recommend leaving it to stay wet on the surface for at least 3 minutes for effective killing of viruses and bacteria. It is dangerous to leave anything wet on the wood floor surface. Liquids and water based solutions easily destroys the floor boards or wood planks.

Therefore, how do you disinfect a hardwood floor? Disinfecting your wood floor on a regular basis helps in destroying bacteria, germs and fungus. This creates a safe environment for the occupants. To protect the elegance and beauty of your hardwood floor, you will need to use appropriate disinfectants that does not utilize harsh chemicals.

There are two commonly used methods for disinfecting sealed wood floors naturally. Steam cleaning or use of white vinegar solution. The methods utilizes natural ingredients and hence no worry about harsh chemicals. Since the methods are water based, you will have to be extra careful. Water and wood floor should not see one another.

Disinfect using White vinegar and water

Distilled white vinegar is natural and non-toxic cleaning agent that is suitable for disinfecting hardwood floors. Its acidic nature makes it effective for killing pathogens. To use vinegar on hardwood floor:

  1. Use a microfiber cloth duster or vacuum to remove dust and loose debris from the floor. A microfiber cloth is suitable for trapping and collecting dust and fine debris that can act as a sand paper on your floor.
  2. Mix ½ cup of distilled white vinegar with one gallon of water in a bucket. Do not apply vinegar directly without diluting with water.
  3. Dip a mop into the solution and wring out completely. This is avoid chances of water puddles on the surface.
  4. Damp mop every part of your floor including corners. Rinse and wring out frequently to dispose off bacteria and collected soil.
  5. Dry the hardwood floor surface using a dry soft towel to remove any moisture film or standing water.

Distilled white vinegar solution is the best DIY cleaner for hardwood floors that removes dirt and grime as well as killing bacteria and fungus. It is cheap and readily available. Being nontoxic, it is safe for pets and humans unlike most chemical cleaners that contain harsh and toxic ingredients that are harmful to the environment.

Incorrect use of vinegar and water on hardwood floors worries most flooring experts. That is the main reason they discourage against using it. To avoid floor damage use the right concentration, only ½ a cup per gallon of water. Wring your mop as much as you can to prevent any water from standing on the wood floor surface.

Too much water on wood floor makes it swell and warp. When water spills accidentally, always be ready to mop it out. Before using any water based solution or liquid on a hardwood floor, ensure it is properly sealed. Although water will still penetrate through the seams and minor opening if left standing for long.

Disinfect by Steam Cleaning

You can use a steam cleaner to sanitize your floors. The high temperature of steam naturally kills bacteria and household germs. The method purely uses water and therefore regarded as natural. Do not add any cleaner or chemical in your steamer.

Most wood floor manufacturers discourage home owners from using steam. Incorrect use of steam can greatly damage your wood floor. Before you steam a wood floor surface, ensure that your floor is properly sealed. Set your device to produce dry steam that has little amount of water for faster drying.

Protecting Wood Floor from Bacteria and Germs

Most bacteria and germs enter our homes through soil carried under the shoes or pet paws. Removing your shoes before entering the house is important. It also prevents the sand and soil from creating scuff marks on the surface.

Creating area rugs in high traffic areas such as door entrance, kids and pets play areas helps in protecting your valuable hardwood floors.Always place a door mat at both sides of the entrance.

Wiping your pet’s paws on the mat at the entrance also minimizes chances of bacteria on your floor. You should also groom your pet well by bathing her regularly. Immediately remove pet mess such as poop from the floor if it accidentally happens and clean the area.

Note

Before using any product on your wood, ensure you have read the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. Also, perform a test on a small hidden area of your floor.

Conclusion

Hardwood floors can remain beautiful for decades if properly cared for. This is mainly through regular cleaning and use of safe products and methods. Water based cleaners should be used carefully to avoid standing water that can damage your wood floor.

If you love a clean floor, but hate the chore of mopping, TODAY Home is here to help.

Don Aslett of CleanReport.com offered his advice to help us mop like a pro. With more than 50 years of experience in the cleaning business, he’s got it down to a science.

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The best mop to use

When Aslett first went into business, his favorite tools for mopping were a string mop and a bucket. For years, that’s how Aslett and his workers cleaned floors. In fact, if it weren’t for the discovery of one item, he’d probably still be using a string mop today.

Since the invention of microfiber, with its thousand-plus fibers per square inch, Aslett has changed his style. He now uses a mop that has a reusable microfiber pad instead of strings.

O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop Cleaning System, $30 (usually $38), Amazon

“I haven’t found anything that cleans better than a microfiber pad mop,” Aslett said. “It picks up dirt fast and easily and does the job without bulky buckets.”

Just be sure to use the microfiber pad best suited for each type of floor, he adds. Hardwoods and laminates clean easily with a short loop microfiber, while tile floors need longer fibers — or “noodles,” as Aslett describes them — to reach down into grout.

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Find the right cleaning solution

  • For string mops:

Aslett recommends an easy cleaning solution: a quick squirt of dish detergent in a bucket of water. “Dish detergent is made to cut through grease and grime. Just don’t use too much or the floors will be dull.”

  • For microfiber pad mops:

The best part about mopping with microfiber is that you only need plain water and a small amount of your favorite cleaning solution, which often saves money.

How often should you mop?

To put it simply, you should mop when the floor looks dirty. For small households, this may be every other week; for households with kids and pets, it may be once a week or more. Aslett suggests using doormats at entry doors to keep floors cleaner for longer. Makes sense!

How to mop

Start with a floor that’s well swept, vacuumed or mopped for dust. Otherwise, you’ll be pushing food, dust bunnies and who knows what else all around the room.

  • String mop method:

For lightly soiled floors, wiping just once with a damp mop may do the job. For heavily soiled floors, you’ll likely have to mop twice. The first time, wet the entire floor (don’t flood it, just get it good and wet). This will loosen the dirt and any sticky goo. Mop around the edges first, then move to the middle of the floor, using overlapping, figure-eight strokes. When one side of the mop gets dirty, turn the mop over to the clean side. When both sides are dirty, wash the mop in the bucket; otherwise, you’ll be spreading dirt around instead of removing it. If any stubborn soil remains, remove it with a scrubber before rinsing.

To rinse, go over the floor with a mop dampened with clean water. Rinse the mop frequently and don’t let the rinse water get too dirty.

Pro tip: Place a quarter in the bottom of the bucket. When you can no longer see the quarter, it’s time to change the water.

  • Microfiber pad method

Wet the microfiber pad and wring it out well. To attach it to the mop head, drop it onto the floor with the microfiber side down. Then position the mop head over the pad. The pad will quickly adhere to the head because of the Velcro-like hooks and loops. Now you’re ready to mop.

Using a spray bottle, spray a small section of the floor with cleaning solution and mop. When the pad starts leaving behind traces of dirt, it’s time to rinse it out in the sink. Each pad should usually clean about 500 square feet before needing to be washed, depending on what’s on the floor. Sticky residue may require more frequent rinsing. Mop in a overlapping pattern back and forth. That’s really it! Just mop, rinse the pad and repeat. There’s no bucket or wringing out needed.

This article was originally published on July 20, 2017.

Wondering what’s the best mop? Cleaning floors is not the most exciting task, if we’re honest, but it can be made much easier (and even a little bit pleasurable) with a mop that glides easily, reaches under furniture, and lasts a good while.

The new generation mops on our list, by contrast, are light, easy to use and feature replaceable or washable heads, spray mechanisms, and clever microfibre that really picks up the dirt properly.

Using anything from dust mops to spray mops, your floors will be gleaming in no time. Need more advice on buying? Jump straight down to tips on how to buy the best mop.

What is the best mop to clean floors?

We think the best mop you can buy is the Vileda Easy Wring and Clean Turbo Microfibre Mop and Bucket Set, however, if you’re after a spray mop, we think the 1-2 Spray Mop, also by Vileda (let’s face it, they rule the world of mops) is a good choice.

These are the rest of our top picks, below. Keep scrolling for the full reviews.

QUICK LINKS TO BUY THE BEST MOPS
  • Best string mop: Vileda Turbo Microfibre Mop and Bucket Set
  • Best spray mop: Vileda 1-2 Spray Microfibre Flat Spray Mop
  • Best steam mop: Shark Klik N’ Flip Steam Pocket Mop S6001UK
  • Best sponge mop: Casabella Original Mop
  • Best robot mop: iRobot Braava Jet 240
  • Best dust floor mop: Libman Freedom Dust Mop
  • Best versatile floor mop: Vorfreude – Floor Mop with Integrated Spray
  • Best eco friendly floor mop: E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop
  • Best floor mop for wooden floors: Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop Kit
  • Best floor mop for hard-to-reach areas: Oxo Microfibre Spray Mop
  • Best floor mop for absorption:: Vileda Magic Mop 3Action
  • Best plastic free mop: Full Circle Mighty Mop

The best floor mops

1. Vileda Easy Wring and Clean Turbo Microfibre Mop and Bucket Set

Best string mop: a mop and bucket set that doesn’t flood your kitchen floor (finally!)

Specifications

Type: String/spin mop Mop head: Microfibre Extra features: Bucket

Reasons to buy

+Triangular-shaped head+Easy to wring out

Reasons to avoid

-A little flimsy

Inexpensive and convenient, the Vileda Easy Wring and Clean Turbo Microfibre mop and bucket combo is perfect for getting any mopping job done.

What we like about it
The bucket comes with a spout which makes it easier to empty, and the foot pedal aims to make it super easy to dry the mop out so you don’t end up soaking your floors, and once you’re finished, mess is minimised. Not only is it simple and reliable, but the triangular shaped microfibre head is designed to make it easier to reach corners and pick up 20 per cent more dirt than a standard cotton mop head.

What we’re not keen on
The mop handle does feel a little flimsy, but in terms of longevity, there’s nothing to worry about.

Things to note
The head is easily machine washable or you can purchase an additional mop head whenever you require it. It also comes with the bucket included which features a water indicator to prevent overfilling.

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Vileda 1-2 Spray Microfibre Flat Spray Mop

Best spray mop: a great all-rounder ideal for everyday mopping

Type: Flat/Spray mop Mop head: Microfibre Extra features: None +Affordable but durable+Heads are machine washable -We can’t think of any!

The Vileda 1-2 Spray mop offers the very best in spot cleaning your hard floors: robust, durable, and easy to operate, it’s the best floor mop for everyday spray cleaning.

What we like about it
It’s durable, makes an easy job of cleaning and it has a handle that acts as a trigger to release cleaning solution so you can target tough stains for maximum impact. The microfibre pad lifts dirt off the floor rather than pushing it around and is machine washable. The water cartridge is located near the handle, making it very easy to refill, and the pivot mechanism allows you to easily clean corners and under furniture.

What we don’t like about it
Nothing! We love everything about this mop.

Things to note
While it doesn’t come with any extra features, this mop is affordable and very robust, so we can’t really complain. We’ve had ours for two years running and it’s still going.

3. Shark Klik N’ Flip Steam Pocket Mop S6001UK

Best steam mop: the Klik N’ Flip cleans (and steams) your floors quick using zero chemicals

Type: Steam mop Mop head: Microfibre Extra features: 2 mop heads +Sterilises with no need for harsh cleaner +Easy to set up and use +Great for stubborn messes and allergy sufferers+Eliminates 99. 9% of common household bacteria -Only 15 minutes per tank

If you’re not keen on using harsh chemicals or you simply don’t want the additional expense, this steam mop uses water to sterilise your floors.

What we like about it
It takes just 30 seconds to heat up, it requires no cleaning solutions, is ideal for allergy sufferers and the microfibre pads that come with it are double sided. Ideal if you want to clean your kitchen and bathroom at the same time but don’t want to use the same pad to do so. You can use it on all sealed hard floor surfaces from marble to laminate and also tiles, and it has a steam blaster mode to tackle those stubborn stains with ease.

What we don’t like about it
If you’ve a large area to clean (or want to deep clean), 15 minutes may not be enough charge. Just something to think about. Also it’s corded so be sure to check that there’s a plug socket near your wherever you’re cleaning (in the bathroom can sometimes be a pain to get to).

Things to note
A steam mop is suitable for using on most floors regularly, but to be on the safe side, should only be used intermittently on limestone or marble. Always check that the product is safe to be used on the type of flooring you have.

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Casabella Original Mop

Best sponge mop: looking for a mop to help you clean tough stains? This Italian sponge mop will do the job

Type: Sponge mop Mop head: Sponge Extra features: n/a +Rust resistant+Great at getting tough stains out+Durable+Not too heavy+Wrings out lots of water -Doesn’t come with a bucket

With an easy-wring handle and a super absorbent (and replaceable) 10 inch sponge on the end, this Casabella mop is an oldie but a goodie. We think it’s is one of the best floor mops if you regularly deep clean.

What we like about it
First of all, it’s made from steel so is both durable and rust resistant. Secondly, it’s super easy to wring out, as oppose to other wring-style mops that basically require a workout to rinse water from the head. And thanks to its spongy head, this mop picks up dirt and wrings it out with help from its heavy-duty lever, giving you peace of mind that you’re not just spreading it around your home. It also makes the mop head as dry (and as clean) as possible after each use, meaning your floors will dry in no time.

What we don’t like about it
There’s no spray mechanism and it doesn’t come with a bucket.

Things to note
It doesn’t come with a change of head (they can be reused but eventually they’ll break from wear and tear due to the fact they’re sponge). Other than that, this fuss-free mop is amazing.

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. iRobot Braava Jet 240

Best robot mop: Hate mopping? This robot can do the job for you

Type: Robot mop Mop head: 2 types: cloth or microfibre pad Extra features: n/a +Knows to avoid rugs and carpeted areas+Can get into corners+Not noisy+Works with 3 types of mop heads – single use or reusable+Lightweight+Can dry mop, too+Small, so easy to store -Water needs topping up-Needs to be charged-Expensive for a mop

The iRobot Braava Jet 240 is the design to go for if you don’t want to spend time mopping your home. To get the mop ready, all you have to do is fill up its water tank, pop in a mop head (either a single use or microfibre version) and you’re set. The mop works by using a mixture of vibration and pressure to clean floors.

What we like about it
We’re fans of pretty much everything about this mop – especially the fact that it’s very easy to operate. Once on, it will use its intelligent software to adjust how much water needs to be used, and how many vibrations are required to clean the floor type, which could be hardwood, tiles or stone. Spilled coffee? Using its jets, the machine can tackle the stain with ease.

The thing we love the most is how the machine knows where furniture is, and how to avoid it. You can select certain areas or rooms for it to stay away from, too – for example, the area near the dog’s bowls. The last thing we’re going to rave about is its battery life. It lasts for a whole two hours from one single charge so it can mop all you need it to in one go.

What we don’t like about it
There really isn’t anything we don’t like about this robot mop, but we’re very aware that the price tag doesn’t suit everyone. Stack its cost up against that of getting the cleaning done for you, though, and you might think it’s worth the investment.

Things to note
It does need to be charged, but it’s simple to do as the battery is removable and can be plugged into a wall socket.

6. Libman Freedom Dust Mop

Best dust floor mop: a large dry mop which is great for picking up dust and debris

Type: Dust mop Mop head: Microfiber & Nylon Extra features: Comb +Reusable up to 100 times+Comb reaches dust in tricky areas -Not for wet cleaning

Mops don’t always require a bucket of soapy water. If you’ve got pets that leave their hair everywhere, then the Libman Freedom Dust Mop is a great way to quickly and easily pick up all those hairs.

What we like about it
This mop is for dry use only, but is especially good if you have a large surface area that often needs cleaning. It’s easy to use and clean, and the detachable comb allows you to get to those hard-to-reach areas that end up getting very dusty. What more could you want?

What we don’t like about it
It can’t be used wet, so you’ll need another mop for wet cleaning too. Just something to think about if you’re tight on storage space.

Things to note
You can reuse this head up to 100 times.

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. Vorfreude Floor Spray Mop

Best versatile floor mop: a reusable mop with a lifetime guarantee, this can be used as a spray mop, a steam mop or a dust mop

Type: Flat/spray mop and dust mop Mop head: Microfibre Spray mop Extra features: Cold steam clean +Use wet or dry+Reusable+Lifetime guarantee+Comes in three different colours+Bottle is BPA free -More expensive than our other spray mop

Designed to provide a cold steam clean for your floors with its spray head, this versatile mop can be used with plain water or a cleaning solution, or dry as a floor duster.

What we like about it
The microfibre pad aims to pick up dirt dust and hair in one easy motion, and the pad is reusable time and time again. It can also be used wet or dry for your convenience. It comes in three different colours if you’re concerned about style, and it can be used to clean wood and vinyl floors too. If you don’t get on with traditional mops, this is a great space and time saver for the home as it’s two in one.

What we don’t like about it
The only thing we will mention is that the price of this mop is more than our best spray mop, the Beldray LA032133TQ Refillable Microfibre Spray Mop, just something to think about.

Things to know
It comes complete with two cleaning pads and a pad renewer brush to help revive old-looking cleaning heads.

8. E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop

Best eco friendly floor mop: a chemical-free mop that just needs water to work

Type: Flat mop Mop head: Microfibre Extra features: N/A +Choose from two head cloths+No need for chemicals but still removes 99% of bacteria+Handle extends -Some may prefer to use product

Looking for an eco-friendly mop? Your search is over. This E-cloth Deep Clean Mop requires no chemicals to leave your floors sparkling, just water to wet the microfibre mop head.

What we like about it
The mop itself is made from durable, lightweight aluminium and it has an adjustable handle spanning 1.5m for those hard to reach places. Said to remove over 99 per cent of bacteria from your floors, it’s also recommended by Allergy UK. You can also buy different mop heads to use on it to save space storing another item. Those who have pets should opt for the duster mop head, which removes dust, fluff and hair from hard floors with ease. Eco-friendly cleaning at its finest.

What we don’t like about it
We personally don’t mind not using cleaning products as it’s better for the environment, however, we can imagine there are some people who prefer using products for peace of mind that bacteria is being killed/eliminated. Also, it doesn’t have a spray mechanism which makes your job slightly harder.

Things to note
You’ll need to either purchase a bucket for water or a spray bottle and use it at the same time. Just something to think about price wise.

9. Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop Kit

Best floor mop for wooden floors: a refillable spray mop to keep wooden floors shiny

Type: Flat/spray mop Mop head: Microfibre pad Extra features: Floor cleaner included +360 degree swivel head+Reusable +Comes with cleaning solution -Only takes Bona cleaner

The Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop is specifically designed to clean your hardwood, laminate or other wooden flooring with care.

What we like about it
Not so much the mop itself, but the solution it comes with needs its own shoutout as it’s pH neutral, non-streaky and non-dulling. However, the two do work hand in hand. Both can be used on (sealed or unsealed) laminate, hardwood and even French-polished floors to keep them looking as good as new. The pads are also machine washable. Not only is it easy to use thanks to its trigger which sprays the solution on the area that needs cleaning, it’s great value for money, and worth it because it makes such a mundane chore completely stress-free.

What we don’t like about it
This mop is best used with Bona Wood Floor Cleaner, and the only downside is the fact that it can’t be purchased in high street shops. However, it’s worth noting that you could fill the bottle with your own cleaning product if need be, but that kind of defeats the point of purchasing the mop essentially. Also, you can bulk buy the cleaner in 4 litre bottles for an affordable price.

Things to note
This product comes with 850ml of Bona Wood Floor Cleaner included as well as a microfibre cleaning pad. Also, we feel the need to mention the fact that it has been used to clean places such as Westminster Cathedral, The British Museum, The National Gallery and Edinburgh Castle before. Also, they also sell another mop called the Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Floor Spray Mop which is ideal for those who have several types of flooring around their home.

(Image credit: Amazon)

10. OXO Microfibre Spray Mop with Slide-Out Scrubber

Best floor mop for hard-to-reach areas: a dual function mop that even gets to hard to reach areas

Type: Flat/spray mop Mop head: Microfibre Extra features: Handy two-in-one function +Clever design+Easy to clean hard-to-reach areas+Slimline design -Not the cheapest option available

Designed with dual functionality, the OXO Microfibre Spray Mop is just what you need to clean various floors surfaces, including those areas that are often considered hard-to-reach.

What we like about it
Its large, microfibre pad makes everyday mopping easier than ever, while the Slide-Out-Scrubber is perfect for tackling tough stains. To use, you simply fill the bottle attached to your spray mop with your floor cleaner of choice, squeeze the handle and mop away; there’s minimal effort required.

What we don’t like about it
While we can’t complain about the price as it’s still affordable, this mop is still more expensive than our other spray mop picks, most probably because it’s two mops in one, essentially.

Things to note
Looking for something to keep your wet room clean? Try OXO Good Grips’ Extendable Tub and Tile Scrubber.

11. Vileda Magic Mop 3Action

Best floor mop for absorption: a quick fix for accidental spillages or to have in a wet room

Type: Sponge mop Mop head: Sponge Extra features: Spare head +Comes with spare head+Tear resistant foam -Small -Needs bucket or bowl

Mopping up spillages doesn’t have to be so tricky/messy with this Vileda easy-to-handle sponge mop.

What we like about it
This highly absorbent mop is ideal for tiled floors and features 3D flocked material in order to maximise particle pickup and remove any stubborn dirt. The sponge can easily be wrung out and the heads are interchangeable as and when you need to replace them. It’s efficient, Mrs Hinch loves it and it’s great value for money. The size of this mop also makes it ideal for smaller homes as it is easy to store away.

What we don’t like about it
It doesn’t come with a bucket or bowl included.

Things to note
Nothing, it’s pretty basic and has no-frills.

(Image credit: Amazon)

12. Full Circle Mighty Mop

The best plastic free mop

Type: Microfibre mop Mop head: Microfibre Extra features: Recycled and eco0friendly materials +Bamboo handle+Washable microfibre head

Been scouring the web for plastic free mops (that also work well)? The Full Circle mop is the solution.

What we like about it

Firstly, the eco-friendly credentials: the handle is made from bamboo, which is a sustainable and biodegradable material. The head attachment is made from recycled plastic, and the microfibre head is machine washable. Users report that it’s easy to use, lightweight, and works particularly well on wooden floors.

What we don’t like about it

It’s a shame that the manufacturer couldn’t find a way to avoid using plastic altogether. Also, the mop has a long handle that isn’t adjustable, which some people might find a little uncomfortable.

Things to note

This mop is all about effortless gliding; we don’t advise putting too much pressure on it, as the bamboo handle might snap.

How to buy the best mop

There are lots of different type of mop. The more complex the design, the more you can expect to pay for it. Also factor in that some need the heads replacing. Here are the main types of mop:

  • Flat mops or spray mops, have a spray mechanism inside; they feature either a reusable or one-use pad to clean with.
  • String mops tend to be made of cotton, are durable and some come in spin versions to wring out as much water as possible, but they require a bucket.
  • Sponge mops are good for getting into tiles and normally feature a wringer mechanism to ensure you don’t soak your floors.
  • Dust mops require no water and can be used to clean walls, lights and furniture.
  • Steam mops are the best option if you’re after something to help you deep clean, however they do come at a higher price.

Which material?
When you’re looking for the best mop, check the material of the mop head. The most popular choice is microfibre, as it’s soft, hygienic and fast drying. Some mop heads are slightly abrasive and are made from stainless steel, plastic or microfibre. While these are excellent at removing stains and embedded dirt, they shouldn’t be used on limestone or marble as they’re too abrasive. Sponge is also a good choice as it’s breathable and absorbent, and works well on flat untextured flooring.

Does it require a bucket?
If you’re after a quick and easy-to-use mop, it’s best to steer clear of ones that require a bucket. Instead, opt for a spray mop for a faster finish; these mops-without-buckets also cut down on the amount of storage space you need to keep them – all you need to do is fill up the bottle with hot water and your chosen floor cleaner, attach it to the mop and you’re away. Most mop heads are washing machine friendly too, giving them longevity (and, for you, cleaner floors), but do check first.

Weight
Important if you’re less able or elderly, some mops can be weighty when loaded, so weigh that up (sorry) when you’re buying. Note: spray mops might be heavier than classic mops, but you won’t have the weight of the bucket to lug around.

Extra features
Some mops come with a free bucket, some extra heads or other accessories you may reach for when cleaning your home. If they don’t, then be sure to check how much replacement heads cost before you buy.

What is the best type of mop to use on hardwood floors?

Your best option for hardwood floors is a mop with a microfibre head such as the Beldray LA032133TQ Refillable Microfibre Spray Mop, the Vorfreude Floor Spray Mop or the E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop. This is because microfibre soaks in water and other liquids a lot more easily and quickly than other heads, and one thing you don’t want to do is soak your hardwood floors.

What is the best mop to clean laminate floors?

A spray mop is definitely the best choice for cleaning laminate floors. This is because laminate floors aren’t generally water resistant, and a spray mop lets you control the amount of water used when cleaning. We suggest the Vorfreude Floor Spray Mop, the Beldray Spray Mop, the E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop or even the iRobot Braava Jet 240.

What is the best mop to clean linoleum floors?

The key to washing linoleum floors, much like others, is to not soak them. Using the Vileda Easy Wring you can make your mop head as dry as you like. Another good option for linoleum floors is the E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop.

How often should I mop my floors?

Other sites may say you only need to mop your floors once every two weeks, but we say, do it whenever it’s needed. It’ll depend on whether you have pets, children and how many people come in and out of your house a week, after all. If you’re looking for a number, our tip is to mop your floors once a week, or after each time you vacuum. Of course, some weeks you may want to clean twice if have people coming over. We get it.

How often should I replace a mop?

That’ll depend on how often you use yours, and whether the mop head is replaceable or detachable and washable. If the mop head is replaceable, discard yours after about six to eight months of use – sooner if you clean very often.

After a while, your mop will just be redepositing dirt and bacteria back onto your floor. IF you have a detachable, washable head, pop it in the wash every month or so, and discard after two to three years of use, depending on how worn it looks.

DIY floor cleaner recipes to use with our mops

There are two main DIY floor cleaners that you can use with most floor mops – it is important not to use the all-floor cleaner on wood floors. For cleaning wood floors, simply dilute some Castile soap in hot water. It has to be the real stuff, made from olive oil. Don’t use neat olive oil, as it’s likely to ruin your expensive mop. For all other floor types, use the following:

1. Plain dish soap without enzymes, bleach, or colouring;
2. White vinegar, about 200ml;
3. Vodka or rubbing alcohol, 250ml Dilute in a bucket of hot water.

You’re good to go on tile, vinyl, laminate, and pretty much any type of mop.

Looking for more floor cleaning products and reviews?

  • The best floor cleaning solutions
  • How to clean hardwood floors
  • Even if most of your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, there are still floors that need more than just vacuuming.
  • We have reviewed and chosen the best floor cleaners for hardwood, laminate, vinyl, ceramic tile, and stone floors.

Taking care of hard surface floors is a never-ending job. Just think about what gets dropped and spilled on your floors and what comes into your home on the bottom of shoes. Sweeping or vacuuming can capture much of the loose dirt and hair, but eventually, some of the mess will stick and the floor is going to need to be cleaned with a mop and a good cleaner.

It would be great if there was just one product that could take care of every stain on every type of flooring. Some cleaners are interchangeable, but what’s needed to clean the grout in ceramic tile floors isn’t the same as what’s needed to keep hardwoods gleaming.

I don’t have any carpeting in my home except for area rugs, so I’ve learned to care for hardwood, ceramic tile, and stone floors on a weekly basis to keep them looking as clean and fresh as possible. My previous home had laminate and vinyl flooring in addition to wall-to-wall carpeting, so I have tried many brands and types of floor cleaners. I’ve also been testing floor cleaners, vacuums, brooms, and mops for many years as a home economist for companies and publications. I’m always looking for the most effective, easiest to use, and the best value in products for myself and others.

Floor care doesn’t have to be difficult if you have a good floor cleaner, the right type of mop, and do the task on a regular, routine schedule. Waiting until the floor is totally filthy will only make the job back-breaking; weekly care can be done in minutes.

Start by sweeping or vacuuming to remove loose soil and hair. If you don’t, you’ll just be swishing it around and often leaving it behind. Use a clean mop head or disposable pad to prevent soil from re-depositing, and remember to allow plenty of time for the floor to dry before tracking in more dirt.

Take a minute to read the instructions on the back of the floor cleaner bottle. Some products go directly on the floor, while some need to be mixed with water; some require rinsing, but some don’t. Following the directions can help you be more successful.

Here are the best floor cleaners:

  • Best cleaner for wood floors: Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray
  • Best cleaner for laminate floors: Swiffer WetJet Wood Spray Mop and Cleaner
  • Best cleaner for vinyl floors: Rejuvenate All Floors Cleaner
  • Best cleaner for ceramic tile floors: Hoover Grout and Tile Plus Hard Floor Cleaner
  • Best cleaner for stone floors: StoneTech RTU Revitalizer, Cleaner & Protector for Tile & Stone

Updated on 1/16/2020 by Jen Gushue: Updated prices, links, formatting, and text.

The best for wood

source Amazon

Wood floors are beautiful and add value to any home. With Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray you can protect your expensive wood floors and keep them shining for years to come.

Caring for wood floors is not difficult if you follow a regular routine. The majority of damage to the surface comes from grit that wears away the top finish and creates scratches that accumulate soil and leave floors looking dull. Using a dust mop, soft-bristled broom, or vacuum regularly is the first step. Getting the loose soil off the floor protects the finish and makes cleaning much easier and more effective.

The majority of wood floors in homes today are sealed with polyurethane or polyacrylic urethane finish. Harsh cleaning chemicals can permanently dull the finish and leave streaks. That’s why when it’s time to clean away spills and muddy footprints, you should choose a product formulated for sealed wood floors like Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray.

I have hardwood floors throughout all of the bedrooms and living spaces in my home and love them because they keep down allergens and, thanks to Bona, are easy to maintain. After getting rid of loose dirt, I do a quick spritz with this water-based formula and follow through with a clean mop, and my floors look fabulous. There is no rinsing needed and it never leaves any streaks.

Bona is Greenguard Gold Certified and produces low volatile organic compounds (VOC). The spray bottle can be refilled from the larger gallon size or you can use it to fill the built-in cleaner container of some mops.

Care for your hardwood floors by sweeping often and cleaning with Bona, and you’ll enjoy their gleaming beauty for years to come.

Pros: Simple-to-use spray bottle, no rinsing, leaves no streaks, dries quickly, large bottles available for refills, low VOCs

Cons: Cannot be used on floors that have been oiled or waxed with paste wax

The best for laminate

source Amazon

Easy-to-use and a top performer, the Swiffer WetJet Wood Spray Mop and Cleaner is an all-in-one system for shiny, streak-free laminate floors.

Laminate floors are a decorator’s dream because they can look like natural, bleached, or weathered wood. Or, they can mimic ceramic tile or natural stone floors like slate, marble, or granite. Laminate is much less expensive than other flooring choices and can be easy to care for if you handle it correctly.

The most important thing to remember is that laminate floors don’t like too much water. The construction of the flooring includes materials that can absorb water and swell, causing ripples and damage that cannot be repaired. My previous home had laminate flooring in the kitchen and laundry room. A leaking washer hose showed me what excessive water can do to a laminate floor.

That’s why the Swiffer WetJet Wood Spray Mop and Cleaner makes cleaning them a breeze. With disposable cleaning pads and an all-in-one mop and cleaning solution, it is a cleaning system that prevents damage that a mop and bucket can cause.

As with any floor, laminate floors should be swept, vacuumed, or dry dusted before any cleaning with a mop. With Swiffer WetJet, the pads are disposable so you can begin each cleaning session with a fresh surface. The cleaning solution is loaded into the mop; with just a touch of the battery-operated micro-mist spray, you can add the solution to the floor as you mop. The spray nozzles are illuminated so you can see just how much solution is hitting the floor and prevent excessive spraying.

The Swiffer WetJet Wood Kit includes a power mop, five mopping pads, a bottle of wood floor cleaner, and four batteries. The bonus is that you can easily buy refill bottles, pads, and cleaning solutions for other types of floors that will work with the same basic mop.

Pros: Compact all-in-one mop and floor cleaner, pads and cleaning solution refills easy to find, can be used to clean other types of hard surface floors

Cons: Spray nozzles can become clogged if the mop isn’t used regularly

The best for vinyl

source Amazon

Sticky messes, spills, and muddy footprints are gone and only shiny floors remain with Rejuvenate All Floors Cleaner.

Vinyl floors are built to take lots of abuse. That’s why they end up in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. And Rejuvenate All Floors Cleaner is the best cleaner for removing the mess and leaving vinyl clean and streak-free with no rinsing.

A friend recently bought a starter home and asked for help setting up her kitchen, pointing to the dingy vinyl floor and said, “I’m going to replace this awful floor as soon as I can.” I suggested we try Rejuvenate and see if the floor could be saved.

After sweeping, I sprayed Rejuvenate on the floor and used a microfiber mop. Because the formula is pH-balanced to neutralize contaminates and contains ingredients that will remove old wax build-up and strip away grime, it left the floor looking great. I didn’t have to rinse or repeat the mopping. The formula is non-toxic, fragrance-free, and Greenguard Gold Certified with low chemical emissions.

My friend was thrilled with how clean the floor looked but wished it didn’t have so many scratches. On my next visit, I brought over Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer and told her to give it a try. The Rejuvenate Restorer fills in scratches, helps prevent sun-fading, and improves traction. She now likes the floor enough that she has decided to keep it and save her money for other projects.

Pros: Cleans floors with no rinsing needed, restores shine, non-toxic and fragrance-free, the spray bottle is reusable.

Cons: Not readily available in all mass-market stores.

The best for ceramic tile

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Ceramic tile floors are easy to clean except for all those grout lines. Luckily, we discovered Hoover Grout and Tile Plus Hard Floor Cleaner.

Taking care of ceramic tile floors should be a breeze. The tile is resistant to stains, it doesn’t scratch easily, and lasts for decades. But then there is the grout, that porous mixture of sand and cement that binds the tiles together. If grout is left unsealed, it absorbs stains, attracts dirt, and can be damaged by any strong cleaners. Grout was the bane of my floor-cleaning chores until I found Hoover Grout and Tile Plus Hard Floor Cleaner.

If you have light-colored grout as I do, don’t ever look under the door or bath mats. You’ll be shocked at how much of a difference there is in the color of the grout that is protected from daily use and the rest of the floor grout. I was prepared to spend a couple of days on my hands and knees scrubbing until I tried Hoover Grout and Tile Plus.

After reading the directions and discovering it is highly concentrated, I knew just how much to mix with water. Using too much won’t make cleaning any easier. You’ll actually have to do some extra rinsing if you overdose. The cleaner can be used in both an electric floor cleaner or with a good mop. The key to successfully getting the grout back to its natural color is using hot water with the cleaner to help cut through the grime.

I was thrilled with how easily it cleaned the floor. Only a couple of tough spots needed a bit of extra scrubbing with a brush. The scent is clean and not overpowering. With regular use, the tile and grout have stayed looking great.

Pros: Concentrated so you use less, biodegradable, septic-safe, can be used with electric floor cleaner or with a mop, performs well, lightly scented.

Cons: Not readily available in mass-market stores.

The best for stone

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If you have expensive slate, granite, or marble floors, you want your investment to last and look great. StoneTech RTU Revitalizer will help make it happen.

I once attended a party at a home that has gleaming marble floors in the vast entrance, large enough to welcome 20-to-30 guests. Because it’s my job, I had to ask the homeowners how they kept the floor looking so grand. The answer was StoneTech RTU Revitalizer, Cleaner & Protector for Tile & Stone.

While stone floors may seem indestructible, they are very sensitive to products, stains, and spills that contain acids. Any spills that contain wine, citrus juice, or vinegar should be cleaned up immediately because they can etch even sealed stone floors. Just think what harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach or ammonia could do to an expanse of flooring.

I don’t have the luxury of stone floors but I do have stone countertops. And once I learned about StoneTech products, they have been my go-to cleaners. The liquid not only cleans but revitalizes the stone and protects it. Because no sealant lasts forever, just normal foot traffic eventually removes the finish. StoneTech helps the sealant last longer and maintains the natural beauty of the stone flooring.

StoneTech Revitalizer comes in two scents, citrus or cucumber. You can purchase it ready-to-use or in a concentrated formula to add to water. The ready-to-use formula is available in a spray bottle as well as a gallon jug for refills. To clean your floors, simply spray a small area and clean with a microfiber mop. No rinsing or drying is necessary. The cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable.

Pros: Gentle on stone floors but tough on dirt and grime, nontoxic, two light scents available, refillable container.

Cons: Not readily available in mass-market stores.

Check out our other cleaning guides

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The best mops

For regular upkeep of hard surfaces – wood, laminate, concrete, stone, etc. – a mop is an effective tool, even if it’s basic. But mopping is also a dreaded chore. We’re here to tell you that, from years of research and testing, mopping doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are the best mops you can buy.

The best laundry odor removers

You’d assume that having gone through a wash, your clothes would come out smelling clean. Unfortunately, some odors are so strong and tough to remove, it seems they’re baked in forever – from cooking, smoking, or mildew. Don’t worry, nothing is permanent, as we’ve found the best odor removers you can use to remove the stink from your laundry.

The best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry appliances

Some of your appliances are designed to keep things in your home clean, but who’s cleaning them? Maintain them in their best shape by using these great cleaning products. Here are the best cleaning products you can buy for kitchen and laundry appliances.

The best disinfecting cleaners

If there’s one reason to keep your home clean, it’s to protect against the spread of germs. A disinfecting cleaner can help kill bacteria and other illness-causing organisms and keep your family healthy. Here are the best household disinfectants you can buy.

It’s the last job on the cleaning list: you’ve dusted, tidied, vacuumed and polished, and all that remains is to wash the floor as you back out of the room. Sorted! But, did you realise that not all hard floors need the same treatment? Get it wrong and you could be doing more harm than good.

Here’s our rundown of how to clean hard floors – whatever surface you’ve got:

WD-40 Smart Straw amazon.co.uk £5.28

Vacuum, dust or wipe with a lightly dampened mop – never use soap-based detergents or other polishes, as they can leave a dull film on the floor, and avoid over-wetting. Don’t use wax polish: it will make the floor too slippery. To remove marks and stains, use a dilute solution of water and vinegar. Never be tempted to use abrasive cleaners, such as nylon scouring pads or steel wool, which can scratch. Stubborn marks, such as shoe polish, can be removed with nail polish remover containing acetone, or other mild solvents – WD-40 also works well. To protect the floor, put felt pads underneath furniture legs and drip trays under plant pots.

Pattanaphong Khuankaew / EyeEmGetty Images

GHI tip: Vacuum or sweep all types of hard floors regularly to prevent the surface being scratched by grit (if shoes are removed at the front door it will help to stop dirt from being tracked in).

Ceramic and quarry tiles

These need minimal maintenance. Sweep and wash with a mild detergent solution. Rinse with clear water. Never use wax polish – the tiles will become slippery.

Terracotta tiles

For the first year after installation, terracotta tiles mature. Most suppliers stock a special cleaner, sealant and polish, so use recommended products from your floor supplier.

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Vinyl

Sweep with a soft brush or vacuum, then wipe with a damp mop, using a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly after wiping. To remove scuff marks, use a cloth dipped in neat washing-up liquid or white spirit, then rinse off.

The best mops for your home

Addis Superdry Plus 90/100 amazon.co.uk £12.99 E-Cloth Classic 89/100 amazon.co.uk £13.38 E-Cloth Deep Clean 86/100 lakeland.co.uk £19.99 E-Cloth Mini 84/100 e-cloth.com £7.00

Wood

Sealed floors need only to be swept and damp-mopped. Do not use too much water or the wood could swell and split. Unsealed and waxed floors should be swept regularly and occasionally repolished. Use wax sparingly, as an excess will leave a tacky surface and attract dirt. Buff well. If worn patches appear on the surface, apply a non-slip floor polish.

On a waxed floor, polish and dirt builds up over time and the only way to clean it is to remove the wax and start again. Use a cloth moistened with white spirit. Let it soak in, and as the wax and dirt begin to dissolve, wipe away with crumpled newspaper. Scrub obstinate parts by hand, or with abrasive pads on a floor polisher. When polish has been removed, damp-mop with clean water. Allow to dry completely before applying new polish, working on small sections at a time.

For protecting your wooden or parquet flooring, we recommend Dr Beckmann Hardwood & Parquet Floor Cleaner. We found it nourished the boards and brought slightly faded ones back to life.

GHI tip: Never varnish a waxed floor – it won’t dry!

Cork

Wipe factory-sealed cork tiles with a damp mop, using a solution of washing-up liquid. To provide an extra layer of protection, especially in high-traffic areas such as the bathroom and kitchen, apply an acrylic or polyurethane sealant. Never over-wet and take care not to damage the seal or protective coatings by dragging appliances or furniture over the floor.

GHI TIP: Scuff marks on skirting boards? Squirt with WD-40 and wipe away with a soft cloth.

​Linoleum

Sweep or vacuum to remove grit and dust. Clean with a mop or cloth dampened with a solution of detergent or floor cleaner. Use water sparingly. Rinse after washing. Stubborn marks can be removed by rubbing lightly with a dampened fine nylon pad.

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Stone

As it is susceptible to staining, stone should always be protected with a resin sealant. To clean sealed stone, vacuum it thoroughly, then mop with a mild detergent solution. To remove grease or oil, use a proprietary spot-treatment stain remover for stone.

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