Floor Cleaning Tools, Tips & How-To

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Floor Cleaning Tools, Tips & How-To covers everything you need to know to properly clean the floors in your home with advice from professional cleaners.

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This is not a sponsored post. Any products or tools I’m recommending are strictly based on my experience.  I have included Amazon affiliate links at the bottom of the page with my favorite products so you can take a closer look. If you make a purchase, we both win!

This article contains affiliate links. Please see our Disclosure Policy.

After owning a residential and commercial cleaning business since 1997, we have developed favorite tools, techniques and products to work smarter, not harder. We are sharing those tips with you. Let’s jump right in.

Also, see; How We Started Our Cleaning Business

Den after pic with all new flooring

The photo above is of laminate flooring. Installers warn against using water on laminate. They recommend using a dry mop or what is called a dust mop. Dust mopping is the same as sweeping except you’re using a tool that will not scratch the surface of the floor.

Different surfaces require different types of cleaning techniques or products.

Natural floor surface

Natural surfaces include stone or marble flooring.

Some natural surfaces are porous which means more water is required. Porous surfaces soak up water quickly. Never use bleach products on porous surfaces. Even marble will turn yellow when bleach products are used on it. 

First things first. You cannot clean a floor with a dirty mop. Once your mop water gets dirty, change it. If you need to rinse the mop out, do that too. I run clean water, without the soap in the bucket and rinse the mop out then dump that water and put soapy water in the bucket.

How I clean laminate flooring

I mop it with soapy water. Don’t gasp! Here is why I don’t take the advice of the installer to not use water on laminate. I can sum it up in two words; dirt and germs.

Dry mopping does not remove germs and only removes loose dirt. Warning, all laminate is not made equal. Some of the less expensive products may not hold up well to excess water so be careful. 

Do not slop-mop your laminate flooring! Slop mopping means purposefully sloshing copious amounts of water onto the floor which you then mop back up. You cannot get your laminate flooring that wet!

Do Use a mop which you can wring out very well so it’s damp, but not dripping wet. I always use a box fan to dry my laminate flooring while I’m mopping. That way, the floors are quickly cleaned and dried. 

Natural Surfaces & Hardwood

Natural surfaces such as stone or concrete can be mopped with the slop mopping method. I would still caution you not to use too much water. Be sure to wring the mop out partially before putting water onto the floor. Concrete floors often have sealers on the surface. If that is the case, you can simply mop it the old-fashioned way, by wet mopping

Hardwood floors with a sealer can be wet-mopped. Again, be sure to wring the mop out well. I also advise enhancing the drying time with a fan.

Tile floor cleaning tips.intelligentdomestications.com

Tile Floors

Most porcelain and ceramic tile floors can be wet-mopped. You should be able to see a reflection on a clean tile floor.

Remove the streaks from tile floors

Because they often look smeared after drying, you may need to go over your tile floor with a dry cotton towel. You can do this using your feet to swipe the towel back and forth across the floor until all the smears are gone.

See my preferred dry mop below, you can use the smooth white microfiber side of it also which might be easier if your room is large. All that swiping the towel with your feet is good exercise though.


My Favorite Mop

My all-time favorite mop is The Wonder Mop. They are not paying me to say that, I wish they were.

Two things make this my favorite mop.

  1. You do not have to get your hands wet to wring it out!
  2. You can put the mop head in the washer!

I feel so strongly about the Wonder Mop, I’ve included their 40-second YouTube video at the bottom of the page.

Cotton Mop

I grew up using an old-fashioned cotton string mop which we had to wring out by hand. I would take that cotton mop outside and use the water hose to rinse it out really well.

Sometimes I soaked it in bleach water to clean it then rinsed it out. I worked harder to keep my mop clean than I did to mop the floors! I do not miss the cotton mop!

Machine Washable

My Favorite Dry Mop

The Swiffer sweeper is essentially a dry mop that comes with disposable pads. It’s awesome. I own one. They are great for picking up pet dander and loose debris and therefore good to use between wet mopping.

If, however you have a large surface area and would never get finished using the small Swiffer, consider a dust mop as pictured above. This one is made by O Cedar and is called a Microfiber Flip Mop. It came with an extra pad.

The pads are machine washable and two-sided. I use the dark blue chenille side for dust mopping to  wrangle debris which I then vacuum up. This mop is perfect for protecting hardwoods or laminate so you don’t scratch the surface with a traditional broom.

I use the smooth side for spray mopping occasionally. I spray the floor and wipe it up immediately which picks up dirt in between wet mopping. You could also use the smooth side for polishing your tile after mopping if it looks smeary.

My favorite floor cleaners are Lysol and Fabuloso.intelligentdomestications.com

My Favorite Cleaning product for floors

Most of the time I use Lysol because it is proven to kill germs.  We also use Lavender Fabuloso occasionally because we enjoy the fragrance. Can you tell from the photo which one we use the most? We have been using Lysol in our business since 1997.

We have also had to resort to using Mean Green when cleaning rental properties on occasion. Mean Green will cut tough dirt and grease on any surface and has been especially helpful to us on vinyl or linoleum flooring in rental properties.

We always use Murphy’s Oil Soap on hardwood floors for our customers unless they request something different.

Does Vinegar and Water Clean Floors?

Why I don’t recommend vinegar and water for floor cleaning. Vinegar is not a registered disinfectant and does not kill dangerous bacteria. You can find Lysol brand on the EPA list of registered disinfectants here.

Mopping Terms

Wet mopping means you will be using a mop soaked in water with your choice of cleaning products. Can be done on most surfaces. 

Damp mopping means there will be no dripping water coming from the mop. Wring the mop out very well. Should be done on most manufactured surfaces such as laminate.

Slop mopping means you will distribute excess water onto the surface with little to no wringing of the mop. Only use this method on natural surfaces such as stone or concrete.

This is how Mom taught us, back in the good old days…

Did anyone, besides me, have a Mom who made you mop the floors until the water came clean. I would mop, mop, mop then dump the dirty water. Make clean water and mop until the water didn’t get dirty. That may have involved changing the water a couple of times. No I was not abused. The first time we made mop water, it had the cleaning product in it, likely Spic-n-Span. All the subsequent times the water was used to rinse the soap off the floor. You could eat off our floors on mop day!

What is your favorite mop?

Floor Cleaning Tools Tips and How to. Advice from a professional cleaners at intelligentdomestications.com

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  1. It’s difficult to know how to clean all the different types of floors but this is a great guide to cleaning all the different types. Dust moping is a great way to keep floors clean daily. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m glad that you pointed out how you can’t clean a floor with a dirty mop. It can be obnoxious to constantly change out the mop water, but it’s the only way to actually keep your floors clean. Wetting your mop down with some clean, soapy water should provide the best result for most types of flooring. Thanks for the article.

  3. Thanks for sharing your tips! We have hardwood floors and use a cleaning solution recommended by the flooring brand, but sometimes it doesn’t seem to do a great job; I think I should try one of the mops you recommended!

  4. I have Pergo Max flooring and another cheaper brnd in our Powder Room. Both manufacturers recommend a mixture of Vinegar and water which I use. I have one of those mops where you fill up a bottle on it and then spray ahead of the mop. Works well and my floors shine afterward. i also use the vinegar and water on my ceramic tile entry and my linoleum that we have not replaced in the upstairs bathroom and it works well on all!!
    Thanks for visiting!!


  5. Great post. I totally agree that dry mopping just doesn’t get it done all the time. We have hardwoods and damp mop with Bona cleaner once a week or I just feel like it’s not clean enough.

  6. We are now getting used to cleaning real hardwood floors after having laminate. It is a much different experience. I find I have to go over them with a towel afterward to get rid of water spots and streaks. Great tips!

    1. Tiffany, try using a little less cleaner in your mop water and see if that helps with the streaks problem. Sometimes too much suds will cause that. I love hardwood floors because they are just gorgeous!

  7. I learned so much from this post. I have tile floors and usually my husband mops because I can’t breathe around cleaning products other than vinegar. When we buy a house we want laminate flooring and I love that you really broke down the steps for cleaning it.

    1. I’m so glad you found some good tips April. I grew up mopping with ammonia, that was rough. It’s a wonder we don’t all have brain damage using that stuff! We quickly learned to not lean over the bucket too close. Oh the memories!

  8. Fabulose smells so good! It’s one of my favorite cleaners. OMG – I remember spic and span, too! And Murphy’s Oil Soap is a favorite of mine when cleaning wood. I don’t miss those old cotton mops at all! These are all great tips!! I use Bona’s Cleaning system for my floors. I’ve also done a couple of sponsored posts for them and I love their products.

    1. My Mom loved Spic and Span. She would get the powder in the box to use on the porch in the summer. It’s actually on the EPA disinfectant list! That’s good to know!

We enjoying hearing from you!