Q I hate mopping. It takes time, effort and the results are usually negligible unless I mop on my hands and knees. I have two active children, a cat and a Lab. HELP!!!

A: My best advice is to do the sweeping and vacuuming as frequently as possible. If there isn’t any dirt on the floor, that spill won’t make a mud puddle. Clean up spills immediately. I keep inexpensive paper towels handy in every room just for that reason.

Train your children to wipe their feet before entering and have “indoor” and “outdoor” shoes. It will save on the carpets, furniture and other flooring. The pets should have a pad to walk over before entering the house and one on the inside of the house to reduce the spread of sand, dirt, dead leaves and other debris. Don’t say it is impossible: I trained three children and three pets and a spouse. The best way to get them on board is to let them mop when they forget the rules.

I went to the pros for your answers and here are their tips courtesy of Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine.

Remove all dust and debris from the floor using a good broom, dust mop or vacuum. Doing this frequently prevents the need for frequent mopping.

Use cold to lukewarm water, never hot water that could damage the finish.

Choose a cleaning solution that is as weak as possible yet still effective.

Use the right amount of water and change it frequently (whenever the color of the water changes).

Select the right size mop handle and mop weight, because if the mop handle is too big for the person or the mop head retains too much water, it becomes too heavy to properly maneuver.

It’s always best to mop backwards

The strongest arm should hold the top of the mop.

The weaker arm should “guide” the mop.

Palms should face each other and not be parallel at the top and bottom.

Mopping in a figure eight pattern will ensure all areas are covered and will result in any dirt that may have been missed with the initial dust mopping being picked or pulled up. Do not stop and start often, that reduces productivity.

Weekly scrubbing will reduce the need for stripping. Some areas may require daily care.

When possible and practical, the floor should be cleaned using a two-step process: thoroughly soak the floor and liberally apply the cleaning solution, allowing a dwell time of a minute or so (depending on the soil conditions). This allows the cleaning solution to loosen and “float” the dirt. Then, using a wrung-out mop, pick up the water and deposit it in the bucket. While some think this is doing the job twice, it is not. The purpose of mopping is to REMOVE the dirt, not just smear it around.

Proper cleaning, rinsing and handing of mops after the task are a must.

If a mop is allowed to remain dirty or deteriorate, it will lead to poor mopping.

Soak the mop in a light bleach and/or neutralizer solution once a week or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Thoroughly rinse the mop head after use to remove all bacteria and chemicals.

Hang the head so it is allowed to dry.

The more often you sweep and clean and attend to spills instantly, the less time you will need holding the mop.


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