Hard Floor Cleaning – Are You Doing More Harm Than Good?

If you’re using a mop and bucket…you’re doing it wrong. Unless your goal is spreading dirty water around.Mop and Bucket Small

Imagine you have a brand new mop head and a clean bucket of cold water. First you dunk the mop head in the water, wring it out, and start moving it on the floor. Now the mop head is dirty and once you put it back in the water, you’ve contaminated the water too.

It doesn’t matter how often you change the water, unless you change the mop head too, you are just spreading around dirty water.

Need Proof?

Next time you are in a Dunkin’ Donuts or any public place with ceramic tile look at the grout. Check the grout color in the middle of the floor compared to the grout on the edges or up the wall. Do you see 2 different colors? That’s not from people’s dirty shoes, that’s from dirty mop water! Gross!

It may not look that bad in your home, but if you are using any mop and bucket system, you might be doing more harm than good. Remember cleaning is the removal of soils, not just diluting them and spreading them around.

What Should You Do?

Best Option | Microfiber Mop Padsbetter-life-mop-with-2-microfiber-pads-d-20130802181350567~261222

The microfiber mops pads are the best option. You will use very little product (sometimes cold water only), plus they are durable and washable.

We have thousands of them and I tell our cleaners, use as many as you need.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Put several mop pads in a bucket with the product you are using. I recommend using mostly cold water and very little product. Try to find a neutral pH product.
  2. Take one mop pad, wring it out, and drop it on the floor.
  3. Place the mop handle on top of the mop pad Mop Handle with Arrowsand work it in the same direction the whole time. The goal is to trap the dirt on one side on the mop pad. Imagine you have a small ball that you are working back and forth as you mop the floor. I draw arrows to remind me which direction to go.


The mop pads come in a variety of sizes (we use the 18″ the vast majority of the time). For most single family homes, you can clean an average kitchen and bathroom using one pad, unless it is really dirty.

To care for the mop pads, follow the instruction in this article about caring for microfiber.

Good Option | Steam Cleaning w/Replaceable Pads

This is a similar option to the microfiber mop pads and adds the steam to help with cleaning. The only reason I don’t believe it is the best option is the residential devices are usually pretty flimsy and unless you are using filtered or distilled water, the impurities in the tap water can ruin the device or maybe even the floor.

Okay Option | Swiffer Mop Pads

I’m not crazy about this, but I understand that not everyone will want to use microfiber mop pads. I do believe that the Swiffer mop pads are wasteful, expensive, have too much product in them and will leave a residue, especially in grout lines. That being said, they are better than a mop and bucket because they will trap dirt, just use them judicially.

Super-duper Hard Floor Cleaning | Professional Use Only

No matter what you use for your maintenance cleaning, unless your floor is completely smooth and non-porous, you will need a professional cleaning every year or every other year.

The professional hard floor cleaning process uses stronger products that will loosen up the trapped soils and then extract them using a pressure washing system.

***Please turn your volume DOWN before playing video***

This Isn’t For Everyone

Make sure you thoroughly inspect the condition of your flooring before using this procedure with the company you hire. Loose grout and tile might become dislodged or damaged by pressure washing. If you have any concerns about secondary damaged that may be caused by aggressive cleaning, let the company you hire give alternative recommendations. We offer a hand cleaning with a low pressure extraction. It works well in delicate situations.


Best Option | Cold Water w/ Spot Cleaning Product

Unless your floors are very dirty, there is no reason to use products with microfiber mop pads. I like to have a bottle of a stronger product to deal with dirty areas and use clean, cold water in other areas. Sometimes, I will use a neutral pH cleaner if there is uniform soiling.

Okay Option | Any Other Product

Feel free to experiment with a water, vinegar, & essential oil mixture on your floors. No matter what you use, make sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first and only mix it as strong as necessary. Cleaning product companies want you to buy as much product as possible, but with all cleaning products, less is more.

Don’t be afraid to use elbow grease, the “greenest” cleaning product of all!

Any Questions?

There are several other types of hard floors, if you want to know the best techniques and products to clean your floors, please ask in the comments below or email me at anthony@absolutecleanonline.com

2 thoughts on “Hard Floor Cleaning – Are You Doing More Harm Than Good?

    • Hi Curtis, thanks for commenting.

      A powerful vacuum cleaner is great, but I was referring to the soils that require wet cleaning, not the loose debris that would normally be picked up by vacuuming or sweeping.

      But, in some situations, I do recommend using a vacuum AFTER mopping a ceramic tile floor rather than before. That is because the grout inevitably grabs loose debris while mopping.

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