Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

For Cleaner Hard Floors, Learn How to Clean Your Mop First!

how to clean mop custom graphic

No matter how tidy your house is, it won’t look or feel as good as it should unless your floor is spotless. Of course, having the right tools to get the job done makes a huge difference, too. But what happens when the very tools you use to clean need a good cleaning themselves? 

Well, when it comes to hard floors, your trusty ol’ mop keeps them gleaming by scrubbing off all the grime and spots accumulated since the last time they were cleaned. This leaves the material of the mop head rather dirty and grimy by the end of a single session.

Now, we all know that using a dirty mop on a dirty floor defeats the purpose of cleaning to begin with; therefore, the resolution is to learn how to clean a mop to ensure that it is efficient and sanitary enough to clean properly. 

With that said, you can't use the same cleaning process on all mop heads if you want to safely and effectively clean them. Instead, take some time to figure out the type of material you are dealing with, and look for recommended cleaning methods to restore your mop head to a clean and sanitary condition. 

In this guide we'll go over, the exact steps our professional house cleaners take to clean their mops. Let's look into three common types of mops, and how to maintain them for better cleaning.

Wet Mops

woman using wet mop to mop large bathroom

Rinse and Dry After Every Use

The key thing with any mop is to prevent the dirt from building up over time. It is therefore advisable to take your wet mop, whatever type of material it may be, and give it a good rinse with warm water after every use. The water running out from the mop head must be clear when you finish.

Once rinsed, wring or squeeze it out as much as possible, and then allow it to dry in a well ventilated space. If possible, consider drying in the sun as this helps sanitise the mop head, and speed up the drying process. 

Wash Thoroughly on a Regular Basis

If you've used the mop a few times already, or if it begins to smell, just rinsing it out may not be enough. 

In this situation, having a detachable mop head is very convenient. Depending on the type of fabric and cleaning instructions for the material, you can either clean it by hand, or in the washing machine using a hot water cycle. This is the simplest way to deep clean a wet mop head without too much effort. The key here is to wash it with other cleaning rags so you're not damaging any other valuable fabrics.

If you don't have a detachable mop head, the alternative to machine-washing is soaking the material in a cleaning solution instead. Two effective products to clean and sanitise a mop are white vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide; just add a cup of either of these liquids to a bucket of water to make the cleaning solution, and soak the mop in it for about 15 minutes. Once soaked, you can rinse and wring out the excess water before letting it dry in a well-ventilated space, or out in the sun. 

Dust Mops

woman washing blue mop pad in porcelain bathroom sink

Dust Off the Mop Material

If you're working with dust mops, it's pretty straightforward since they are fairly durable, and don't need much maintenance. 

The first thing to do is to shake out the mop head after every use so that any loose dust is removed before getting caught in the fibres. It's best to do this outdoors rather than releasing dust into the air of your home.

Vacuum for Better Dust Removal

If you're using your dust mop often, the dirt will build-up on the fabric over time. In this case, after dusting out the mop head, pass a vacuum hose across the mop head to get the stubborn dust out of it. Using the brush attachment for the vacuum is advisable for a more effective clean.

Wash Out the Mop Head

Even a dust mop can get very soiled if it is used regularly, or there is a lot of dust and dirt on the floor. In this case, the best approach is washing it in a machine (if suitable). Use a gentle cycle with warm water and mild laundry detergent. Once washed, simply squeeze out the material, and allow it to air dry on a clothesline.

If you do not have the luxury of washing your dust mop in a machine, you can hand wash it instead. All you need to do is work the dirt out of the mop with your hands over a sink. Then use a small amount of the same washing detergent in a bucket of water, and gently squeeze the mop head to release dirt. 

Rinse the material with warm water every now and then to ensure you're getting rid of all the dirt, and repeat as necessary before giving it a final rinse. You should get the same results as with a washing machine using this hand-wash cleaning method.

Steam Mop

white and green steam mop being used on a wooden floor

Wash the Mop Pads

Most steam mops come with detachable mop pads for the mop head. These pads are made of fabric, and can be easily washed. After ensuring that your mop has cooled down after use, remove the mop pad, and simply put it into a laundry wash. Mild detergent and a regular wash cycle for clothing usually does the trick, however, it is recommended that you wash your mop pads along with other cleaning tools such as dust cloths.

Wipe Down the Reservoir

There is a tank or reservoir on your steam mop that needs a regular cleaning too. This can be done by draining out the water, and giving it a good wipe down with a clean cloth. You may use a disinfectant spray on the cloth to sanitise the reservoir. Also be sure to change the cloth if it gets soiled too quickly.

Clean the Surface of the Mop

This is fairly simple as you just need a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the entire body of the steam mop. This gets rid of any dust that has built up, as well as stubborn dirt.

How to Store a Mop

dust mop pads drying on a wooden bench

Just as important as cleaning the mop, is storage for your mop. Regardless of what type it may be, the universal rule is to not allow a mop to stay wet or damp. This becomes a breeding ground for mould and bacteria, making it a terrible idea to store a mop when it's wet. 

Besides this, you should store the mop with the head upwards, or away from the floor as much as possible. This not only ensures less dirt on the mop head, but it's also a more sanitary practise. 


With that, you should have enough knowledge to look after any type of mop you are using. While it’s necessary to put in some effort to clean your mop regularly, there is no sense in going overboard with the task. In other words, if your mop seems truly beyond saving, it's time to consider replacing it as a last resort.

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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