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Mopping Your Wood Floors

Updated on March 4, 2012
Mop wood floors sxp20002003 at
Mop wood floors sxp20002003 at

Mop Your Wood Floors to a Clean Shine

Many rooms are enhanced by the natural beauty of wood floors. As with other floor surfaces, regular sweeping may not be enough to clean these floor of traffic dirt, grime and dust. Care must be taken when periodically mopping wood floors, as they are made of a natural material that acclimates to its environment. Mopping is recommended for wood floors that are sealed to protect their beauty, prevent moisture from seeping in and to help them last for many years.


Cloth-pad mops are preferred to wipe wood floors clean, trap the dirt and slightly buff the floor to a shine. The flat mopping pads are gentle on the floor's surface and work well with spray cleaners. They use very little water that can seep into the wood. These pads can then be washed and reused for future wood floor mopping.

Sponge mops have long been used to mop wood floors. These sponge mops can potentially hold a lot of water, which is good for cleaning up wet areas. Most of the water is squeezed out to damp mop the wood flooring. A damp sponge mop applies just enough moisture to agitate and lift dirt off of the wood floors, while soaking back up any water on the floor.

Properly Sealed Wood Floors

Floors that are sealed with a durable polyurethane need only be cleaned with a balanced-pH or slightly acidic cleaner. Purchase a window cleaner, such as Windex, or make your own mixture of a half-cup of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Add to a 32-ounce spray bottle, fill it up to the top with water and shake well. The two react to make a neutral household cleaner; the baking soda is the washing agent, and the vinegar rinses away films.

Standing in one spot, spray a small amount of your floor cleaner onto the floor, then immediately mop the floor with a cloth or sponge mop, working and stretching the cleaner over the entire area of the floor that is within your reach. Move on to the next section, paying special attention to very dirty areas. Once the entire floor is mopped, allow to dry or follow up with a dry cloth or cloth mop to buff the floor to a shine.

Older Floors

Older floors require more care than regular mopping. These floors are typically not as sealed as the new or recently refinished floor. Care must be taken to not damage the floor with water, therefore damp mopping with an almost dry mop and avoiding chemical cleaners, is preferred.

Only wet a small section of the mop and wring out well to remove as much of the water as possible. Mop the floor lightly, covering a large section of the floor. The purpose is to gently lift away the dirt without saturating the floor. Rinse and wring out, then mop another large area until the floor is complete. It is also very important to follow up with a dry mop or towels to remove any excess water from the floor.

Consider having your older wood floors refinished to protect them and to make mopping your wood floors an easy task for many years to come.


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    • Naima Manal profile image

      Naima Manal 5 years ago from NY

      Thank you very much, Bedbugabscond. Wood floors are very beautiful, and with proper maintenance, they will last a very long time.

    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 5 years ago from United States

      Most of my bosses properties have old wood floors. People are always using way too much water and messing them up! After reading this, I think I will suggest my boss reseal the floors.