How to Mop Tile Floors

The most common floors are made of tile. They are cheap, easy to install, and compared to a lot of other hard surface flooring, easy to clean. But because people do not do it properly, they believe that tile floors are not easy to clean. They think like this because they do not really know how to mop tile floors properly. Mopping tile floors does not need to be a taxing activity and does not need to be as frustrating as it can be.

When you know about the surfaces of tile floors and know you should and shouldn’t do and use, you’ll be able to mop tile floors much more effectively and will have a much easier time.

What are tile floors made of and why is knowing this important?

The common tile flooring possess three components: Ceramic tiles, material that binds the tiles together, and the surface of the ceramic tiles. In most homes and establishments, this surface is made of a gloss type material. This material gives the tiles a smooth feel and a shiny look, or at least that’s how they should look and feel.

If you do not mop your tile floors properly, it will compromise how these kinds of floors look. It will cause streaks and will also remove some of the gloss. While this will not damage the tile floors, it will definitely affect how the floors look.

This can happen if you use the wrong cleaning solution, not enough cleaning solution, or too much cleaning solution.

Something else about tile floors that you should know is about what binds them together. The material that binds tile floors together are usually ignored when tiles themselves are mopped, and the dirt and other particles that build up in them can spread and affect the tiles themselves.

If you intend on mopping tile floors the right way, you need to understand that everything that puts your tile floors need to be taken care of in different ways.

Before learning how to mop tile floors perfectly, it is good to know what not to do when mopping tile floors. If you know what to avoid, you’ll get a better idea of what to do.

The least effective ways to mop tile floors

There are a lot of mistakes that people make when they mop tile floors. The first of these methods is probably by far the most common. This is where you sweep the tile floor the best you can, then mop it with any given mop mixed with water and any given solution.

Doing this is certainly better than doing nothing at all, but it is really only one step better. The problem with mopping a tile floor this way is that the floor will take forever to dry and will you will also risk streaking the tile floor.

This is very common and many believe that it saves time. However, all you need to do to correct this method is possess the right kind of mop and the right kind of cleaning solution, and you won’t sacrifice too much time.

Another ineffective method to mopping tile floors is to use a flat mop that is designed for linoleum or hardwood floors. This is often accomplished by using a cleaner spray and spraying it on the floor while mopping. These cleaner sprays are designed for cleaning tile floors, so doing something like this can be effective, but it takes a long time.

This is especially true if you are cleaning a very large area. Attempt to clean one of these with a mop with a flat head, and your work is likely to undo itself or take a very long time.

Save the mop with a flat head for floors with small areas that do not encounter a lot of traffic. For large area tile floors that encounter a lot of traffic, you’ll need to use a mop that has a more traditional designed head this way you can clean your tile floors faster.

The final incomplete method of mopping tile floors is ignoring most of the floor and only cleaning up certain spots. This by far saves the most time, but it is also the least effective. 

Something that is often ignored is that tile floors can also absorb stains and dirt. Where does this get absorbed into? It gets absorbed into the spaces in between the tiles that hold the tiles together, where it can get absorbed even further.

This gets ignored if all you do is mop up certain spots on your tile floor. It may save a lot of time, but it is not optimal.

These are some very common methods of mopping tile floors that may work in the short term, but will not lead to a consistently clean tile floor in the long term.

What you will need to mop tile floors effectively

Flat or rectangular mops will not effectively mop a floor even if you use the best cleaning solutions.

What you will need is a wet mop. Even though wet mops are generally designed for other kinds of floors, that makes them even more effective on tile floors because they can absorb a lot of water and solution and can remove really tough dirt and stains on tile floors.

Although you can use a flat or rectangular mop for tile floors, you’ll probably wind up spending more time using those anyway. Those kinds of mops are designed for much smaller rooms and not large rooms or large areas with tile floors.

Before mopping a tile floor, you need to remove as much physical dirt, solid particles, or trash from the floor as you can. Most use a broom and dustpan to do this, but that can be very time consuming.

What you can do instead is use a cordless vacuum. 

Cordless vacuums are slowly becoming an industry standard when it comes to floor cleaning supplies, and they are often perfect for tile floors because they contain just enough suction power to pick up anything from a tile floor but not too much power to where they will damage the floor. The problem with using a broom and mop to sweep tile floors is that brooms can collect dust, and you can still track dust and other particles that need to be swept when you use a broom.

  • A cordless vacuum or a cordless hand vacuum will solve these problems. Another reason it is better to use a cordless vacuum is because of the spaces in between each tile. Even though you will be going over the entire floor with a mop, there is a good chance that dirt can still be left inside of these spaces, which can build up. This dirt can be easily removed with a vacuum device.
  • When it comes to mopping, you need to make sure that you are using the right kind of solution. Most floor cleaning solutions are able to be used on a tile floor without encountering any streaking, but some of them also do their job too well and will streak.
  • The kind of power your cleaning solution should have should be directly related to how much traffic your tile floor encounters and if spills are common. If your tile floor does not get really dirty and all you really want to do is maintain it regularly, you can probably stand to use cleaning solution that is not terribly powerful.
  • When it comes to tile floors that encounter a lot of dirt, you’ll need cleaning solution that is fairly powerful. The challenge here is that the stronger a cleaning solution is, the more likely it is to streak. When you combine this solution with the water in your mop bucket, err on the side of using too little. This way, you will not risk streaking the floor.

The mopping process

Now that you have everything you need, it is time to mop your tile floor to perfection.

  • The very first thing you should do is remove every piece of furniture from the room, within reason. You can probably leave the bigger pieces of furniture, but the smaller pieces of furniture should not be in the room when you go to mop it.
  • Get all of the physical dirt you can off of the floor as well. You can do this by sweeping with a broom and dustpan, but you should do it with a cordless vacuum.
  • After the floor is as clear as it can possibly be, it is time to mop.
  • Very few know how to mop correctly. One of the most common mistakes that people make when mopping anything is that they usually make the mop far too wet, which will certainly cause streaks on a tile floor.
  • You need to avoid this by doing two things. First, spend a little extra time when wringing the mop out. Make sure that it the mop is not dripping at all after you take it out of the bucket. Even a mop that is this “dry” is still very wet.
  • Streaks can also be avoided by going over the floor not just once with the mop, but at least twice. This will allow the tile floor to absorb the combined water and cleaning solution much easier and will prevent streaking.

When you are physically mopping the floor, remember to do the following:

First, remember to err on the side of using too little solution when combining it with water in the bucket. If you use too much, the tile floor will struggle to absorb it and it will not only take a long time to dry, but it will also be a lot more dense than usual and might remove some of the gloss on the tile.

Also, make sure to move the mop from side to side very slowly. Allow the water and solution in the mop to work its way onto the tile. 

Unless you have mopped a substantial mess or stain, do not place the mop back into the bucket until your mopping session is finished. If you place the mop back into the bucket then take it back out and mop the floor with it again, it will add an additional layer of water and solution onto your already mopped floor. This is another thing that could remove the gloss from the surface.

Mopping a tile floor the right way is not nearly as complicated as it needs to be.

If you have the right materials and know what to do, you’ll be able to mop tile floors perfectly without any problems.

And when you get into the habit of mopping tile floors perfectly, your floor will thank you for it. Not only will the floors look as good as new, but they will be cleaner for a lot longer than if you used any method of mopping them that is less than optimal.

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