It’s a common discovery these days when you buy a home: you pull up outdated linoleum or carpeting, only to find beautiful hardwood floors. Or maybe you always had hardwood flooring in your home. The only problem? You know wood floors need special care, but you don’t know where to begin. One of the biggest mistakes people make is just sweeping the floor. Sweeping with a traditional bristle broom isn’t going to get all of the dust and dirt off the floor.
Buying a disposable dry mop system may seem like a good option, but it’s only producing more garbage, which isn’t good for the environment, and they aren’t very efficient either. No worries, we’ll help you find the best mop for dusting hardwood floors so you can efficiently and easily keep those beautiful floors in great condition.
Why Choose a Dust Mop?
Sweeping vs. Dry Mopping
As we have all experienced, sweeping only gets some of the dust and dirt off the floor. If you have a lot of dirt or other larger debris on the floor, you might want to use a broom or a vacuum. However, it’s important to remember that even vacuums can’t pick up everything, and they aren’t great at getting into some areas.
Sweeping to remove dust is a very bad idea. Sweeping will only move dust around and if you have allergies like I do, you’ll probably have an allergy attack before you can finish one room. Even if you don’t have allergies, sweeping is going to put more dust into the air or move dust around so you won’t ever truly get all of the dust.
Why Buy a Dry-Mop When I Already Have a Disposable System?
Disposable systems may seem like a good option. Their problem is the fact that they are disposable. Disposable dry cloths for these systems aren’t recyclable, and they aren’t biodegradable. In fact, they are made of polyester and polypropylene. Polyester is made using a chemical reaction involving coal and petroleum. Both polyester and polypropylene are petroleum derived.
You may have heard a lot of information in the news about plastic straws being a major pollution problem, as they aren’t recyclable, or biodegradable. What you might not know is plastic straws are made of polypropylene. So every time you use a disposable dry cloth like that, you are putting more unrecyclable plastic in landfills, and many will likely end up polluting the environment around the world. Companies that make these disposable systems, try to promote their products as sustainable, but in reality, they are engaging in a propaganda technique known as greenwashing.
Another problem with these disposable systems is they might trap dust and hair in their dry pads, but if you’ve ever used one, I’m sure you’ve noticed you need to replace the pads frequently, sometimes for each room you are dry mopping. This only adds to the sustainability problem.
You may say, “but my disposable system has a swiveling head, and gets under furniture and tight places.” A reusable dust mop will do that too. And the mop heads of dust mops are heavier, so you won’t have to fight with the mop handle as the mop head flips over when you are trying to get under furniture or turning the mop head to get into a tight corner, which you typically have to do with flat mops. A reusable dust mop is a much better choice to clean hardwood floors or any hard floor for that matter.
Dry Mopping vs. Wet Mopping
You may be wondering, why not just sweep or vacuum and use a wet mop? Well, as we already covered, just sweeping or vacuuming isn’t going to get everything, especially not all dirt, dust, and pet hair. Using a wet mop is necessary, but if you don’t dust beforehand, you’ll just move the dirt and dust around, making that freshly mopped floor look pretty dingy.
Choosing the Best Mop for Dusting Hardwood Floors
By now I’m sure you’re on board with getting a dry dust mop. But how do you choose the best dust mop? Read on to learn more about choosing the best dust mops. First, let’s go over the key features to look for in a floor mop:
- Sturdy handle (like a steel handle)
- Dust mop head made with synthetic fiber
- Static-charged mop head
- Wedge-shaped head
- Heavy head to prevent flipping
- Sturdy head attachment
- Wider mop surface area
Some of the features are obvious, like having a sturdy handle and a sturdy head attachment. I’ll explain the rest of the features. A wedge-shaped mop head is better at getting into corners and tight spaces than a rectangular mop head, it’s also easier to swivel a wedge-shaped mop head. As we discussed earlier, those disposable dust mops also flip a lot, which is frustrating, and time-consuming.
What About the Other Features?
I know some of the features may seem confusing or seem to contradict other features. Like, how do you have a mop designed to fit into tight spaces, but also have a wider surface area? It’s possible, in fact, it was a common feature in dust mops decades ago, and that is the extended yarn or fringe of a traditional mop for dusting. It allows for a larger surface area in an open space but doesn’t affect the actual size of the mop head since the fringe will move when cleaning hard to reach places. So it can be used in almost any area of your house.
You might also wonder why a synthetic fiber is the best material when we already discussed how the synthetic material in disposable dust mops are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable. The issue isn’t so much in the material used. Petroleum-derived materials are all over the place, beside textile uses like in clothing and cleaning tools, every plastic is petroleum-derived. The problem is when we use these products and dispose of them after a single-use, or otherwise replace them frequently. But a sturdy reusable dust mop that can last for years is a more eco-friendly option in the long run.
It’s also important to note, that while cotton and microfiber mops make good wet mops, a cotton dust mop or microfiber mop just don’t clean as well as many synthetic fiber mops when dry mopping. In fact, it’s one of the few ways a disposable system is a better mop for hardwood floor dusting, because synthetic fibers like polyester, can be charged with static electricity. And I think it’s safe to say, you probably know that feature can help pick up dust and hair better than a material that isn’t static-charged.
Unfortunately, disposable sheets can lose their static charge before you even use them! A good dust mop should be able to maintain its static charge no matter how many times you use it, even if you wash it.
What’s the Best Hardwood Floor Mop for Dusting?
Champion Supplies doesn’t like to toot their own horn, but the Champion Old Fashioned Dust Mop is a great tool to have in your hardwood floor cleaning arsenal. I’m a bit of a skeptic and I’m not easily won over, but I was quite impressed with this product. This mop is one of the best mops I’ve ever used. It checks off every feature I look for in a dust mop. It has a durable steel handle, very wide surface coverage thanks to the extra-long fringe, and this mop head never flips on me or moves the wrong way like my old disposable system.
It’s a great tool for heavy-duty cleaning, and the unique synthetic fiber Champion created, called Elecrylin, not only comes with a powerful synthetic charge, but it won’t lose its charge. It lasts through many uses and even when washed according to instructions, although it doesn’t really need to be washed.
It’s so easy to use and it leaves my floor clean every time. This is especially important because I have severe dust and animal dander allergies. And yes, I know it’s silly to have cats when I’m allergic to them, but I know I can breathe easy when I have such an effective cleaning tool. The only downside I’ve noticed so far? My cats chase it every time I dry mop. But it also encourages my daughter to dry mop so maybe it’s not that bad.
How Else Can I Take Care of My Hardwood Floors?
You may still feel a little unsure of how to clean your hardwood floors. It may seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as you may think. The following is a list of tools you’ll need to maintain those beautiful floors:
- Soft bristle broom, and/or;
- A vacuum with a hard floor setting
- Dust mop
- Wet mop
- A gentle cleanser as recommended by the floor manufacturer (optional)
A big part of keeping a hardwood floor clean is making sure to clean up any spill or mess on the floor as soon as possible. The following guide of step by step instructions is the best way to clean hardwood floors. Please note, this guide is for regular cleaning and maintenance only. You will need more in-depth cleaning and restoring techniques for a damaged or dull hardwood floor.
Step 1: Sweep and vacuum
While you can choose to sweep every day, make sure to sweep or vacuum at least once a week. Use your vacuum’s hard floor setting as it turns off the brush which could damage the floor.
Step 2: Dry mop
No matter how you decide to take care of the bigger messes, dry mopping the floor with a dust mop every day is essential to maintaining a hardwood floor.
Step 3: Mop with a wet mop
Mop your hardwood floors at least once a week. The most important thing to remember is you must follow these important guidelines for mopping with a wet mop:
- Use a string, cotton, and/or microfiber mop only
- Don’t use harsh or abrasive cleaning agents
- Don’t use wood polish sprays or oils
- Don’t pour water on the floor or use a soaked/dripping mop
Although a cotton or microfiber dust mop isn’t great for dry mopping, they are fine for wet mopping. Do not use a mop with a scrubber or a deck brush. You should only use a soft mop head. If you have a stuck-on mess, like spilled food, use a cleaning rag, with a gentle cleaning agent. It’s best to use really hot water. Soak the cloth and wring it out, then place it on the affected area for a few minutes, then wipe away. As a last resort you can use a scraper after trying to loosen the stuck-on mess with the steaming cleaning rag, but keep in mind you may scratch the floor and remove some of the finish.
If you know the manufacturer of your floor, use their recommended detergent. If not, you may use something mild, like liquid dish soap, or cleaning products designed specifically for hardwood floors. Never use so-called “hacks” or DIY methods like vinegar or lemon juice. Likewise, don’t use bleach, ammonia, or any other harsh cleaning agents. When in doubt, just use plain water.
Although it’s less likely to damage your hardwood floors with polishes than it is with cleaners, I don’t recommend using any polishing sprays or oils. They can make a floor dangerously slick, especially floors with an epoxy resin finish or sealant.
It’s very important that you don’t use a saturated mop, spray the floor, or pour your cleaning mix or water onto the floor. I made this mistake once. While you may not be familiar with the practice of pouring mop water/mix, it’s a method I picked up because I worked in foodservice. It’s a common practice in the industry, to pour hot water mixed with floor cleaner on the floors, use a deck brush to scrub the whole floor, then use a regular mop to soak up the remaining water, or squeegee the water to a floor drain.
I’ve always used this method on linoleum and tile floors, so I didn’t give it a second thought when I had to clean a hardwood floor in a house I was renting years ago. Luckily, the floor was already desperately in need of a refinish and my landlord wasn’t upset, but it did warp sections of the floor. I learned from my mistake and haven’t used the technique since. Now I use a damp mop with plain water on my hardwood floors.
Lastly, make sure to dry the floor quickly. You can use fans and open up your windows, or use a dry microfiber cloth to make sure the floor is completely dry. If your floors are finished with wax you can apply wax after it dries, not necessarily after every mop. Don’t use wax on resin/high gloss finishes because it dulls the floor and serves no purpose.
Now you know properly caring for hardwood floors isn’t as daunting as it once seemed. Especially when you have a great reusable dust mop in your cleaning arsenal. And you are one step closer to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Now I know you can confidently care for your hardwood flooring, so go show that dusty floor who’s boss! I hope you liked this article because I always love sharing my tips, from my home to yours.