Should I mop or vacuum first? I bet that’s a question you never really asked yourself. Obviously, it’s not something many people wonder about, but…what if you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life?

While there is no “right” or “wrong” way to clean, you can’t deny that some methods are more efficient than others. If you’re unsure what the “proper” order is, don’t worry. By the end of this article, you will know all there is to know about floor cleaning, and more.

The Different Types of “Dirty”

In order to get your floor looking as good as new, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Usually, there are two layers of dirt:

  • the surface one (the “looser” layer made out of dust, hair, crumbs, etc.)
  • the bottom one (the stickier layer underneath, which consists of spilled liquids, pieces of food, etc.)

You’ll want to get rid of all that and make your floor nice and shiny again. So, how do you go about it, and where should you start?

Why You Should Start by Vacuuming

As I mentioned, the surface layer is looser than the one waiting for you underneath. Dust particles can move around freely, and your vacuum cleaner can easily suck them in.

If you started by mopping, however, you would, for the most part, simply move the particles around. You would either push them under the furniture, to the corners of the room, or in the gaps between the floorboards.

If the specks are lighter, they could even rise up into the air and later settle on your furniture. Or, even worse, you could inhale some of them, and, trust me; you do not want that.

If you’re using a sponge or string mop, for example, things could get even messier. These types of mops require a solution of water and a special detergent so they can get rid of invisible pollutants. When that solution reaches dirt or dust, however, it quickly turns into a sticky sludge.

So, if you want to spare yourself the hassle, you should vacuum first to get rid of that surface layer. After that, you can mop to take care of any grime or stubborn stains.

Make sure you are extremely thorough when vacuuming: you should try and reach every little nook and cranny. That way, you’ll prevent dust from gathering and building up with time. Not only would that make future cleaning more difficult but it can also be detrimental to your health.

You should also make sure you’re using the right kind of vacuum cleaner for each floor surface (hardwood, carpet, etc.). If you don’t know what particular type to get, there are plenty of guides and videos on the subject.

Why You Should Mop After Vacuuming

As I already mentioned, vacuuming will easily get rid of dust particles, but tat’s not enough. If we really want our floor to be clean, we need to prepare for step two, which is, of course, mopping.

But first, let’s cover why this step is important and why it comes second in more detail.

No matter how much you sweep or vacuum your floors, grime will build up. Mopping is a much more “aggressive” cleaning technique because of the use of strong chemical detergents. They allow you to easily get rid of grime and any invisible pollutants.

So, what should you do if you want to mop like a pro? After you are done vacuuming, follow these steps:

  • Don’t use cold water. Mix your cleaner of choice with warm water. You should fill up half a bucket so you can fully submerge the mop in the liquid.
  • Make sure you spread the cleaning solution over the entire floor, instead of just scrubbing the visibly dirty areas. Also, you should mop each section of the floor only two to three times to avoid spreading around any dirt or dust.
  • You should mop towards the door so that you don’t have to step over the area you just cleaned.
  • You should also rinse your mop often to avoid carrying over the mess from one section of the floor to the next one.

These are the steps I follow when cleaning, and my floors have never been shinier. Still, there are plenty of other tips and tricks you can try if you want to take your cleaning game to the next level.

In Conclusion

And with that, we’re done!

I hope this article shed some light on why it’s important to vacuum first and mop second. If you’ve been doing it the other way around, don’t worry — you can always try something new. Or, if you find the reverse order works well enough, more power to you.

Still, if you’d like to switch things up a bit, you can try some of the tips and tricks mentioned here. Trust me, your floors will love you for it!

Related: Should You Dust or Vacuum First?

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