Quite often, cleaning floor procedures are completed with unsatisfactory results. The chemical, floor pads, mops, machines and even the janitor are blamed for the poor results. The correction may be as simple as the way the person is using the cleaning supplies…the technique of the procedure itself. This is often the difference between great results and poor results. But perhaps a larger benefit of using the correct cleaning technique for each cleaning step is the assistance in reducing both worker fatigue and injuries to the back and shoulders.

This article will cover the correct cleaning techniques for the most common floor cleaning procedures of Dust Mopping and Wet/Damp Mopping. Each technique and tip is illustrated with diagrams.         

Cleaning floors is simple and easy if you use a holistic approach to cleaning. The correct chemical, equipment and tools are critical components to cleaning floors but just as important is using the correct technique when cleaning floors. Utilizing the following simple techniques will help deliver great results easily with less fatigue and reduced risk of Back/Shoulder injury.         

The proper technique of cleaning can be applied by both commercial and residential users and on any type of floor.         


Cleaning Floors – Proper Procedure Techniques   


Cleaning Floors – Dust Mopping


  • When using a dust mop, always keep the dust mop flat on the floor at all times (See Figure 1). It should only be picked up after the entire floor has been dust moped and when the loose soil trapped in the mop needs to be shaken out and discarded in the trash.

Figure 1-Keep Dust Mop Flat on Floor


  • Plan your Work: Always work from the farthest end of the floor space to an opening for exiting the floor. This will prevent the worker from becoming trapped in a corner. (See Figure 2)

Figure 2-Start at Farthest Point and Work towards Opening


  • Walk in straight forward motion to dust mop and return by turning around in the opposite direction (See Figure 3) to continue dust mopping slightly overlapping the prior pass by one inch until the entire floor is completely dust mopped. Do not use sweeping movements as with a push broom and always keep the dust mop flat on the floor. Otherwise, the loose debris trapped in the dust mop will spread and scatter back onto the floor.

Figure 3-Walk in a Straight Line and Loop Back


  • When finished Dust mopping, shake the dust mop into a trash receptacle (See Figure 4).

Figure 4- Shake Dust Mop into Trash Can



Cleaning Floors – Wet or Damp Mopping or Applying Floor Finish/Wax


  • After dust mopping has been completed and prior to wet cleaning the floor, always display Wet Floor signs and/or Barricade Caution Tape (See Figure 5). These will assist in preventing slip and fall accidents. Wet floors are slippery.

Figure 5-Display Wet Floor Signs Prior to wet Mopping the Floor


  • Plan your work: Always work from the farthest end of the floor space to an opening for exiting the floor. This will prevent the worker from becoming trapped in a corner. (See Figure 6)

Figure 6-Start at Farthest Point and Work towards Opening


  • Whether performing floor cleaning by wet mopping or damp mopping or using a wet mop to apply floor finish/wax, always stand in a upright position, with your back straight and both hands on the mop handle in a present arms position with hands (See Figure 7). Standing upright with a person’s back straight will help eliminate back injuries and greatly reduce fatigue of the worker. Never hunch over and move the mop forward and backward like a lawnmower. This motion will create fatigue which greatly reduces productivity and can cause injury to the back and shoulders.

Figure 7- Stand Upright with back straight and both hands on the Mop Handle


  • After dipping the Mop in Bucket filled with cleaner solution and using the wringer to wring out excess solution; using less wringer pressure if wet mopping and more wringer pressure if damp mopping, apply the mop to the floor and start by outlining your work (See Figure 8).

Figure 8-Outline your cleaning work with the Mop


  • After outlining the area your cleaning, go back and clean the area within your outline. (See Figure 9)

Figure 9-Clean the area within the outline


  • Helpful Hint: Always use a “Figure 8” motion to wet mop, damp or lay floor finish/wax with a mop. This motion increases proper cleaning coverage; assists in avoiding any missed spots and speeds up the cleaning or waxing process. (See Figure 10)

Figure 10-Use a "Figure 8" motion when mopping


  • Helpful Safety Tip: Especially needed for a commercial location but also in a residence, always use personal protection equipment (PPE). Following this safety tip will reduce accidents and injuries. Always read the directions and precautions on the cleaning product label and review the cleaning chemical’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). (See Figure 11)

Figure 11- Safety Equipment, Google, Gloves, Boots, Etc.



Cleaning Floors – Helpful Reference Websites


 International Sanitary Supply Association

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