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HOME MAINTENANCE : A Floor's-Eye View of the Correct Tool to Use in a Mop-Up Operation

September 25, 1993|From Associated Press

Three types of mops--dust mop, wet mop and sponge mop--are commonly used for floor care.

Wet Mop

A wet mop with cotton strings is used to clean dirt and grime from washable, resilient floors and hard-surfaces such as ceramic tile.

* Use all-purpose cleaner or detergent with a wet mop. The mop should be wet but not sopping.

* Wring it with a wringer attached to a bucket. It does a much better job than you can do by hand.

* Wash a wet mop in hot sudsy water after each use. Rinse it thoroughly and shake it to separate the strings.

* Hang a mop or turn it head-up to dry--in the sun, if possible. Otherwise, keep the door to the storage closet open slightly until the mop is dry.

* Never store a wet mop in a pail; it may sour or mildew. If this happens to a cotton string mop, soak it for a few minutes in a weak solution of 1/2 cup of household chlorine bleach in a gallon of water. Rinse several times and dry.

* Trim a cotton string mop occasionally with strong scissors.

Sponge Mop

A sponge mop is used for cleaning moderate-size, resilient and hard-surface floors.

* Soak it in sudsy cleaning solution and squeeze until just damp. Clean with firm strokes. Rinse, then repeat.

* Wash and rinse the mop in hot, sudsy water after each use, then stand it upside down to dry, preferably outside in the shade. Moisten it occasionally to keep it from "drying hard."

* If the sponge alone is detachable from the mop head, throw it into the washing machine with a general load, or with a bleach load if the sponge is smelly. Zip it into a net bag to keep the sponge from falling apart.

Dust Mop

A dust mop is used for picking up particles from bare wood floors between vacuumings.

* Wool or synthetic mop heads are best; their static cling attracts dust. Oil-treated mops also trap dirt but can turn floor wax gummy. Use them only on wood floors with oil finishes.

* Lifting the mop head scatters dust. Plot a course that lets you wipe the mop across the entire area, following the grain of the wood.

* Always clean a dust mop before you store it. If you can't shake it outside, shake it in a larger paper or plastic bag after each use or vacuum it clean.

* Wash a soiled mop by hand in hot, sudsy water with a mild detergent. Rinse it and dry it in a breezy, shady place. Or place it in a net bag and run it through the washer and dryer.

* Always hang a dust mop to store it.

Mopping Tips

Here are some mopping tips:

* Most non-wood floors can be kept clean by damp mopping with clear water.

* First, sweep or vacuum to remove loose debris. Then dip a string or sponge mop into clear water, squeeze out the excess and clean no more than a three-square foot area at a time.

* To clean more thoroughly, mop with water and a cleaning solution recommended for your floor. Be sure to read the label when choosing a product; abrasives and alkaline cleansers can damage vinyl, asphalt tile and other resilient flooring.

* For fast cleanup, use two mops and two buckets, one with cleaning solution and the other with clear water.

* Wet a section of the floor with the solution, let it stand, then mop to remove dirt.

* Rinse with clear water.

* Flood high-traffic areas of your home with the cleaning solution. Don't flood tiles or seamed areas of sheet flooring, however. The seepage could dissolve the floor adhesive.

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