Mopping one's floor is often an overlooked part of housecleaning
. A well mopped floor is not merely aesthetical, but also practical, as mopping helps maintain sanitation
in your house, prevents slips and falls, and protects the floor against long term staining from traffic, the environment and aging. However mopping is not as simple as just getting water on a mop and spreading with reckless abandon. Following is the method I learned from my time as a plebe
(read: Bachelor's Degree
in room cleaning and personnel inspections at the Naval Academy
Order of Battle
1 mop. Read below for information on mop selection
Source of both hot water and cold water.
1 old Cotton Shirt. You will not be wearing it again.
1-2 Scotch Brite(TM) Pads.
1 Bottle of Mr. Clean(TM) Household Cleaner, Concentrate. Increase amount for large floors.
1 Bottle of Mop 'N Glo(TM) Non-Wax Surface Agent.
Introduction State and Mission Completion Time Estimation
Empty, swept floor. 2 hours of uninterrupted labor time.
Desired End state
Floor stripped, mopped, and waxed. No marks. Inspector's reflection visible in floor. Floor so clean that you could eat off it if only you could get some food out of the chow hall.
Execution of Objectives
1 - Mop Selection
1.1 - Select a mop based on your floor type. Textured floors require a mop with cotton threads forming a loose head with no definite shape (i.e. the classic mop). Textured floors are often found in gymnasiums, on ship decks, and in kitchens to prevent slipping. If choosing this mop, ensure that one of your two buckets has a wringer attached.
1.2 - Otherwise, your floor is smooth. Examples are hardwood, linoleum or tile. Operatives encountering smooth floors should select a sponge-headed mop. Such a mop should feature a self-wringing device.
2 - Strip the Floor
2.1 - Fill one of the buckets with cold water. The colder the water the better. Do not use ice water. Quarter fill the other bucket with hot water. The hotter the better, but do not make the water so hot that you will scald yourself. As each of these supplies become tepid or dirty, you will need to replace the water supply. To the hot water, add the Mr. Clean cleanser. The ratio should be approximately one part water to one part cleanser. Agitate the hot water supply to mix the cleanser and water. The hot water aids in cleaning and also ensures a more even distribution of cleanser and water.
2.2 - Take a Scotch Brite pad and soak in the hot water solution.(Warning: Scotch Brite pads may damage hardwood floors. A suitable replacement may be necessary. Consider a soft, dual-textured sponge.) Scrub a 2 foot by 2 foot square. Elbow grease is the most important factor. The Scotch Brite pad should remove accumulated dirt, scuff marks and old wax. Circular motions in alternating, opposing directions are highly effective.
2.2.1- Note that any dirt, marks or wax remaining constitutes mission failure.
2.3 - Immediately take sponge and soak in cold water. Wring. Soak up the Mr. Clean/contaminant mixture on your floor. Rinse sponge in cold water bucket. The cold water helps prevent contaminants from suspending in solution, and ensures that the rinses are more effective. Repeat until no cleaner remains on the floor.
2.4 - Repeat objectives 2.3-2.4 on another 2 foot by 2 foot square until the entire floor has been stripped and washed. Empty cold water and hot water buckets and fill cold water bucket. Soak mop in cold water and rinse the floor until floor is not sticky (a sign of cleanser residue).
At this point a textured floor is complete after air-drying. Do not attempt to wax the floor. Allow smooth floors to dry before wax application.
3 - Wax Application
3.1 - Tightly wrap cotton T-shirt around head of sponge mop.
3.1.1 - Apply small amount of hot water to T-shirt. Shirt should be damp, but not wet.
3.2 - Begin in corner of room. Apply Mop 'N Glow to 4 foot by 2 foot rectangle. Allow egress route that does not cross a waxed area. Spread wax smoothly and thinly across a larger area until wax no longer spreads.
3.3 - Repeat 3.1.1 - 3.2 until entire floor has been waxed. Allow to dry. Repeat by adding at least 4 layers of wax. Many thin layers will create depth to shine on the floor, while a few thick layers will create unwanted splotches. Allow a long period of drying after the final coat of wax.
3.4 - Remove shirt from sponge mop head. Empty hot water bucket. Fill with hottest water possible. Wet mop the floor. A hot water mopping at the end helps melt the wax, allowing the wax to evenly distribute and increases the gloss on the floor by "buffing" the wax.
3.5 - Allow to dry. Floor is now complete and furniture may be replaced, supplies stowed, and traffic allowed through area.