How to mop a floor

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…and not get trapped in the corner.

Everybody does it at least once. Even the most experienced of cleaners set about a room with a mop and bucket, get it sparkling clean, and turn to admire the fruit of their labours only to realise that there is now twenty feet of wet floor between them and the door.

mop floor trapped corner

That’s because you’ve made the basic error of not planning ahead. In anything, from mopping a floor to robbing a bank via feeding a lion, always make sure you have an escape route.

So, first things first – clean the floor you’re going to mop of all obstructions. If that means cleaning furniture and bins from the kitchen, then so be it. Then the bit everybody forgets: Sweep the floor. This gets rid of loose dirt particles and mud, which you won’t just re-distribute around the floor when you mop, or cause scratches.

Fill your bucket with hot water and your detergent of choice. There’s no need to add loads of cleaners, as you’ll just be wasting money.

Now, the important bit: Starting in the corner FURTHEST from your preferred exit, dip the mop in the bucket, then squeezed off any excess water. You want the mop damp, not wringing wet as this will take forever to dry.

Move the mop around the area with enough pressure to pick up dirt. Go with the grain on wood floors, but go for circular or figure of eight movements on other surfaces. Rinse the mop in the bucket and squeeze out again whenever it’s looking dirty. Work slowly backwards across the room, trying not to step on your own work, ensuring that the last part that you do is directly in front of your exit.


When you’re done, rinse and squeeze dry your mop, as there’s not much worse than coming back a few weeks down the line to find you’re starting with a filthy mop.

Wait for the floor to dry, move the furniture back, and short of updating your Facebook timeline with your triumph, you are done.

(In case you’re asking, the way to escape when you’re trapped in a corner is to walk carefully across the wet floor, and mop behind you as you go. It’s a bit of extra work, but consider it your punishment for getting yourself stranded in the first place)

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