I'm a cleaner – this mopping mistake is actually making your home look dirtier

Typically we like to go against the grain, but we might think twice in this context

mop bucket in room with hardwood flooring
(Image credit: Future PLC / Mark Scott)

Cleaning experts reveal the proper technique when mopping your floor to prevent your home from accidentally looking dirtier than when you first started.

If you're going to spend time cleaning your floors with the best mop, then it pays to ensure you're doing it correctly, because let's be real, mopping your floor can be a lengthy task. We've asked professional cleaners and experts to weigh in on the correct way to mop your floor, and here's what they had to say.

mop bucket in room with hardwood flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC / Mark Scott)

Professional cleaners from Australia behind the TikTok account, The Big Clean Co, posted a TikTok video advising people to always mop hardwood flooring with the grain and not against it. They warned that mopping against the grain causes dirt and particles to get stuck in the crevices.

Additionally, Lily Cameron, cleaning expert at Fantastic Services commented that 'going against the grain may leave scratches or marks on the surface of the wood flooring, which can make it look less clean even if it's actually free of dirt and debris.' 

stair case with wooden floor and white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

However, despite this, she did say that going with the grain when cleaning is more so recommended to prevent damage to the wood, as opposed to being directly related to cleanliness.

'For other types of flooring, such as tile or vinyl, the direction in which you clean isn’t of that much importance. You can clean in any direction and, as long as you’re using the proper cleaning techniques and tools, your floor will be clean.'

Storage filled with cleaning supplies and brushes

(Image credit: Future PLC / Mark Scott)

When it comes to the proper technique for cleaning wooden floors, Johanna Constantinou, brand and communications director at flooring specialists Tapi actually recommends against mopping in most circumstances and instead spot-cleaning spills as soon as they happen to prevent staining.

She also suggested regularly sweeping your floor or using your best vacuum with a suction brush attachment to keep on top of debris.

living area with yellow wall and pink curtain and pink sofa and wooden floor and armchair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

'If you absolutely need to mop your wooden floors, then make sure you do so with a mop that has been rung until it is virtually dry, to prevent any warping on your floors from the water,' says Johanna Constantinou at Tapi.

'In terms of mopping with or against the grain, we would normally recommend mopping along the grain as this can help to remove dirt and build up from any grooves.'

Cream utility room with cleaning supplies

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When it comes to life, we'd typically like to stand out and go against the grain, but in the context of mopping, we're happy to follow suit and go with the grain for this one.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.