Basic floor-cleaning tools that make cleaning easy

July 27, 2015

Available at any hardware store or home centre and at many supermarkets, this combination of inexpensive tools can take on the majority of floor-maintenance tasks you are likely to meet.

Basic floor-cleaning tools that make cleaning easy

Dry floor cleaning


  • Low-tech tool for quick cleanup of wood and resilient floor coverings.
  • Natural brooms are shorter-lived than synthetics but more effective.
  • Hang for storage to keep a crisp edge.
  • When soiled, dip in sudsy water, rinse and dry with a rubber band around bristles to straighten.

Dry mop:

  • For dry mopping bare floors between vacuum cleanings.
  • Push across the floor to avoid raising dust, following the grain if floor is wood.
  • Vacuum or shake mophead into a closed paper bag after each use.
  • Hang to store.
  • Wash by hand in hot sudsy water, rinse and air-dry. Or place detachable mop head in a net bag and machine wash and dry.

Wet floor cleaning

String mop:

  • Use damp, not wet, to remove dirt and grime from washable resilient floors, and only after sweeping or vacuuming excess.
  • For light jobs, use clear water.
  • For dirtier surfaces, add detergent and rinse with a second mop and pail.
  • Wash in hot, sudsy water after each use, rinse thoroughly, shake to separate strings and hang or turn upside down to dry and store.
  • Never keep a damp mop on the floor or in a bucket, as it will soon take on odour.

Sponge mop:

  • An alternative to the string mop; it follows the same general washing rules.
  • Most sponge mops come with a simple-to-use self-wringing attachment on the head or handle.
  • Sponge mops are not suitable for rough-textured floors.
  • Wash and rinse sponge head after each use, then stand mop upside down to dry.
  • Moisten sponge to soften just before each reuse to prevent cracking.
  • Replace head as it wears thin to avoid scratching the floor.

Scrub brushes:

  • Effective for cleaning rough surfaces, heavily soiled resilient flooring and outdoor porches.
  • Scrub by hand or attach it to the end of a long pole; wash with long strokes.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Wash bristles in hot, sudsy water after each use. Rinse in clear water; shake and let dry with the bristles down.


  • For all washable surfaces.
  • Dip into hot or warm, sudsy water and squeeze thoroughly.
  • Rub surface with firm strokes.
  • Use separate sponge for rinse water.
  • Clean sponges in hot, sudsy water; rinse and squeeze dry. If especially dirty, put cellulose sponges in net bag and machine wash with a general load.
  • Dry naturally — not in a hot dryer.


  • A bucket with a wringer works well with a string mop, which is hard to wring by hand.
  • Two buckets — for wash and for rinse — are better than one.
  • Rinse thoroughly after each use.
  • Air-dry rubber, plastic and galvanized-metal buckets.
  • Check handle from time to time for firmness.

By keeping a full arsenal of cleaning tools around your home, you'll be able to handle any mess on your floors with ease.

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