When I’m mopping my kitchen, bathroom and wood floors, I’m always always thinking about mold and bacteria. I may be crazy, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I worry that I’m just pushing the dirt and grime back and forth and into new crevices and corners with my rag mop. My brain asks the questions, “When I dunk my mop in the bucket of hot water and cleaner, am I rinsing the grime off and killing the mold and bacteria, or am I putting it back on the floor? Am I actually cleaning my home of potential health concerns when I mop?”
Rather than continue to question the value of my cleaning, I decided to do something about it. First, I researched the best mop to be using—old school rag mop, steam mop, sponge mop, Wet Jet squirt mop—what is the best choice? There are two answers to this question: The first is a steam mop.
Steam mops are extremely efficient, and heat the floor to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills 99.9% of bacteria without using any chemicals.
The second is a rag mop. Rag mops can get floors cleaner and can absorb more water back off of the floor than any other option. Rag mops are also ridiculously inexpensive, and the mop end can be unscrewed from the pole at the end of cleaning, disinfected, and tossed into the washing machine on a hot water cycle with bleach to thoroughly clean it between uses. In other words, there is a good reason why people have been using them for decades to clean their floors. The rag mop is my choice, and rest of the information only pertains to when you are using a mop-and-bucket cleaning method.
When I’m mopping, I have the added concern of mold. I never want mop water on my floors to increase the mold counts in my home. I also want any mold that has been tracked in from the outside to be eliminated when I mop. So, I decided to test out some “homemade” mop solutions that kill bacteria and mold, will not harm my floors or my family’s health and also won’t break the bank. This is NOT a scientific test. I just mixed a bunch of my favorite natural cleaners that are proven anti-bacterial and antifungals, mopped with them at different times, and waited to see which mixtures produced the cleanest, freshest floors. Here are my findings:
For all types of floors, I start with what I like to refer to as my All-Purpose Floor-Cleaning Solution—nothing cleans dirt and grime better than hot soapy water. So, for this, I add to my mop bucket, which holds about 2 gallons, 2 tablespoons of an all-natural liquid dish soap (I actually make my own by mixing 1 cup of castile soap with about 4 tablespoons of purified water and 4-5 drops of lemon or orange essential oil), and then hot water to fill.
The first additions are for mopping laminate, vinyl, and tile surfaces. I would not use these on wood floors, because they may strip the finish. Each addition is to be used alone with the All-Purpose Cleaner:
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- ¼ cup Hydrogen Peroxide (Make sure it is the 3% drugstore brand, or it will be too strong)
- ¼ cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
The following additions can be used on all types of floors surfaces safely. Again, I would use each of these alone with the All-Purpose Cleaning solution:
- 2 ounces of EC3 Laundry Additive
- 10 drops of CitriDrops
- 10-20 drops of tea tree oil
- 10 drops of lemon oil and 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract
The one that I use most often and keep going back to, because I love the scent, is the one with the Laundry Additive. I love that any residue that is left on my floors is actually working for me to kill and prevent mold growth. I also love that it won’t cause my son to have an allergic reaction, because of chemicals or added scent.
I hope you will try some of my suggestions and let me know what you like best.