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Sticky Floors After Mopping and How to Remove the Sticky Residue

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When your floors are sticky after mopping them, it's easy to wonder why you even bothered mopping your floors in the first place. But the truth is, this inconvenience isn't that uncommon, and its typically the result of improper cleaning techniques and residue build-up. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to resolve your sticky situation.

This article will help you troubleshoot why you have sticky floors after mopping, and show you how to remove the residue build-up. By understanding why your floors are sticky, you'll learn how to prevent this problem in the future.

Mop and Red Mop Bucket on a Wood Floor

Why Are Floors Sticky After Mopping?

Why is your floor sticky after mopping? Let's explore a few common causes to help you determine which one is throwing a wrench in your housekeeping routine.

Using Too Much Cleaning Product

Be sure to follow the manufacturers recommendation on how to prepare your floor cleaning solution. Not adding enough water to your floor cleaning product is a common reason why floors are sticky after mopping them.

Most floor cleaning solutions are concentrated and are designed to be diluted with water in order to properly clean your floors. If you haven't added enough water you'll leave a soapy residue on the floor which becomes sticky as it dries, especially if you aren't properly rinsing the floor.

If you use a spray mop, this could be your problem. Spray mops have a small container which attaches to the mop that makes applying the cleaner to the floor easy. The small container makes it easy to miss the step of properly measuring the water-to-solution ratio when preparing the solution. This can result in too much cleaning product in your solution, and ultimately sticky floors after they dry.

Sticky floors can happen even with spray mops such as the Swifter Wet Jet which have pre-diluted packs of cleaning solution. This is because it's extremely easy to use too much cleaning solution over too large of an area. Before you're able to properly pick the solution up off the floor, it dries and leaves you with a sticky floor.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Product

Not every floor cleaning product is designed to work on every type of floor. If you have a wood floor with a polyurethane finish, you'll want to use a cleaner designed specifically for these floors. 

Using a wax cleaning product for floors with a polyurethane finish will create a wax build-up that will leave a sticky feel after mopping.

Floors are Still Dirty

Whether you're not cleaning your floors frequently enough or you're not using the proper cleaning procedures for your specific floor type, a sticky floor could be an indication that there's still dirt or grim on your floor. 

Each type of flooring requires a different cleaning technique. Learn how to properly clean your floor and you can eliminate a major reason why floors are sticky after mopping.

One thing to keep in mind, is that it's important to sweep or vacuum your floors before you begin mopping. Hair and dust is picked up when you sweep or vacuum, but if you miss this step, mopping alone will not be able to fully eliminate them. You'll simply be moving much of the hair and dust from one part of your floor to another.

Dirty Mop Water

Mop water needs to be changed when it gets dirty. If you're simply doing your kitchen floor, this probably won't be a problem. But if you're mopping a large area, and your mop water is dirty, you're basically just moving the dirt from one area of your house to another.

When your mop water gets dirty, it's time to get a new bucket of fresh water and cleaner.

Keep in mind, this same rule applies if you clean your floors with spray mops. When your spray mop pad gets dirty, you'll need to change it out with a clean one. 

Woman mopping kitchen floor

How to Remove the Sticky Residue From Your Floors

First, try mopping your floors using your normal technique. Take care to properly mix the cleaning solution to the manufacturers recommendations.

If your floors are still sticky after they've dried, then you need to remove the residue build-up that's causing the stickiness. Start by using a vinegar and water solution as outlined below.

Vinegar and Water Solution

The first thing to do is to mix one cup of vinegar to one gallon of water and mop your floors.

In most cases, the vinegar and water solution will remove the residue that's causing your floors to be sticky, but sometimes you'll need to try another approach.

Ammonia and Water Solution

If the vinegar and water solution didn't solve the problem, then mix a half cup of ammonia to one gallon of water and mop your floors. 

If after mopping and rinsing your floors with the ammonia and water solution, your floors are still sticky after mopping, there's one other thing you can try.

Steam Mop

In 99.9% of the cases your sticky floor crisis will be fixed by either the vinegar or ammonia solution listed above. But if it isn't, or if you're not a fan of cleaning floors with a mop and bucket, there is another option. 

But before using a steam mop, make certain that it's safe to use on your floor. If you have a tile floor this is an excellent option, but using a steam mop on a luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floor, as well as other types of flooring, could be a disaster.

A steam mop will do a great job of removing the residue build-up that's causing a sticky floor, just make sure it's safe to use for your type of flooring.

Watch the Video

This video covers why your floors are sticky after mopping and how to fix the problem.

Woman Mopping a Wood Floor

How to Prevent Sticky Floors After You Mop

Here are a few ways you can prevent sticky floors:

Use Proper Cleaning Techniques - Using the proper cleaning techniques to clean your specific floor type will ensure your floors are clean, and it will prevent them from developing a residue build-up.

Frequently Clean your Floors - Besides cleaning up spills and dirt when they occur, frequently cleaning your floors will prevent grime from building up. Dirty floors are harder to clean, so mopping them on a weekly basis will make the task easier and keep your floors cleaner.

Use the Correct Cleaning Solution - Find a cleaning solution that is designed specifically for your type of flooring, and take care to add the proper amount of water if you are using a concentrated solution. Follow the manufacturers directions carefully to ensure you are using the product as it's designed.

We highly recommend the Bona Floor Cleaners. They have a large variety of floor products and have over 100 years of experience in floor care.

Use a Steam Mop - Steam mops are excellent for some floor types, and can cause damage to others. If your floor can be cleaned with a steam mop, it's a great tool to use.

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