One way to reduce the cleaning needed in your home is to prevent dirt from entering the house in the first place. The American Carpet Institute estimates that 80% of a home’s dirt travels in on shoes. Halt the influx by placing sturdy mats with non-slip backing just inside all of your exterior doors. Each mats should be long enough to accommodate four steps which is about 3 to 5 feet. Also provide good exterior doormats for wiping off the heaviest street mud and dirt. The combination of the two can save you an estimated 200 hours of cleaning time each year.
Now let’s go to the washing of the floors. Most non-wood floors can be kept clean by damp-mopping with clear water. First sweep or vacuum the loose dirt then dip a string mop or sponge mop in clean water, squeeze it out so that the mop is merely damp. Excess water can damage resilient floors, it will penetrate the seams of vinyl sheet flooring or tiles, causing the edges to lift and/or curl up. Too much water is even more troublesome where wood floors are concerned for it can dissolve the protective coatings, alter the color or even raise the grain to roughen the surface. So always make sure to wring out your mop until it’s almost dry.
And always make sure to reserve a mop for rinsing. To thoroughly clean any floor it is important to have two buckets, one for the washing solution and another for the rinse water. If having two buckets seems like too much equipment for you to store between washings then consider using a plastic wastebasket as the rinse bucket. Wash the wastebasket before and after using it as a bucket. And if you use two buckets, you should also work with two mops, one for cleaning and the other one for rinsing. The two-mop approach will not only result in a cleaner floor, but it will also save you time, because you won’t have to stop to get the dirty water out with each pass of the mop.