How to Properly Clean Your Mop: A Step-by-Step Guide

Project Overview
  • WORKING TIME: 5-10 min
  • TOTAL TIME: 1-2 hours

Foot traffic brings a lot of germs and grime into your home every day, making mops an invaluable tool for keeping your floors sparkling clean. 

However, a mop that’s not properly cleaned can turn into a vehicle for bacteria, spreading them across your floors instead of eliminating them. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure the mop head is cleaned correctly.

Depending on your mop type, you can clean it in the sink or your washing machine. This guide is designed to show you the most effective ways to do just that.

How Often Should You Wash Your Mop Head?

You should clean your wet mop or dust mop whenever there is visible soil on it. Otherwise, it will spread grime back onto your floors during your next cleaning session. 

That being said, how often you wash your mop head depends also on how large your floor space is and how much dust or dirt is on the surface. 

For example, if you’re mopping floors with a high soil level, your mop will need more regular cleaning. 

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Bucket or sink
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Washing machine
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)


  • Warm water
  • Mild detergent or dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Household bleach
  • Laundry detergent (liquid preferred)

How To Clean a Mop In a Sink/Bucket

Recommended method for

  • Sponge mop heads
  • Mops with non-detachable heads
  • Mops with metal or hard plastic parts

of 06


Before applying any cleaning solution, pre-rinse the dirty mop head under running warm water to remove as much loose dirt, dust, and debris as possible.

But please, avoid hot water.

of 06

Prepare The Cleaning Solution

Mix warm water with a mild detergent in a bucket or sink for cleaning. To sanitize, you have two options:

  • For a non-toxic method, add 1 cup of white vinegar to the solution.
  • For a stronger disinfectant, use a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.
of 06

Soak the Mop

Submerge the mop head in the bucket or the sink. And allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes (if not longer) to loosen dirt and eliminate germs.

Scrub if necessary. Use a stiff-bristle brush to remove any stubborn dirt or stains from the mop head. 

Since this step is a bit gross, don’t hesitate to use cleaning gloves.

of 06

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the mop pad under running water until the water runs clear, ensuring all cleaning and sanitizing agents are washed away.

of 06

Dry Completely

Wring out the mop as much as possible, then hang it in a well-ventilated area or outdoors to air dry completely. This is crucial to prevent mildew and bacteria growth.

of 06

Store Properly

Once the mop is fully dry, store it in a cool, dry place, preferably hanging so that the mop head does not touch the floor.

If hanging the mop isn’t an option, look for a mop holder that keeps the mop head elevated off the floor or a hook to hang the mop by its handle. 

Another option is to lean against a wall or place the mop horizontally on a shelf.

How To Clean a Mop Head In The Washing Machine

Recommended method for

  • Flat mop pads
  • String mop heads
  • Spin mop heads
  • Steam mop pads
  • Dust mop heads

of 04

Pre Rinse

Begin by thoroughly rinsing your mop under clear water. 

Whether your mop is a spin, string, or sponge mop, a quick rinse with warm water is essential. This initial step removes any immediate dust, dirt, or leftover soap residue, setting the stage for deeper cleaning of the washing machine.

of 04

Wash Separately

Always wash your mop head separately. 

Mixing your mop with other laundry can result in lint attachment, which compromises the cleaning efficiency of your mop by clogging its fibers.

To clean your mop head without running the washing machine for just it alone, you can either wait until you have enough cleaning items, like microfiber cloths and cleaning towels, to make a full load or use a mesh laundry bag to prevent lint transfer.

of 04

Select the Appropriate Washing Settings

Opt for a gentle wash cycle, maintaining the water temperature below 210°F (99°C) and the dryer temperature within the range of 120 to 140°F (49 to 60°C). 

Exceeding these temperatures could damage the mop’s fibers. 

We also advise you to steer clear of fabric softeners. Their residue can coat the mop fibers, hindering their ability to capture and hold dirt. 

Prefer liquid detergents for their compatibility with mop materials.

of 04

Let it Dry

Ensuring your mop dries completely is crucial in preventing the growth of mildew or mold. 

The best method is air drying, ideally on a clothesline under direct sunlight. Sunlight acts as a natural disinfectant, killing potential mold and bacteria. 

If outdoor drying isn’t an option, choose a well-ventilated indoor area to hang your mop for air drying.

Tips To Keep Your Mop Sanitary

  • Always replace or discard worn-out mop heads with lost strands. Lost strands can reduce its performance and increase the time it takes to get the job done. For example, a mop with only 75% of its original strands will add up to 1/3 of additional cleaning time.
  • If you’re mopping rough surfaces, clean in a direction that reduces snagging. Uneven surfaces can cause wear on your mop’s head. So if you can, try and use one particular mop on rough surfaces. 
  • Cut off and remove loose strands to prevent pulling and snagging. 
  • For best results, use a clean mop bucket with separate sections for dirty and clean water. Or, use two buckets when mopping to avoid contaminating your floors with dirty water. 
  • Always wring the mop out as much as possible after each use. Since mops are designed to hold on to moisture as you clean, especially sponge mops, it’s important to wring out as much excess water as you can after cleaning. Otherwise, dirty water can remain trapped in your mop. This can lead to mold and bacteria growth. And, it can also reduce the cleaning efficiency of your mop.
  • Never soak your mop in a bucket of water overnight. 
  • Avoid storing your clean mop inside of a cleaning bucket or on the floor.
Want to organize your life?

Our newsletter can save you time, money, and stress.