3 Things at Home You Need to “Hand Mop”

published Mar 5, 2019
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A clean, natural-lit white kitchen with wood countertops
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

As much as we love the cleaning tools and hacks that promise to make cleaning as quick and painless as possible, there’s no real substitute for our own eyes and hands. Getting down on hands and knees and mopping the old-fashioned, bucket-and-rag way results in a detailed kind of clean that no other method provides and that, every once in a while, is so worth it.

When you get yourself on a different level, you’ll see things that haven’t been cleaned in a very long time. Here’s how to get yourself set up and where to focus your valiant “cleaning by hand” efforts:

Set Up

  • Fill a mop bucket three-quarters full with hot water and your favorite cleaner. I personally opt for this multi-surface concentrate
  • Get a rag and a scrubbing brush
  • Optional, but handy: Gather some cotton swabs and a Magic Eraser
  • Put on cleaning gloves
(Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani)

3 Places to Hand Mop

You don’t have to get down and dirty all over your home, but these three places seem to require a more up-close touch.

1. Under appliances

You probably don’t move your appliances very often, and it’s very likely some messes have made their way under them. Even if it’s just under the bottom rims of your fridge, dishwasher, or stove, getting under those areas with your rag will clean spots that a vacuum cleaner and mop just can’t get to. If you can, move your appliances so you can clean all the way under them. Vacuum first and then rub your rag over the area. Scrub with the brush to get any stubborn sticky spots.

2. The “seams”

These are the little edges and corners that dust and dirt get pushed into and that are too small or intricate for routine cleaning to reach. Some examples include the areas between the floors and the toe kicks under your kitchen cabinets, or the spaces where your quarter-inch molding and the floors meet. Another hot spot is the corners where floor molding meets or the edges where floor transition pieces and floors meet. In most instances, running your rag-covered finger and finger nail along these spots is enough to get them clean. If you need to augment with a few cotton swabs, now is the time. You’ll enjoy these freshly-cleaned spots more than you expect (even if you’re the only one who really knows about them).

3. Baseboards, walls, and doors

Change out your mop water and move up. While you’re getting the floors, you’ll notice spots on your baseboards that could use a good hand-wash. Get these now. For tougher marks, try a Magic Eraser. At this point, it’s sort of a “if you give a mouse a cookie situation.” As you do your baseboards, you’ll notice how dirty your walls are, especially around the kitchen table. Your wet rag should get these areas clean pretty easily. While you’re at it, give your doors a good rub-down as well.