February 24

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How To Clean A Stinky/Smelly Mop (With Cleaning Mixtures)

Nothing feels and smells better than a clean home.

But nothing is great about the smelly mop you have afterward. 

Mops naturally retain moisture which is why we use them. But if they are not cleaned properly, they will become moldy and have mildew growth.

Mold and mildew will cause an unsafe home and smelly home.

Let’s dive into a 4-step solution to explain how easy it is to keep your mop smelling fresh.

​Step one: Initial Rinse & Inspection

If you are just wrapping up a mop session and you notice an instant funky smell. A good start is to rinse out the mop bucket to get it clean.

If the smell is still hanging around then we know for sure it is the mop.

Start with running hot water through your mop. Inspect the mop for any new stains. Apply a mild detergent to get out any fresh stains in your mop.

The detergent will break down the substance of the stain, leaving you with a cleaner mop.

If the mop has threads spread them out to ensure the water is getting into the middle of the mop.

The dirtiest part of the mop is the center of the mop head, unfortunately, it is also the hardest part to clean.

Remember this is only for spot treatment. Do not douse your whole mop head in detergent. It will add a lot of time to your cleaning.

You can also try to clean the whole mops or disinfect them if needed.

​Step Two: Second Rinse

Rinse your mop out of any and all soap. Soap or commercial cleaning products will leave an oily residue in your mop.

This will cause your fibers to “clog” up. The cleaners will also cause your mop to retain moisture.

Which is not what we want when we are cleaning and drying the mop! Wringing your mop out will make step number 3 go a little quicker.

If you do not think you got all of the cleaner out then do a quick vinegar or bleach rinse. This will remove any remaining residue.

​Step Three: Drying the Mop

Let your mop airdry or sunbake. Air circulation is critical in drying your mop and having it be smell free.

If it’s a rainy day or you don’t have outdoor access. Hang your mop over your shower or bathtub.

This will allow the mop to drip dry in an area that won’t cause any water damage.

Placing your mop on your deck is one of the best ways to ensure a dry, smell-free mop. The sun will not only dry it quickly but the sun is a natural disinfectant.

This should reduce any initial smells along with killing any bacteria. The natural sunlight will also “bleach” and brighten your mop head. Reducing any old or new stains.

​Step Four: Storing Your Mop

This step may seem self-explanatory. However, make sure you store your mop appropriately. Hang it up completely off the ground.

If you leave your mop head touching the ground you take a chance of not allowing airflow to circulate through the mop.

Make sure your mop’s head is not touching the ground where there is more potential dirt or moisture.

No matter how well we clean our floors we run the risk of cross contaminating the mop head that we just worked so hard to clean.

Deep Cleaning Your Mop

If you pull your mop out of the storage closet and notice a smell there. Start smelly recon immediately, before cleaning your floors.

Cleaning your floors with a mildew smelling mop will give you a mildew smelling floor. You are giving the mildew moisture and new place to grow.

To deep clean, your mop, make a cleaning solution of 1 cup cleaning bleach along with 1 gallon of water that is 120 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.

Soak your mop for several minutes. Wring it out into a sink.

Place your mop back into the cleaning solution. While it is soaking be sure to “agitate” or “swish” the mop around to make sure all the fibers are being worked. The bleach will kill 99% of all germs and mold.

The purpose of soaking and agitating the mop is to extract any potential mold. Repeat this step as many times as you believe are necessary.

​Other Mop Cleaning Mixtures

1 Cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water.

1 Cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to 1 gallon of water.

If you want to stay on the more natural side of cleaning. Cleaning Vinegar is the best option.

However, you need to take into consideration that cleaning vinegar is not as effective as bleach when it comes to disinfecting.

Cleaning vinegar is more acidic than distilled white vinegar.

If you are mixing up a natural cleaner, feel free to include a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil in your vinegar mixture. Tea Tree is another natural disinfectant.

Always use water that is 120-degree Fahrenheit or warmer.

​Still Smelly?

If you find after ensuring you’ve done the 4 cleaning steps, along with several deep cleans and your mop is still holding onto its ghastly smell. It is time to throw the mop head out.

If the mop head is still relatively new, try to find out why it is keeping a smell.

Check out where you store your mop. Is there water leaking? 

Is it jammed next to other fabrics while it is being stored?

​Final Words

Before putting your mop into storage, the mop must be 100% dry. It is critical to the cleanliness of your mop. Unwanted moisture is the number 1 culprit of a smelly mop.

Having a smelly mop is always a little nerve-wracking. It will leave you thinking about how and why does it smell the way it does.

But if you follow these steps you can see how easy it is to ensure a smell-free mop every time.

About the author

Samantha Morgan

I am a stay at home mom who loves to have everything spotless. The story behind this site is that I wanted to buy a mop and I did lots of research for it. I found that I could provide a better voice to this subject as there are no or very fewer people talking about the mops.


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