Home » Dry Mopping vs. Wet Mopping: Understanding the Difference

Dry Mopping vs. Wet Mopping: Understanding the Difference

Floor cleaning can be a daily routine especially if you have pets, kids or high traffic. Regular cleaning is also a way of maintaining a hardwood floor.

Therefore moping is an essential method of cleaning in every home. Basically it involves the use of a mop only or in combination of water or a cleaning solution.

Mopping can be classified as dry or wet. Let us look at the difference between the two.

Let's talk mops

What is a Mop?

According to Wikipedia, “A mop (such as a floor mop) is a mass or bundle of coarse strings or yarn, etc., or a piece of cloth, sponge, or other absorbent material, attached to a pole or stick.

It is used to soak up liquid, for cleaning floors and other surfaces, to mop up dust, or for other cleaning purposes.”

Dust/Dry Mopping

Dry mopping is essentially using a dry mop or a dust mop to pick up dry and loose dirt such as dust, soil, sand and food debris from the surface of the floor.

A dry mop usually have a fabric cloth or a microfiber head attached to a handle. The bunch of yarn on a swivel head or flat sheet microfiber cloth collect and trap dust, fine debris and hair as you sweet it across the floor.

When dry mopping always keep the mop head into contact with the floor throughout and lift it off when you want to dispose the collected dirt into a garbage or trash can. Mop towards one direction or in a consistent pattern.

Most dry mops have detachable head or use disposable pads that can be replaced when they get dirty.

Removable microfiber heads can be washed when they are saturated with dust or can be replaced when worn out. 

It is effective to use a dry mop than a broom. Sweeping pushes dust or dirt around. The dust particles flying in the air after sweeping can cause an allergy or will simply settle back on your household items.

The best alternative to dry mop is a vacuum cleaner. A Vacuum strongly suck the dust and fine particles thus making your home perfectly clean.

Modern vacuums have filters that trap allergens. Dry mopping or vacuuming is commonly the first process in deep cleaning a hardwood floor.

Damp/ Wet Mopping

Wet moping involves cleaning a surface using a slightly moistened mop or soaked in water or a cleaning solution and wrung out.

A damp mop is swept over the surface as it dissolves and removes soil and soft grift that dulls the appearance of a floor surface.

If you are cleaning a hardwood floor, you may need to completely dry out the surface using a dry towel to remove a film of water.

Hardwood floor boards and water are great enemies. Before wet mopping ensure that your hardwood floor is perfectly sealed.

Water based solution may also enter the wood through the seams or any openings on a poorly finished or damaged surface. The floor boards will absorb the water, warp and even twist.

It is important to inspect your floors and even test if the seal is intact. Place a drop of water on the floor at a hidden place.

If it beads (seats there) that means your floor is sealed. If the water get absorbed into the floor and creates a spot, it shows that your seal is broken, old or damaged and therefore avoid using a wet mop.

There are different types of wet mops with varying features. Traditional wet mops have a rag or sponge head attached to a handle that you dip into a cleaning solution and wring out.

Sophisticated modern models such as Swiffer Wet Jet Mop has a reservoir and you spray the cleaner directly on the floor as you mop, and does not need a bucket.

If you are not sure with the nature of your floor use a dry mop for cleaning such Swiffer Dry Mops.

Steam cleaner mops are also becoming common in most homes. A steam mop dispense steam on the floor surface after heating water to a high temperature as it wipe out the dirt.

Steam mops naturally sanitizes a surface by killing germs and household bacteria. Ensure your hardwood floor is perfectly sealed before steaming to avoid wood-moisture contact.

It is always important to vacuums or dust your floor before damp mopping. This removes soil and debris that can turn into mud after coming into contact with a cleaning solution or water.

The debris can also hurt your hardwood floor by causing scuff marks.

Safety is important when you are cleaning. Always place a “Wet Floor Sign” at the entrance of the room. Wet mopping makes a floor too slippery and anyone can accidentally slide on and get hurt.

Ensure children and pets are away, some cleaning solutions contain harmful ingredients that can be hazardous.


Dry mopping on a regular basis keeps dust and dirt at bay. It preserves a hardwood floor to last longer.

Wet mopping is a deep cleaning process that is usually done on a biweekly or monthly basis.

It removes sticky dirt and soil from the floor. Always take good care of your hardwood floor to avoid a strenuous cleaning process.

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