Sticky Floor After Mopping? Here’s Why

Have you ever mopped your floors, expecting to find them smooth and sparkling clean, only to discover that they’re still sticky?

If you’ve experienced freshly cleaned floors that are stickier than they were before you mopped them, you were probably baffled. I know I was when it happened to me.

If you want to know what made your floors sticky after mopping them, you’ve come to the right place. This article will discuss many possible reasons that your freshly cleaned floors are sticky, how to get rid of the sticky feeling on your floor, and things you should avoid when mopping.

sticky floor after mopping

Why Are My Floors Sticky After Mopping?

Sticky floors are caused by too much cleaning solution being used or the wrong type of solution being added to your mop bucket. You should always use the exact recommended solution measurements and make sure the cleaning solution being used is suitable for your type of flooring.

4 Common Causes For Sticky Floors After Mopping

There are so many reasons your floor could be sticky after you mop. Here are a few of the most common ones and how to avoid them.

too much cleaner

1. You Used Too Much Cleaner

Using too much cleaner is a common problem that will happen to anyone at least once. It may surprise you, but using more floor cleaner won’t make your floors extra clean.

Instead, it will leave a sticky residue behind. To avoid this residue, read the labels on your floor cleaner to make sure you’re using the right dilution.

You should also always use exact measurements rather than eyeballing how much cleaner you add to your mop bucket.

For example, if the label says to use two capfuls per gallon of water, use the caps on the same bottle. You will also save yourself a lot of aggravation if you buy a mop bucket with each gallon marked.

That way, you’ll know exactly how much water you’re using.

2. You Used The Wrong Type of Cleaner

Not all cleaners are created equally, and different types of flooring require different cleaning solutions.

Generally, you should avoid using soap-based cleaners on hardwood and laminate floors. Soapy cleaners must be diluted with a lot of water to prevent leaving behind a sticky residue, but too much water can ruin these surfaces.

Instead, choose a specially formulated cleaner for hardwood and laminate floors so they will have a beautiful shine without adding water.

3. You Didn’t Clean Spills Thoroughly

If you don’t clean spills thoroughly enough, they will stay sticky, and you can also spread that stickiness to the rest of the room.

Spot-cleaning spills, when they happen, will make the spill easier to clean because it won’t have time to dry into a sticky mess or potentially damage your floor.

4. You Didn’t Change Your Mop Water Often Enough

Be sure to change your water after every room. If your floors are particularly dirty, you’ll need to change your mop water more frequently to avoid leaving a dull, sticky residue behind. 

How To Get Rid Of Sticky Floors After Mopping

If your floors are sticky after mopping, the only solution is to rinse them. Just mix a cup of white distilled vinegar into a gallon of water and go over your floors with a clean mop head to eliminate the residue.

Remember to change that water after each room, too, to make sure you’re getting all the stickiness off your floors.

Does Vinegar Make Floors Sticky?

No, vinegar won’t make your floor sticky. Since it’s acidic, it’s actually great at breaking down sticky residue. Just make sure you dilute it properly; too much vinegar could eat away at the surface of your floor and make it look dull.

How Do You Mop A Floor Without Leaving Sticky Residue?

floor mopping tips

Now that you’ve figured out what makes your sticky floor after mopping it, you’re probably wondering how you can keep it from happening again.

  •  Establish a cleaning routine: If you sweep your hard floors with a broom, microfiber cloth, or Swiffer each week, it will help to keep messes from building up. If you have pets or children, you may need to sweep two or three times a week to keep your floors looking and feeling their best. 
  • Use the right cleaning solution for your flooring type: Different products work better on different surfaces. When in doubt, look for a specially formulated cleaner for your flooring type. 

    If you can’t find a good floor cleaner, you can make your own solution. Just mix ½ cup of white vinegar with ½ gallon of warm water. You can add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil for extra freshness.

    If you have pets, make sure the essential oil is safe for them. You can pour this solution into a mop bucket and mop like usual. Alternatively, you can put it in a spray bottle, spray it on the floor, and mop over it.

    Make sure you don’t spray too large of an area so it doesn’t dry before you can mop it; it will leave spots.
  • Spot-treat spills: Clean up spills as they happen to avoid a sticky mess all over your floor when you mop. Blot the spill with a dry cloth, then use a damp cloth with a little floor cleaner to scrub away any sticky residue.

Most Common Mopping Mistakes To Avoid

A sticky residue isn’t the only problem you can run into while cleaning your floors. If you want to have sparkling clean floors, here are a few common mopping mistakes you should avoid:

  1. Not Sweeping or Vacuuming First
  2. Using Too Much Water
  3. Not Washing the Mop Head Between Cleanings
  4. Not Changing the Mop Head Frequently Enough on Swiffer Wet Jet
  5. Using Water on an Unsealed Hardwood Floor
  6. Putting Cleaning Solution in a Steam Mop
  7. Not Changing Your Mop Water Frequently
  8. Not Leaving Your Floors Wet Long Enough for Cleaner to Sanitize


If you’re left with sticky floors after mopping, your cleaning method has left a residue behind. The most common causes of a sticky residue on your floors include:

  • Using too much cleaner
  • Using the wrong type of cleaner
  • Not cleaning up spills
  • Using dirty water

You can remove sticky residue by rinsing your floors with a solution of one cup of white vinegar and a gallon of warm water. Change this solution room by room to remove residue and reveal beautiful, clean floors.

Shauna Stone