Sticky Floors after Mopping: How to Clean + Remove Sticky Residue

Last update:
Sticky floor after mopping

When cleaning your floors, you have the expectation of a clean and nice-smelling result. However, it’s common to get sticky floors after mopping them. This happens on wood floors, tile, vinyl, or even laminate. So, how do you remove the sticky residue from wood floors?

Sticky floors occur when you leave behind too much cleaning solution, use the wrong floor cleaner, or not rinsing with clean water after mopping. You can clean the residue off tile and wood floors and then rinse using a clean mop and water. Clean with a steam mop to remove the sticky residue easily.

Causes of Sticky Floors after Mopping

sticky floor aftre mopping, causes, remedies
Sticky floor after mopping

Among the reasons there’s that sticky feeling on your floors even after thoroughly cleaning include the following:

1. Use of wrong floor cleaning solution

While normal cleaning may require using simple soap or mild chemicals, some stains require special chemicals to come off.

The removal of certain types of soils is an example that may require special floor cleaners such as Pine-Sol.

Pro tip: The basic rule for removing sticky residue is to use a floor cleaner with the opposite pH to the sticky dirt. For example, an acidic cleaner does a better job at cleaning alkaline (basic) dirt than when you use a base to clean a base. If you use similar pH levels for dirt and the cleaning agent, you’ll have the stickiness afterward.

For different types of tile, vinyl, laminate, and wood floor stains, you’ll need chemicals depending on the type and content of the soil. If it’s greasy and sticky in nature, you’ll need stronger chemicals.

Sticky floors after mopping
Chemical cause sticky floor

The same goes for the removal of oils, salt residues, acids and other kinds of dirt. If you don’t go for the right chemicals, they could remove the dirt but leave behind sticky residues that won’t easily go away.

This aspect also occurs in terms of mismatching the floor type with the chemicals. When buying the cleaning agent, ask the vendor for a floor cleaning solution that works well for your type of floor.

There are cleaners that may work for tiles, for example, and not work for bamboo floors. In fact, besides leaving your floor sticky after mopping, they may plainly damage the floor.

See More: Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner Solution

2. Too much cleaning solution

Most people think that using too much floor cleaning solution will lead to squeaky-clean floors. This is usually not true and can easily lead to a sticky residue after cleaning.

  • Try to follow the instructions on the label.
  • When you use too much cleaner, the excess creates a soapy residue that is sticky to the feet especially when you’ve not done enough rinsing.

With most bottles coming with measuring caps, ensure you use the recommended amount of cleaning agent for the stated amount of water.

Read More: How to Clean Bamboo Floors Without Streaks and how to Clean Vinyl Floors

3. Use of dirty water to clean the floor

If you clean the entire house with the same bucket of water, you’ll end up with a messy, dirtier, and sticky floor especially if it is wooden, tile, or laminate.

The problem with this routine is that you’ll be having dirtier water as you go by since the mop picks up dirt and dumps it into the water in your bucket.

Technically, you’re not actually cleaning the floor but transferring the dirt to new places on the floor. Even when you decide to rinse the floor with clean water, you’ll be skipping the most important stage of the cleaning process which is the cleaning itself.

The clean water won’t remove the dirt meant to be removed by chemicals in cleaning agents. As a result of this, you’ll have a greasy and sticky floor.

To remedy this, you need to change the cleaning water each time you see it get dirty. This can be when it changes the color significantly or when you see lots of debris floating on top or at the bottom of the cleaning bucket.

After cleaning the whole floor, use clean water to rinse it. Change this water the moment you notice it’s become soapy or dirty.

If all that seems like too much work, you can go for microfiber mops as they’re better at holding unto dirt than other materials. This means they’ll not release the dirt into the water to make it dirt.

There are also options that don’t allow the clean and dirty water to mix. If you can find this setup, you’ll save lots of time and get great results with your cleaning.

How to Clean Sticky Floors and Remove Residue

Personally, I recommend using a good steam mop to clean any residue and get rid of sticky floors that happen after mopping. However, you can do it in other ways especially if the sticky residue is visible in patches that may just need scraping off.

Here’s how to clean sticky floors and remove residue:

1. Get a clean mop and a bucket of warm water for mild or hot water for the extremely sticky floor.

2. Add an appropriate amount of the best floor cleaners meant for your flooring.

3. Moisten the mop and wring appropriately depending on your flooring type.

4. Clean your floor thoroughly as you rinse your best mop frequently. Pay attention to most sticky areas until done. Dump off the dirty water.

5. Get a bucket with clean water, Rinse your floor as you check for sticky parts and residue left.

Tips: For residue and sticky parts left after this step consider, repeating from step 1 and add half a cup of ammonia and one cup of vinegar in step 3. This will leave your floor flawless.

6. Allow the floor to dry or use a dry microfiber mop or a soft cloth or towel to spat it dry.

Tips: If you cleaning the wood floor use a damp cloth and avoid wet mopping. Steam mops may also be used, they work well with sticky messes. Soda sticky messes can be addressed by simple washing methods. In case the sticky mess is a result of damaged coating consider removing it and re-sealing afresh.

How to Clean Buildup on Wood Floors : Wood Flooring

Use Steam Mops

Steam mops are among the best cleaning equipment for floors. With a great steam mop, you can save a lot of time when cleaning your floors and with great results.

Besides time, you won’t need to rinse the floor again when you use a steam mop.

The other advantage of using a steam mop is that it kills germs and other harmful microorganisms from the floor. The heat from the water is enough to eliminate a large percentage of the microorganisms on your floor.

The only downside to using a steam mop is that it may harm some floors if they’re not properly fitted. Steam mops are also not suited to all types of floors especially the wooden ones.

See more on; How do Steam Cleaners Work?

Preventing Sticky Floors

The first thing to do when you have sticky floors after mopping is to establish the cause of this issue. If you’re using too many chemicals, reduce the amount to the recommended one. If you’re using the wrong chemical, change it to the right one.

Lastly, if you’ve been cleaning a whole floor with the same water and not rinsing it properly, start following the right steps. You’ll have clean and non-sticky floors with these simple tips.

Tip: Rinse the accidental spill of sticky messes like soda once they occur. Ensure you always re-check your flooring, once it’s clean and dry to identify the cause of sticky floor.

Read More: How do you Clean Hardwood Floor? Fixing the Cloudy Look,

Photo of author


Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

Leave a Comment