Sticky Floors After Mopping? Here’s How to Fix It

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sticky floors after mopping

Tell me if this has ever happened to you…

You mop your floors expecting they’ll look and feel clean after you’re done. When they’re dry, you walk on them, but yet, they feel sticky – even stickier than before you mopped.

Which is a bit crazy since you JUST cleaned them.

Lucky for you, you’re not alone. This is a common problem with a simple solution. Here’s why you have sticky floors after mopping and how to fix the problem.

Key Takeaways

In a hurry? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Your floors may be sticky because of too much solution, the wrong solution, or there’s a spill you’ve missed.
  • Add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water and re-mop over sticky spots.
  • Consider using a steam mop to prevent floor stickiness in future.

Quick Fix: Sticky Floors After Mopping

If your floors are sticky after mopping, it’s usually for one of two reasons. First, you’ve used too much cleaner, and the leftover residue is making your floors sticky. Secondly, you’ve used an improper cleaner for your flooring type.

Less common reasons for sticky floors include using dirty mop water or spreading sticky residue with your mop.

I swear by the “two-bucket method.” One bucket contains your cleaning solution, and the other contains clean water for rinsing your mop.

After mopping a section of the floor with the cleaning solution, rinse the mop in the clean water bucket before dipping it back into the cleaning solution. This ensures that you’re not spreading dirty water and residue back onto your floors.

Top Reasons You Have Sticky Floors After Mopping

You’ve Used Too Much Cleaning Solution

The number one reason people have sticky floors after mopping is that they’ve used too much cleaning solution.

This is especially true for those who use spray mops.

With spray mops, it’s easy to under-dilute the mopping solution. When this happens, the cleaner builds up on the floor.

This is also a super common problem with the Swiffer WetJet. Not only is it easy to overuse the mopping solution, but if you spray too big of an area and it dries before you can mop it up, your floors will feel ultra sticky.

To minimize this effect, spray less cleaning solution on the floor or further dilute the cleaner with water.

This problem is by no means exclusive to spray mops, though. This happens anytime you use more clean than necessary. 

Pro Tip: In my years of experience, I’ve seen many people simply pour cleaner into water without measuring, thinking “the more, the better.”

This is a common mistake that often leads to sticky floors. Always read the label and use a measuring cup to ensure you’re using the correct amount of cleaner.

For example, if the label says to use one ounce of cleaner for every gallon of water, stick to that ratio. It’s there for a reason!

You’re Using the Wrong Type of Cleaner

Using the wrong type of cleaner for your floor can cause a haze build-up and stickiness.

You see this often in laminate and hardwood flooring when someone has mopped with a soap-based cleaner. If you’re finding that your floor is sticky after every mopping and you aren’t overusing cleaner, try switching to a different product.

Pro Tip: Before you go all-in with a new cleaner, always perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area. I’ve seen instances where a new cleaner discolored or damaged the flooring material.

A spot test will help you avoid any unwelcome surprises and ensure that the new cleaner is compatible with your flooring type.

You Didn’t Properly Clean Up a Spill 

If your floor is only sticky in certain spots, it could simply be from an unknown spill or residue stuck on the ground.

You can use a slightly acidic cleaner to spot treat the sticky areas. A mix of white distilled vinegar and water works perfectly. After spot treating, mop your floors with your regular cleaning solution.

How Do You Get Rid of Sticky Floors After Mopping?

If your floors are sticky after mopping, there’s likely leftover residue from the cleaner you’ve been using, and you need to rinse it off. To get rid of this build-up, add one cup of vinegar to one gallon of water and mop your floors with this solution. 

This will help rinse off any of the leftover residue and leave your floors feeling clean.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sticky Floors After Mopping

faq sticky floor after mopping

What is the best way to clean a sticky floor?

One of the quickest and most effective ways to clean a sticky floor is to use a steam mop. The steam will help break down the stickiness, making it easy to mop up.

If you don’t have a steam mop or your floors aren’t steam mop safe, you can use a vinegar and water solution. White distilled vinegar contains acetic acid, which works well on sticky floors.

Will vinegar make my floors feel sticky?

No, vinegar is acidic, making it great for cleaning up sticky messes like soda spills or grease. However, since vinegar is so acidic, it’s crucial that you properly dilute it before using it to clean your floors. 

Will a Swiffer make my floors sticky?

Yes, a Swiffer mop can make your floors sticky. There are two reasons for this. First, you’re overusing the cleaner in the Swiffer mop, and it’s causing a build-up. Secondly, you’re spraying a large area, and the cleaner from the Swiffer mop is drying before you get to mop it up, causing sticky spots on your floor.


If you’re tired of having a sticky floor after mopping, be cautious of the amount of cleaner you’re using. This is an easy fix that can make your mopping solution last longer and prevent that stickiness you feel after cleaning.

If you need to get rid of some sticky spots, you can easily do so by using a steam mop or a water and vinegar solution.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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