Should You Mop With Hot or Cold Water?

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Some people believe it is best to mop with hot water, while others disagree on this. Hot water kills bacteria, while cold water will not damage the integrity of the flooring. So which way do you go? Is it better to mop with hot water or cold water?

Is It Better to Mop With Cold or Hot Water?

It is better to mop with cold water because it is less likely to damage your floor. Cold water also retains a bit more of your floor’s shine than hot water. You can mop with hot water only on floorings that can tolerate high temperatures, like marble. However, cold water mixed with the right floor cleaner kills bacteria just well as hot water does. 

Hot water can kill germs and remove stain, grease, and dirt buildup faster than cold water. Most cleaning agents even react better with hot water. However, mopping with hot water increases the risks of damage.

Man using cold water to mop the floor

Choosing Between Hot Water and Cold Water

Choose the water temperature based on the type of flooring that you have. It is common knowledge that hot water kills certain types of bacteria under the right temperature.

However, if too much heat would take a toll on the integrity of your flooring, then it is best to use cold water instead. 

Although it might take longer, mopping with cold water should provide the same cleaning especially when used with the required floor cleaning product. Many cleaning solutions now have antibacterial ingredients. Just remember to follow the directions for use when using these products.

Additionally, you should follow the proper cleaning methods for your flooring. Some flooring types are very particular with the type of cleaning product to use. Note that some cleaning solutions have active ingredients in them that could damage your floor even when used with cold water.

Determining Which Floors You Can Mop With Hot Or Cold Water

The type of floor is the main consideration before you decide whether to mop with cold or hot water. Some surfaces, like concrete flooring, can handle high temperatures very well, while others tend to show damage over time if not right after the process.

Here are the different types of flooring and the most ideal water temps to use when mopping.


It is best to use cold water when cleaning hardwood floors. Using hot water will remove any protective agent like wax, and cause the floor to lose its sheen over time. 

Remember that even with cold water, you should be careful not to use too much liquid when cleaning. Bare wood will absorb the liquid, especially if it is not dried quickly, and will result in discoloration and warping.

The general rule is to use only damp or moist sponge or mop to clean hardwood floors.

Mop with a water bucket


You can only use hot water on ceramic and porcelain tiles. For other types of floor tiles, it’s best to use cold water or room temperature.

Mopping with hot water or using a steam mop should also be done periodically. Too much exposure to heat can damage your floor tiles sooner than you expect.

Our favorite steam mop is the Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop. Its the best all around option, and includes a handheld version for added convenience.


You should dry clean laminate floors regularly. Then every once in a while, you should mop it for deep cleaning.

You can use hot water to mop the laminate as long as the temperature is not too high. Laminate floors consist of multi-layers of synthetic materials and not every component has good tolerance against heat.


Like hardwood, you should mop vinyl with cold if not lukewarm water. You should also avoid using too much liquid on the surface to prevent damage.


Most recommendations for cleaning marble floors is to mop with hot water and a mild cleaning solution. Hot water helps get rid of dirt buildup without removing its sheen.

The best steam mop for marble floors will use both hot water and steam to clean, providing the best solution.

Using Hot or Cold Water with Floor Cleaners

Using cold water or water in neutral temp combined with floor cleaners will not alter the effectiveness of the active ingredients in the products.

In fact, most modern floor cleaners recommend combining them with lukewarm water and not necessarily hot water.

On the other hand, the higher kinetic energy in hot water means its molecules are moving at a faster rate. In return, the cleaning solution may become more effective when used with hot water.

Still, this does not apply to all types of cleaning products. Always check the label for proper use.

Before, people believe that bleach becomes less effective when it is combined with hot water. You should not store bleach in an environment with a high temperature because heat will decompose the active ingredients in it.

However, bleach when combined with hot water will not lose its effectiveness, contrary to what many people believe.

Benefits of Mopping with Cold Water

Mopping with cold water seems to be the safer approach if you are considering the integrity of your floor. Unlike hot water, using cold water on your floor will not damage the sealing or melt the wax that protects it.

Regular mopping with cold water instead of hot water means prolonging the life of your floor.

However, remember also that the amount of water that you use on the floor can still cause damage. You may not notice any changes at first though.

Woman holding a spray and mop

Using cold water to mop on flooring is also more eco-friendly. Using cold water does not add up to energy consumption.

Benefits of Mopping with Hot Water

Hot water can clean better than cold water and that is its main advantage. Hot water can melt grease and buildup more effectively and quickly than cold water. If you use hot water to clean only those areas with heavy stains, then you would save a lot of time.

Also, as science explains it, the molecules in hot water move faster than those in cold water. In return, they increase the speed of chemical processes, such as when you dissolve soap or detergent in hot water. The result is they create more bubbles. 

This is also the reason why cleaning products are considered more effective when combined with hot water. Mopping with hot water also allows the floor to dry faster.

Related Questions

Before we wrap up this article, we’d like to answer a few more related questions.

Is Cleaning With Hot Water More Effective Than Cold Water? 

Cleaning with hot water is more effective than cold water only because it can remove stains and grease faster. However, using cold water and a good floor cleaner should also provide desirable results, although at a slightly longer time.

Should You Mop With Hot Water Or Cold Water For Stains?

You should mop with hot water for stains because heat dissolves dirt faster. Just remember that some types of flooring cannot withstand too much heat. Clean according to the recommended procedures for your flooring to avoid damage.


Hot water cleans better than cold water because it melts grease and stains faster. It is not as gentle on flooring as cold water, though. Consider the type of flooring that you have when choosing between hot water and cold water for mopping.

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.