Why Are Floors Sticky After Mopping?

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Have you ever marveled at a clean, shiny floor only to be disappointed after taking a few sticky steps on it? Unfortunately, this is more common than you think, and it happens on wooden floors, laminate, tiles. So, why are floors sticky after mopping? 

Why Are Floors Sticky After Mopping?

There are three reasons your floors are sticky after mopping: an excess of soap residue, a wrong cleaning solution, or not enough rising after mopping. If you don’t mop and rinse well to remove the cleaner on the floor and it dries up, you’ll have the sticky feeling. 

Giving the floor a thorough rinse using clean water and the right cleaning solution is the best way to avoid ending up with a sticky floor.

Dirty and sticky floors after mopping

Cleaning products, no matter how mild they are, contain soap. Even using a small amount of floor cleaner for mopping will leave soap residue if you don’t rinse well after. Also, using the wrong floor cleaners or too much cleaning product can make the floors sticky after mopping.

How to Remove Sticky Soap Residue on Floor

If you’re sure you mopped the floor good enough after your cleaning session such as getting rid of pet urine, then it could be your cleaning product that caused the floor to become sticky. To remove any sticky residue, you should mop the floor again with another product, making sure you rinse all the remaining soap.

Here’s how to remove soap residue on floors:

  1. Get a bucket and fill it with clean water.
  2. Make sure you use a different mop or sponge for the rinsing part.
  3. Soak the mop in the bucket and wring well for the right dampness. 
  4. Mop the floor by section and in one direction.
  5. After each section, properly rinse the mop to remove dirt and soap residue.
  6. There should be no noticeable streaks left behind after mopping. Otherwise, repeat the rinsing process.
  7. Let the floor dry.

Tip: The key to removing all soap residue on the floor is by giving it correct and enough rinsing. Don’t hesitate to repeat the process if necessary. Leaving soap residue on the floor will not only make it sticky, it will also collect more dust and dirt.

How to Prevent Sticky Floor After Mopping

Sticky floors could damage the floor finish as it continuously accumulates dirt and dust. There’s no reason you should let this happen. There are actually several ways you can prevent a sticky floor after mopping.

Mop the Floor Properly

There is no better way to avoid a tacky floor than with proper mopping techniques. To mop the floor correctly means getting rid of dirt as well as all the remaining soap. Drying the floor completely before using again also helps bring out the shiny appearance and smooth feeling.

Mop with cleaning bucket

Let’s go over the right way to mop a floor briefly. Prepare the following things before mopping:

  • mop
  • bucket
  • floor cleaner
  • water
  • broom or vacuum


  1. Remove all furniture in the room before you begin mopping.
  2. Remove all loose particles on the floor using a broom or a vacuum. Clear the floor of any dirt buildup like gum. Use a plastic scraper to avoid damage to the floor.
  3. Fill the bucket with clean water and add the floor cleaner. Use the cleaning product according to the instructions on the label.
  4. Soak the mop in the bucket to accumulate the cleaning solution. Use a wringer tool to get rid of excess liquid or wring it yourself to achieve the right dampness.
  5. Mop the floor in sections while maintaining the same direction. Start on inner areas going out. This way, you avoid stepping on clean areas and repeating the procedure.
  6. Rinse the mop after cleaning a section to avoid spreading the dirt. using a dirty mop on the floor will leave visible dark streaks.
  7. After mopping using a floor cleaner, rinse the mop several times to ensure no more dirt and soap remain. You can also use a sponge for the rinsing part.
  8. Mop the floor to rinse out the soap. You have to mop in sections again.
  9. Rinse the mop with clean water after each section or when the mop already feels soapy or foamy. Make sure to remove all the soap cleaner so that you don’t have to repeat the process.
  10.  Let the floor dry completely before you put back all the furniture in their places.

Tip: There are types of flooring that don’t take too much liquid well. Compared to concrete, flooring such as vinyl and laminate doesn’t take moisture too well, too much moisture could damage the sealing and cause the floor to warp and swell. Use the right amount of liquid on a floor based on its type.

Use the Right Cleaning Product

Do not use a floor cleaner that is not intended for the type of flooring that you have. This may damage the floor finish or the concentration may leave sticky soap residues. Use the right floor cleaner for your surface or a multi-surface cleaner instead. 

Mop with rag and bucket

If not, then just go for the popular generic floor cleaning solution which is mild dish soap diluted in water.

Use the Correct Amount of Floor Cleaner

Even the mildest of cleaning products can leave soap residue on the floor when used in great amounts. To make rinsing easy, always use the right amount of floor cleaner according to the instructions on the label.

Related Questions

Before we finish this article, let’s answer a couple more questions related to this subject.

Why Are Floors Still Dirty After Mopping?

Floors are still dirty after mopping probably because the mop did not get as much rinsing during the process. Using a dirty mop on a floor only spreads the dirt. Always rinse the mop to remove dirt and replace dirty water in the bucket.

Why Do My Hardwood Floors Feel Sticky?

Your hardwood floors feel sticky as a result of spills that were not cleaned well or soap residue after mopping. If the entire floor feels sticky, then it is a clear sign of soap residue. Remove the remaining residue to get rid of the sticky feeling.


Floors can still get sticky even after mopping all the dirt and stains away. When this happens, you need to rinse the floor again to remove the soap residue. The key to avoiding sticky floors after mopping is by thorough rinsing using a clean wet mop and a bucket of clean water.

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.