Why is My Floor Sticky After Mopping? [Here’s Why Folks]

You’ve just finished mopping the floor, you’re admiring your hard work, but what’s this? Despite your efforts, the floor is sticky and it does not feel good on your feet. It’s frustrating, it makes you wonder where you went wrong, and can it even be resolved?

So you’re asking why is my floor sticky after mopping?

There are many reasons for still having sticky floors, and there is usually a combination causing the problem.

Using the wrong product, using too much product, and not changing your water enough.


No need to worry because the cause of sticky floors are surprisingly simple so is the way to get rid of it. In many ways, mopping is an art and it can take a little time to perfect. All you need to do is take a look at our guide and learn about the art of mopping the right way. 

Steam Mop or Steam Cleaner?

Causes of Sticky Floors after Mopping

Ready to say goodbye to that sticky feeling? It tends to be caused by one (or more) of three factors – each of which is incredibly easy to remedy and simple mistakes that we have all been guilty of at least once… maybe twice. 

1. Using the wrong floor cleaning product
There are several aspects that play a part here. It can depend on the stain you are removing, as some will need stronger solutions than others. Similarly, you may need a very specific type of cleaner for the job – especially if we are looking at soil stains.

Greasy stains are going to need a lot more attention and a stronger solution in order to really cut through the gunk. You might also be using the wrong cleaning product for the floor itself. You should always check that the cleaning solution you buy is compatible with your floor type. 

Using the wrong cleaner for your floor type doesn’t just lead to that sticky floors feeling, it can also cause permanent damage to your floor. 

2. Using too much product on the floor
If you use too much cleaning product, it won’t lead to a cleaner floor – that’s a myth. Instead, you get a sticky floor that you absolutely loathe stepping on. It’s caused by a lack of rinsing, and so the soap ends up drying on the floor and creating a horrible layer of gunk on the floor.

This is why you should always use the measuring cap on the bottle as well as follow the instructions on the label. It might not seem like enough cleaning solution is being used, but it certainly is.

3. Using dirty water (not changing water enough)
This happens when you clean the whole house with the same bucket of dirty water. It’s going to end up sticky as well as messier and dirtier than it was when you started. Instead of cleaning the floor, you are just transferring dirt from one area of your home to another.

Change the mop water every time it starts to look like it’s getting dirty. The colour will start to change, you may see some floating debris in the water – all signs to change it. You should also use clean water to rinse your floor after mopping. 

Seems like a lot of work, right? If it feels like too much you should switch to a microfiber mop. They are better at holding onto the dirt than a standard mop so that you can enjoy cleaner water and floors that don’t have the sticky floors after mopping.

mopping the floors

How to Clean Sticky Floors and Remove Residue

There are a couple of great methods you can use to get rid of that sticky feeling and remove all the residue and gunk from the floors. Here’s our top solution, with the second found in the next section.

What You Will Need:

  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Warm/hot water
  • Floor cleaner (correct stuff)
  • White vinegar
  • Microfiber cloth/towel

#1 Get a clean mop and bucket, filling the latter with water. If the sticky feeling is mild you only need warm water. If it is severe, you will want very hot water instead.

#2 Take the cleaning solution, having first checked if it is right for the task, and pour the appropriate amount into the bucket. Make sure you have first read the instructions.

#3 Dampen the mop in the bucket, wringing it to a level that is appropriate for your floor type. An example being that finished floors can withstand a lot of moisture but unfinished floors need a practically dry mop.

#4 Clean your floor thoroughly, paying close attention to the stickiest areas. As the water gets dirty, dump it and then rinse the bucket before you refill it with water and cleaning solution. You can also try using a cup of white vinegar in the water instead to cut through leftover sticky spots.

#5 When the floor has been cleaned and rinsed thoroughly, you can either leave it to dry naturally or use a towel/microfiber cloth to mop up the excess water. Now, you should be left with a clean and unsticky floor.

Read Here: How to clean a vinyl flooring properly

Steam Mops For Cleaning Sticky Floors

This is the ultimate solution, and steam mops aren’t just great for removing stains. The heat produced by these machines makes them perfect for killing germs and bacteria that might be lingering on your floor for a cleaner home as well as removing sticky residue. 

Additionally, they clean the floor faster and don’t require you to rinse the floor or keep changing the water. In many ways, the results they provide are also better as well as much more sanitary. 

As good and advantageous as the steam mop is, it cannot be used on all hard floors. Specific types, namely unfinished, cannot cope with the moisture produced by the steam. Always check that your flooring can withstand a steam mop before you purchase one.

steam flooring

Preventing Sticky Floors

The good news is that prevention is very simple. You first need to determine the cause of the sticky floors – one of our three key reasons – and then follow steps to ensure that you don’t end up using too many chemicals, the wrong cleaning solution, or dirty water to mop the home. 

All you need to do is start following the right steps, doing your research on cleaning products, reading the instructions so you get the correct amount, and refreshing the water regularly. It’s really that simple, and you’re sure to find sticky floors an issue of the past.


Do I need to rinse the floor after mopping?

Yes, you do need to rinse the floor after mopping. This is because it will get rid of any remaining dirt and cleaning solution on your floors. Therefore, you are left with a wonderfully clean home that doesn’t feel like a messy cinema floor to walk on. 

Does vinegar make floors sticky?

Yes, vinegar can make floors sticky if you use too much and don’t rinse it afterwards. While vinegar is great for cleaning, anything can make a floor feel sticky if you use too much of it.

How often should floors be mopped?

You should mop your floors once a week in homes with a lot of traffic (kids and pets) but can get away with monthly in homes without this. It keeps the floors clean, removing grime and bacteria from the area so that you and your family can enjoy a healthier home.

When should you change mop water?

The second the water starts to change colour or you see debris begin to float around, you need to dump the water and refill it. If the water is already a murky brown you have left it too long. Changing dirty water quickly is essential for a floor that is truly clean.

Read Here: How to clean Laminate Flooring

Final Thoughts

The sticky residue on your floor can certainly feel like the bane of your existence. However, the good news is that it’s easy to resolve so that you can go back to walking around without wondering what you just stepped in. All it takes is a few simple tricks to get the job done. 

Your sticky floor is now a problem of the past, or so we hope. What did you think of our guide, and did it help you to achieve beautifully clean floors again? Perhaps you have your own methods that you would like to share? Leave us a comment, we love hearing your thoughts.

Last Updated on February 3, 2021 by Gemma Tyler

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