How to Use a Swiffer to Wash Floors

Swiffers are a popular and convenient way to clean floors quickly and easily. With some simple preparation and techniques, you can use a Swiffer to effectively wash a variety of hard floor surfaces. Follow these steps to get the most out of your Swiffer when washing floors.

Choose the Right Swiffer Product

Swiffer offers several different products for washing floors:

Swiffer WetJet

The Swiffer WetJet uses disposable pads that attach to a handheld spray unit. The unit sprays cleaning solution onto the floor, and the pads pick up dirt and grime. WetJets are great for quick touch-ups and removing surface debris.

Swiffer Sweeper Dry and Wet Mopping Pads

These thick, reusable microfiber pads attach to the Swiffer Sweeper handle. Use dry pads for dusting and wet pads for washing floors. Soak the wet pads in your own cleaning solution. Wet mopping pads allow you to add as much moisture as needed for deeper cleaning.

Swiffer SteamBoost Mop

This electric mop steams the floor’s surface to loosen up stuck-on messes. The steam helps sanitize floors and remove grease and grime. The mop uses disposable SteamBoost pads.

For thorough floor washing, the Swiffer Wet Mopping Pads or the SteamBoost Mop are the best options.

Assemble Supplies

Before you start washing floors with your Swiffer, gather the necessary supplies:

  • Swiffer mop handle
  • Clean Swiffer pads – dry or wet mopping pads or SteamBoost pads, depending on product
  • Cleaning solution – use Swiffer products or your own mild detergent
  • Two buckets for holding clean solution and rinsing pads
  • Old towels
  • A scrub brush for tough spots
  • A squeegee to collect excess water

Prepare the Floors

To maximize floor washing with a Swiffer, start by clearing and preparing the floors:

  • Remove all movable furniture and objects from the area. This allows you to access the entire floor surface.
  • Sweep floors thoroughly to pick up loose debris. A broom, dustpan, and vacuum can help remove built-up dirt and dust.
  • Deal with spills, sticky messes, and stuck-on grime. Use a scrub brush, old towels, and a little cleaning solution to remove these problem areas before Swiffering. This prevents pushing the mess around.
  • If washing stone, concrete, or very dirty floors, consider a preliminary mopping. This helps loosen up ground-in dirt so the Swiffer can remove it more easily.

Mix the Cleaning Solution

The key to washing floors effectively with a Swiffer is using the right cleaning solution. Avoid harsh chemicals, bleaches, or soaps that can leave residue. Here are some mild, safe formulas:

  • For vinyl, tile, and sealed floors: Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar or mild dish soap into 1 gallon of warm water. Vinegar helps cut grease, and dish soap helps lift dirt.
  • For natural stone and hardwood: Use a specially formulated stone/wood cleaner, or make a solution of 1 cup white vinegar mixed into 1 gallon of warm water.
  • For Swiffer WetJet: Fill tank with warm water, add a capful of Swiffer cleaning solution or mild detergent.

Always check that your cleaning solution is safe for your specific floor types.

Wash Floors with Swiffer

Once you’ve prepped the area and mixed cleaning solution, you’re ready to wash floors with your Swiffer:

1. Soak Pads in Solution

  • For Swiffer wet mopping, dip pads in bucket with cleaning solution. Really soak pads to saturation – this is key! Wring out excess.
  • For SteamBoost, wet pads lightly with water – the steam provides the cleaning power.

2. Attach Pad to Swiffer

  • Secure wet pad on bottom of Swiffer head, pressing firmly on the velcro strips. Make sure pad is smooth and flat.

3. Work in Sections

  • Tackle small sections of the floor at a time, about 6′ x 6′. This keeps the pad from getting too dirty as you clean.
  • Work from the farthest area back towards the room’s exit. Avoid stepping on wet, clean floor.

4. Use Swiffer in S-Shape

  • Use an S-shaped motion with the Swiffer. Move forward and backward, overlapping slightly.
  • Apply light pressure down and forward on Swiffer head to get into floor grooves. Don’t scrub aggressively.
  • The microfiber pads grab and lift dirt, so no need to rub back and forth.

5. Rinse Pads Frequently

  • Check pad often. When soiled, rinse in second bucket of clean water and re-wet with solution.
  • For SteamBoost, replace pad. The steam action minimizes need to rinse pads.

6. Get the Edges

  • Carefully Swiffer along baseboards, thresholds, and edges. Use angled motions to get into corners.
  • Use extra pressure to remove debris buildup in these areas.

7. Handle Tough Spots

  • For stuck-on spots or grime, use a light scrubbing motion focused on the soiled area until removed.
  • You can also spot treat using a scrub brush and cleaning solution prior to Swiffering.

8. Dry Surfaces

  • With a dry Swiffer pad, go back over the washed floor to dry it and pick up any residual dirt.
  • For excess standing water, use an old towel or squeegee before drying with Swiffer.

Tips for Thorough Floor Washing

Follow these tips as you wash floors with your Swiffer to ensure a deep, effective clean:

  • Rinse pads very frequently – this prevents dirt and grime buildup on the mop head and helps lift soils from the floor’s surface.
  • Overlap passes – going over areas more than once removes stuck-on messes and picks up debris that was missed the first time.
  • Change direction – wash floors using vertical, horizontal, and angled motions to get into all grout lines and floor texture.
  • Check edges and corners – be methodical when cleaning along edges and corners since dirt loves to hide there.
  • Watch for splatters – when wet mopping, keep the Swiffer low to the ground to minimize messy splatters on baseboards or walls.

Finish by Drying Surfaces

It’s important to leave floors completely dry after washing with a Swiffer. Wet floors are a slipping hazard. Plus, excess moisture can damage many flooring types over time.

Here are a few options for drying floors:

  • Dry Swiffer pad – go back over washed floors using a dry Swiffer pad to soak up any remaining moisture.
  • Towels – old cotton towels work great for drying. Focus on edges that the Swiffer can’t reach.
  • Fans – point portable fans directly at the floor to speed up drying time. Just be sure to wipe up any puddles first.
  • Squeegee – use a window squeegee to collect pools of water and direct them towards drains or towels placed on the floor.
  • Time – simply waiting 15-30 minutes gives moisture a chance to evaporate, especially on sealed hard floors.

Thoroughly drying floors prevents ongoing dirt-attraction and ensures floors are safe to walk on.

Clean and Store Swiffer

Once floor washing is complete, properly clean and store your Swiffer:

  • Remove pad and rinse debris from mop head using clean water.
  • Sanitize mop head by soaking in disinfectant solution for 5-10 minutes. Air dry.
  • Use lint roller on the velcro strips to remove built-up debris.
  • To store, hang handle upright with mop head off the ground.
  • For reusable pads, soak in laundry detergent and wash in washing machine. Air dry prior to next use.
  • Discard used disposable pads.

Proper care prolongs the lifespan of your Swiffer floors.

Alternative Floor Washing Options

While Swiffers provide a quick and easy cleaning option, they may not be ideal for deep-cleaning heavily soiled floors. Here are some alternative washing methods to consider:

  • Traditional mop and bucket – Allows thorough application of cleaning solution. Choose highly-absorbent cotton mop heads.
  • Automatic or steam mops – Provide enhanced scrubbing action and steam power to sanitize floors.
  • Hand scrubbing – For seriously dirty floors, hand scrubbing with a brush and concentrated cleaner may be required.
  • Cleaning services – Consider hiring professional cleaners equipped with industrial machines to deep clean floors. This is especially useful for commercial settings.

Evaluate how dirty your floors are and how deep of a clean they need when choosing floor washing methods.

Floor Washing Tips to Remember

Keep these additional tips in mind for safe, effective floor washing with a Swiffer:

  • Check manufacturer instructions for proper use and care guidelines specific to your floors.
  • Wash floors when traffic is minimal to allow them time to fully dry.
  • Move appliances and furniture back carefully to prevent water damage to wood floors.
  • Vacuum first to remove the “seeds” of dirt that can complicate mopping.
  • Use smooth “S” shaped mop strokes and overlap passes to fully cover the floor area.
  • Change cleaning solution frequently to prevent transferring dirt.
  • Soak cleaning pads in solution rather than spraying liquid directly on floors. This prevents over-wetting.
  • Work in small sections and complete each before moving on.
  • Make sure baseboards and corners are cleaned thoroughly.
  • Rinse floors with clean water occasionally to remove chemical residue buildup.
  • Give floors plenty of time to completely dry before walking on them after mopping.

With the right techniques and care, Swiffers allow fast, simple washing of hard floors. Follow these tips to get floors clean while avoiding damage or water issues. Adjust methods as needed based on your specific flooring type and soil situation. With some trial and error, you’ll be Swiffer washing those floors like a pro.

Frequently Asked Questions About Washing Floors With Swiffers

How often should I wash my floors with a Swiffer?

  • For light maintenance, Swiffering floors 1-2 times per week is sufficient. Areas with lots of traffic may need to be washed 3-4 times per week. Wash highly soiled floors daily.

Can I use a Swiffer WetJet on hardwood floors?

  • Yes, Swiffer WetJets may be used on sealed hardwood floors. Be sure to mist the solution lightly and avoid excessive moisture. Test in an inconspicuous area first.

How do I wash floors without leaving streaks?

  • Soak pads thoroughly in solution, wring out excess liquid before mopping. Rinse pads frequently to remove dirt. Overlap passes and change direction to ensure even cleaning.

What is the best Swiffer product for washing laminate floors?

  • The Swiffer Wet Mopping pads work well. Avoid the WetJet’s spray mechanism which can seep liquid into laminate seams. Check manufacturer directions first.

How should I clean unfinished wood floors with a Swiffer?

  • Unfinished wood should be cleaned very gently. Use only slightly damp pads and avoid excessive moisture. Check for dirt on pad frequently. Oily soap residue can damage wood over time.

Can I wash tile floor grout lines with a Swiffer?

  • Yes, apply extra pressure along grout lines to remove built-up dirt. Use a scrub brush on extremely dirty grout. Avoid excessive water so grime does not seep deeper into pores.

What cleaning solution should I use with the SteamBoost mop?

  • The SteamBoost relies mainly on steam power rather than chemical cleaners. Just use water in the tank. For tough buildup, pre-treat spots with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, etc.

How do I wash floors without leaving them overly wet?

  • Wring pads thoroughly before mopping. Work in small sections, drying as you go. Soak up excess moisture with dry pads, towels or a squeegee instead of letting it air dry.

What is the proper way to dry floors after washing with a Swiffer?

  • Dry floors immediately after washing using dry pads, towels, fans, or a squeegee. Allowing moisture to air dry can damage many floor types over time.


Swiffer products allow quick and convenient floor washing between deeper cleans. Follow the preparation, washing, and drying steps outlined to get the best results. With some practice, you can learn how to effectively clean all types of hard floors with a Swiffer WetJet, Wet Mop, or SteamBoost Mop. Keep floors looking their best by incorporating regular Swiffering into your cleaning routine.