Damp Mopping

The concept of damp mopping an acid-stained concrete floor is similar to the cleaning of a window: remove dirt and smudging with a mild cleaning solution to restore gloss. Photo courtesy of:  Jack’s Window Cleaning .

The concept of damp mopping an acid-stained concrete floor is similar to the cleaning of a window: remove dirt and smudging with a mild cleaning solution to restore gloss. Photo courtesy of: Jack’s Window Cleaning.

Promptly cleaning a decorative concrete floor once the floor finish has become dirty, scuffed, marred or lost its luster (and dust mopping no longer helps) will restore the floor's initial gloss and help preserve the integrity of the remaining floor finish.  In most cases, it is best to use a pH-neutral cleaner, diluted in cool or cold water, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most pH-neutral cleaners do not require rinsing except when re-coating with new floor finish, because they do not contain strong acidic or alkaline additives.  pH-neutral cleaners are formulated so as to help compensate for bad mopping technique, improper rinsing, and poor water quality - all things that can leave visible water spots on a newly cleaned, and/or glossy floor, be it tile, hardwood, laminate, or acid-stained concrete.

This high-use, gray decorative concrete floor shows a lot of scuffing from plastic rollers on the office chairs - scuffing which could have been reduced or eliminated by rinsing the floor after cleaning.

This high-use, gray decorative concrete floor shows a lot of scuffing from plastic rollers on the office chairs - scuffing which could have been reduced or eliminated by rinsing the floor after cleaning.

Extremely dirty decorative concrete floors, or those that have not been cleaned for a long period of time, however, do generally require a stronger floor cleaner that involves rinsing. This is because stronger floor cleaners use “surfactants” whose role is to attract and surround dirt particles, thereby making it easier for the dirt to be removed, such as by wet vacuuming or extraction. If these surfactants are not completely rinsed once the floor is clean, the positive charges in the remaining residues will continue to attract new dust and dirt. The added friction imparted on the floor by the surfactant residues will also make the floor more prone to scuffing.

The best source of a good cleaning product is a local janitorial supply house - not Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Menard’s. They'll also have the best prices.  We use and recommend Spartan's Damp Mop Cleaner, as well as Diversey's Prominence. One of the advantages of using products from Spartan Chemical, as opposed to Diversey, is that they have a good local distributor locator on their website that makes it easy to find product available in your area. You can find that resource here: Where to Buy Spartan Chemical .

This poly/cotton loop-end wet mop from   Continental Products   is ideal for cleaning acid-stained concrete, and much more durable than traditional, “cut-end” cotton mops.

This poly/cotton loop-end wet mop from Continental Products is ideal for cleaning acid-stained concrete, and much more durable than traditional, “cut-end” cotton mops.

When mopping, be sure to keep the cleaning solution from getting too dirty, and do not allow the cleaner to puddle.  Sometimes, it helps to use separate buckets for the cleaning and rinsing solutions, and to periodically rinse the mop.  Also, do not use Swiffer Wet-Jets, bleach, ammonia, Pine Sol, or any harsh detergents.  These products will break down and discolor the existing floor finish and sometimes the concrete sealer, as well.  This could then require stripping and re-application of the floor finish and sealer, which is a tedious, time-consuming, difficult and expensive process. 

The ideal mop to use for damp mopping is a "loop end wet mop" made of a cotton/rayon blend or microfiber.  Loop end mops are absorbent, re-usable, contact the floor surface continuously and don't leave lint or fiber behind.  Microfiber flat mops also work well.  Tough marks that do not come up with light pressure and a mop can often be removed with fine steel wool or a light scouring pad.