17 Different Types of Cleaning Methods

Most people might not give cleaning a second thought. However, if your goal is to give your home a hotel-esque sparkly shine, we’ve got a list of cleaning methods you need to try out.
Below are 18 cleaning methods divided into manual and mechanized cleaning methods, how they’re done, necessary equipment, and things to be careful of when each cleaning technique.

Different Types of Cleaning Methods
Different Types of Cleaning Methods

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Manual Cleaning Methods

Manual cleaning methods are simply those that do not require the use of electric or mechanized tools.

1. Sweeping

Sweeping simply involves moving a broom in brief strokes back and forth to push dust in one direction, typically in the direction a long-handled dustpan, to remove said dust from a room. After the dust has been pushed into a single pile, take your broom and sweep the dirt into a dustpan for quick and easy removal.

A push broom is ideal for more spacious floors as its wider brush head and stiffer bristles are collect more dust per pass, and standard brushes are better suited for cleaning individual rooms or smaller areas.

Sweeping can cause dust to go airborne when done too vigorously. Take your time when sweeping floors.


2. Dusting

Dusting is the act of removing dust and dirt particles from above-ground surfaces. You can dust nearly anything, from mantles to tables and even furniture. Dusting should be done frequently to remove dust accumulations coming from your home’s HVAC system.

You can correctly guess that a duster is the ideal dusting tool, but try and find a duster with a microfiber cloth that traps all of the dust instead of pushing it around. A feather duster, though traditional, isn’t the ideal tool for the job.

Since dusting is done on above-floor surfaces, the risk of particles going airborne is greater.


3. Damp Dusting

Damp dusting is nearly identical to traditional dusting, except that it uses a small amount of water or cleaning solution. Dusting solution is designed to help remove old, sticky stains from above-ground surfaces. Damp dusting can be done on any above-ground surface where foods and drinks are commonly placed on top of.

Damp dusting is a pretty straightforward process that involves a microfiber cloth, some water, and a bit of dusting solution. You can make your own dusting solution by mixing a cup of water with ¼ cups of vinegar to cut through grease.

Damp Dusting
Damp Dusting

Make sure any additives you include—essential oils, vinegar, olive oil, etc.—are safe to use on whatever surface you’re damp dusting.

4. Dust Mopping/Dry Mopping

Dust or dry mopping is the preferred method of removing sand and grit from floors. You’ll want to remove these abrasive floor contaminants as soon as possible to prevent scratching the surface of your floors and ruining its lustrous shine.

Dust mopping is performed by pushing around a dust mop as you would a push broom. A dust mop is a mop with a wider head with a microfiber cloth that lifts and removes any and all contaminants in its path. You’ll also need a dustpan to collect the sand and grit.


Dust mopping doesn’t fare too well against finer dust particles which may end up being redistributed across your floor.

5. Mop Sweeping

Mop sweeping is similar to dust/dry mopping, except that it uses a bit of water and floor cleaning solution to remove sticky stains from the floor. This is also a fantastic way of picking up and remove the residual particles after dust/dry mopping.

All you need are a microfiber dust mop with a wide head, a bucket of water and cleaning solution mix, and elbow grease. Make sure you wring the mop head to remove as much of the water as possible to prevent puddles which can ruin the finish on floorboards.

Mop Sweeping
Mop Sweeping

Mop sweeping should only be done after dust/dry mopping the prevent the redistribution of these abrasive floor contaminants and scratching up your floorboards or tiles.

6. Spot Mopping

Spot mopping is simply mopping a tiny portion of your floors. When liquid or food is spilled onto your floors, if not cleaned up immediately, the acids from said messes can penetrate the floor’s finish and ultimately ruin the shape and texture of the material underneath.

All you need to spot-mop a floor is a mop and a bucket of water and floor cleaning solution. Also, make sure you’ve wrung your mop to remove as much moisture as possible to allow it to soak up the spills on your floor.

Make sure you set up boundaries or signs to prevent people from walking over the newly mopped spot.

Spot Mopping
Spot Mopping

7. Wet Mopping / Damp Mopping

Wet/damp mopping is pushing a slightly moistened mop or cloth over the entire surface of your floor. This method is done after sweeping, dusting, and dry-mopping a floor to prevent soil and spills from adhering to the surface and leaving permanent stains.

To wet-mop a floor, all you need is a mop and a bucket of water and floor solution. A couple droplets of essential oils can also be used to add a fragrance to your floors after they’ve been given time to air-dry.

Make sure to let passersby know that your floors were newly mopped, otherwise you’ll have to start the cleaning process from the beginnings.

8. Manual Scrubbing

Manual scrubbing requires more elbow grease than the previous cleaning methods. Scrubbing is done on surfaces with grooves, such as tile grout, where mops fibers have difficulty reaching. Scrubbing is also used to remove stubborner stains from such surfaces.

A long-handled scrubbing brush is the perfect tool for scrubbing floors, whereas a handheld scrub brush will help when cleaning vertical surfaces such as bathroom and kitchen walls. Also, you should consider getting a bottle of tile and grout cleaner for better cleaning results.

Scrubbing isn’t a tiresome yet necessary method to give your floors that added wow factor, but using a strong grout solution in enclosed spaces can lead to dizziness. Make sure there’s proper ventilation in the room.

9. Manual Polishing

Manual polishing is done after dry and wet-cleaning a surface to give it an extra boost in shininess. Apply polish sparingly on a cotton rag and rub the surface in tight circles to really let the polish adhere to the surface.


Follow the instructions on the floor or counter polish to see how much time to give between polishing and buffing with a dry cloth. Polish can either strip the finish of your floors or not, so make sure you’re getting the correct type of polish for your floors.

Buffing floors by hand isn’t just a pain to do, but it can take a long time to do. Plus, if the wax wasn’t buffed correctly, you could end up with greasy streaks.

10. Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is dry and/or wet-cleaning soft and hard surfaces to remove localized stains. You do not have to whip out a large bucket and mop to do this; simply use as much or as little water and cleaning solution as needed to remove the stain completely.

To spot clean an area, use whatever tools are best for the surface in question, e.g., brushes for tile grout and soft-bristle brooms for floorboards. You can use a cleaning agent or not, depending on the severity of the stain.

Spot cleaning should be done as soon as you’ve noticed the stain to prevent oils from seeping into your floor.

Spot Cleaning
Spot Cleaning

Mechanized Cleaning Methods

Conversely, mechanized cleaning methods require hardly any elbow grease to produce a squeaky-clean surface akin to that of a 5-star hotel lobby.

1. Suction Cleaning / Vacuum Cleaning

Suction cleaning, which is typically known simply as vacuuming, is the process of pushing a vacuum cleaner across a surface to remove loosened dirt and debris. Vacuum cleaners can come with an assortment of add-ons that make it possible to spot-clean above-floor surfaces like drapes, stairs, upholstery, and even auto interior.

Vacuum Cleaning

Choose the most appropriate vacuum for your situation. A handheld vacuum is great for small, enclosed spaces, whereas a stick or upright vacuum makes cleaning wide floors quicker and easier. A convertible stick/upright lets you enjoy the best of both worlds.

Some vacuum cleaners come with abrasive brushrolls, which can scratch floorboards if left for too long on the same spot.

2. Spray Buffing

Spray buffing is the process of spraying the floor with floor solution and/or wax and going over the area with a high-speed floor buffer. This is the one- rue method of achieving the sparkling finish of high-class restaurants and hotels.

To spray buff your floor, you’ll need a floor buffer with a beige buffing pad that spins at a rate of around 300 RPM. You may need a spray bottle as well if the tool doesn’t come with a spraying function.

Floor buffers can be quite costly and only make sense to have in commercial buildings. However, there are residential-grade floor buffers with fewer frills but deliver identical buffing performance.

3. Polishing

After vacuuming and mopping your floor, you’ll want to give it a deep polish to remove embedded soil and dirt to restore your floor’s natural shine. You don’t need to add polishing to your daily floor-maintenance list since a little bit of polish really goes a long way.

You can use the same high-speed floor buffer you would use for spray buffing. You don’t need liquid cleaning agents to polish floors since they might actually end up stripping the polish afterward.

If you can find a cheap, home-level floor buffer, then you should definitely consider polishing your floors on occasion.

Floor Polishing
Floor Polishing

4. Scrubbing

Scrubbing is done with a slightly abrasive pad or brush attached to the end of a long-handled tool. These brushes dig deep in between tiles to remove dirt and debris hiding in grout. Scrubbing is mainly done on bathroom floors, though it’s not uncommon to find commercial establishments using scrubbing machines in public areas of their buildings.

Electric scrubbers are simple, inexpensive tools. A little bit of floor cleaning solution should help in loosening stubborn dirt from hard-to-reach areas.

You’ll want to ensure that the compatible scrubbing pads or brushes are not too tough on your floors as scratching is a tremendous risk when dry-scrubbing.

5. Stripping

If the finishing on your floor has become dull over time or due to excessive redistribution of sand and grit, you’ll need to strip your floors bare. Exposing the natural materials of your floors will allow you to add minor touch-ups or completely refinish your floors, whichever you see fit.

The same floor buffer for spraying buffing and polishing can be used to strip your floors bare of their finish, though you’ll need an abrasive pad to do so. Also, you’ll need a bottle of floor finish on hand that’s suitable for your floor’s material.

Since you’re stripping the finish off of your floors, you’ll want to keep the floor buffer constantly moving to prevent it from digging into the actual boards or tiles.

6. Laundering

Even though we focused more on cleaning floors and walls, you can’t forget to clean the fabrics in your home. This includes bedsheets, clothing, upholstery fabrics, and any other soft material that can be safely washed in a washing machine.

You’ll obviously need a washing machine to handle larger loads of laundry, as well as the right type of detergent or bleach to prevent colors from fading. A dryer would also be nice to have, though air-drying your fabrics will prevent them from shrinking.

Washing Machine
Washing Machine

Some things need to be laundered frequently, such as articles of clothing, bedsheets, and pillowcases. Make sure you wash all fabrics immediately after becoming dirtied to prevent permanent stains.

7. Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is the act of removing dirt and stains from textiles. Instead of using a mix of water and detergent, dry cleaning uses a chemical medium, usually kerosene or hydrocarbon. The fabrics do indeed get wet, but water is thrown completely out of the equation.

Dry cleaning can be an expensive process that only large laundromats and hotels offer as a regular service. However, dry cleaning at home is possible with the right chemical cleaning agent and the soft wash mode in your washing machine.

DIY dry cleaning is not a guaranteed process and can actually lead to the total destruction of clothing if done incorrectly. We recommend leaving this to the pros.

Final Remarks

As you can see, cleaning your home (and clothing) isn’t as simple as pushing dirt out of the area. It involves a wide range of tools and supplies to do correctly and thoroughly. However, the results make thorough cleaning totally worth it.

Types of Cleaning
Types of Cleaning

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