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 it is 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 electric or mechanized tools.

1. Sweeping

Sweeping involves moving a broom in brief strokes back and forth to push dust in one direction, typically in the direction of 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 cleaning.

A push broom is ideal for more spacious floors as its wider brush head, stiffer bristles 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 to find a duster with a microfiber cloth that traps all of the dust instead of pushing it around. A feather duster, though traditional, is not 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. A dusting solution helps remove old, sticky stains from above-ground surfaces. Damp dusting can be done on any above-ground surface where foods and drinks are placed on top.

Damp dusting is a pretty straightforward process that requires a microfiber cloth, some water, and a dusting solution. You can make your dusting solution by mixing a cup of water with ¼ cup 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 are damp dusting.

4. Dust Mopping/Dry Mopping

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

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


Dust mopping does not fare too well against finer dust particles distributed across your floor.

5. Mop Sweeping

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

You need a microfiber dust mop with a broad head, a bucket of water and cleaning solution mix, and elbow grease. Ensure you wring the mop head to remove as much water as possible to prevent puddles that 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 flooring, 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 to 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. Use essential oil droplets to add a fragrance to the floor after given time to air-dry.

Ensure to let passersby know that the floor is newly mopped, otherwise, you have to start the cleaning process from the beginning.

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 used to remove stubborner stains from such surfaces.

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

Scrubbing is not a tiresome yet necessary method to give your floors that added wow factor, but using a powerful grout solution in enclosed spaces can lead to dizziness. Make sure there is 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 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 flooring or not, so make sure you are getting the correct type of polish for your floor.

Buffing floors by hand is not just a pain to carry out, but it can take a long time to accomplish. Plus, if the wax wasn’t buffed correctly, you could end with greasy streaks.

10. Spot Cleaning

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

To spot clean an area, use the best tools for the surface, 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 have 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, typically known simply as vacuuming, is the process of 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 best for small, enclosed spaces, whereas a stick or upright vacuum makes cleaning broad floors quicker and easier. A convertible stick vacuum or upright vacuum lets you enjoy the best of both worlds.

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

2. Spray Buffing

Spray buffing is spraying the floor with floor solution or wax and going over the area with a high-speed floor buffer. It is the- 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 need a bottle spray if the tool does not come with a spraying function.

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

3. Polishing

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

You can use the same high-speed floor buffer for spray buffing. You do not need liquid cleaning agents to polish floors since they might end up stripping the polish afterward.

If you can find a cheap, home-level floor buffer, you should consider polishing your floors occasionally.

Floor Polishing
Floor Polishing

4. Scrubbing

Scrubbing is done with a slightly abrasive pad or brushes attached to the end of a long-handled tool. These brushes dig deep between tiles to remove dirt and debris hiding in the grout. Scrubbing is mainly done on bathroom floors, though it is 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 want to ensure that the compatible scrubbing pads or brushes are not too tough on your floor 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 will need to strip your floors bare. Exposing the natural materials of your floor will allow you to add minor touch-ups or completely refinish your floors, whichever you see fit.

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

Since you’re stripping the finish off 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 need a washing machine to handle larger loads of laundry, like a good type of detergent or bleach to prevent colors from fading. A dryer would also be pleasant to own, 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. Ensure 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 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 proper measurement of chemical cleaning agents and the soft wash mode in your washing machine.

DIY dry cleaning is not a guaranteed process and can ruin clothes if done incorrectly. We recommend leaving this to the pros.

Final Remarks

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

Types of Cleaning
Types of Cleaning

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