Ergonomic Mopping- Best Tips to Mop Without Hurting Your Back

Mopping is important for several reasons. For one thing, it helps to sanitize the floor. After all, it’s a lot dirtier than it looks. Bacteria, viruses, you name it—anything can accumulate given the chance. By mopping regularly, you’ll be able to keep things sanitized, which will prevent you from getting sick. Not only that, but it also helps to remove allergens—things like pet dander and dust. The last thing that you want is for them to build up in your house. That can trigger various symptoms such as sneezing or watery eyes.

Regular mopping is also good for your floors—it lets you get rid of debris before it becomes a problem. Take dirt and soil, for example—they can easily cause tiny scratches that can become eyesores. This is especially true if you have hardwood as they tend to be more delicate. Without the layer of dust, your floors will also look better. Given all that, there's really no reason why you want to neglect the mop. A good quality microfiber mop goes a long way in helping you achieve superior cleaning without hurting your back. Sure, it might not be the most exhilarating thing that you can do, but it's necessary.

The Issue With Mopping

The thing with mopping, however, is that it can cause injuries if you’re not doing it properly. For instance, it can cause a repetitive strain injury (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome). A type of overuse injury, it usually affects the nerves, tendons, and muscles. Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, weakness, or tenderness. Left untreated, they’re likely to become more intense over time.

Ergonomic Mopping

It can also cause back pain—that is, the mopping motions can strain the muscles of your back. Generally speaking, this tends to happen if you bend at the waist over and over again while reaching your arms. Turning to the side as you work can contribute to the problem as well.

What to Do If You Hurt Your Back While Mopping

Hurt your back while mopping the floor? Give your body a chance to recover—in other words, you want to stop mopping until it heals. In the meantime, here are some things that'll help with the pain.

Painkiller Medications

There are various painkillers than you can take to relieve your back pain. Take NSAIDs, for example, not only will they treat the pain but they’ll also minimize any swelling that’s present. Just make sure that you’re taking the recommended dose. Taking too much can easily do more harm than good!

Topical Ointments and Creams

Don’t want to take any drugs? You can always use a topical product such as an ointment or a cream. If anything, they’re just as effective as painkillers if used properly. What’s more, is that they’re associated with less side effects. In other words, they’re safer than oral medications!

Apply Heat/Ice

Applying ice to the area can help to relieve discomfort. During the acute phases of back pain, it can also help to reduce inflammation. Avoid applying the ice pack directly to your skin, though. Instead, wrap it with a small towel. Once the initial swelling has subsided, you can switch to a warm compress. Depending on your symptoms, you might want to consider alternating between cold and hot over the next few days.

Strengthening Exercises

You can strengthen your back muscles once your symptoms have subsided. How? By doing strengthening exercises. Aside from that, it’s also important to stretch—that way, you’ll be less prone to injury the next time you mop.

Take a Salt Bath

A hot bath can do wonders if you have back pain. For the best results, add some Epsom salt. Also known as magnesium sulfate, it will quickly dissolve in warm water. Absorbed into the body, the minerals can help ease your aching back muscles. Where can you find it? In most drug stores—it’s relatively cheap too.

7 Tips on How to Mop Without Hurting Your Back

Want to mop but don't want to hurt your back? Here are some things that you might want to consider the next time you're cleaning the floor!
ergonomic mopping techniques

1. Move Your Body Properly

Try to keep your hips and shoulders moving toward where you’re mopping. Avoid bending at the waist while mopping as that tends to aggravate the situation. Instead of that, step forward with one foot, bending the knee slightly. That way, you’ll be able to keep your upper body upright without putting any strain on your back.

2. Don't Fill Your Bucket All the Way

Chances are, you’ll be using a bucket if you’re mopping. If anything, it’s the easiest way to rinse the pad clean (you’ll probably have to do this more than once while you’re cleaning). Keep in mind, however, that you’ll have to drain the water once it gets dirty.

The last thing that you want to do is to keep cleaning with dirty water! That’ll only undo your hard work. Given that, you might want to fill your bucket half-full instead (as opposed to all the way to the top)—that way, it won’t be heavy when you’re lugging it over to the sink. Alternatively, you can just do your rinsing in the bathtub.

3. Use a Mop With an Extendable Handle

Extending the mop away from the body can cause back pain over time. Fortunately, you can prevent that by using a mop with an extendable handle. That will allow you to customize its length so that you won’t have to bend over to reach different areas. These telescopic handles are relatively easy to use as well—all you have to do is twist to adjust the length. From there, you can lock it in place so that it won’t move while you’re mopping.

4. Watch How You're Pushing the Mop

Pay attention to how you’re pushing the mop. You want to use your whole body, not just your hands and arm—that can easily cause repetitive strain injuries. Here’s another tip—keep the mop handle as vertical as possible while you’re cleaning. Your head should also be up as much as possible while you’re doing this to prevent neck strain.

cleaning floor

5. Make Sure the Mop is Right For You

It’s important that you use a mop that’s right for you. More specifically, you want it to be the proper size. For example, avoid using a large wet mop if you’re small in stature. Not only will it be heavy, which will make the chore harder, but it’ll also increase your chance of injury. After all, you’ll be putting more force than necessary into the mopping motions.

Ideally, you want to get something lightweight like the Turbo Mop. That way, you'll be able to push it easily without exerting yourself.

6. Use an Ergonomic Mop Bucket

Consider using a mop bucket with an ergonomic design. That way, you won’t have to bend over to wring out your mop, which can easily strain your back over time. For example, there are buckets with foot pedals that you can use that’ll allow you to wring and rinse your mop without arching your body.

7. Get a Mop With a Comfortable Handle

Do your research when you’re shopping for a mop. Ideally, you want something with a soft handle that’ll be comfortable in your hand. Remember, you’ll be using it a lot so it only makes sense to use something that’s comfy for you. Another thing that you want to pay attention to is the diameter. Generally speaking, thicker handles are more comfortable to hold than those with a small diameter.