How To: Mop the Floor With Kids

How to mop the kitchen floor with kids

P and J having a really good time. This was taken right after I put the bowls down, so they hadn’t yet had time to drech themselves completely.

I’ve mentioned we’re a little busy right now. In a few weeks, things will calm down a bit. Mostly though, this pace will stick with us for the foreseeable future, and I’m working to adjust to it. In order to make room for a few things, I had to make a conscious decision earlier this year to let go of a few things, and cleaning is one of them. Daily cooking is another–you can read about that one on Friday.

I’m not saying I’m going to let that piece of cheese rot on the floor for the next year. Only that I’ve relaxed my standards. I used to like to mop at least every two weeks. Our kitchen is small and we have two young kids (and added a few thousand worms to it recently). Two days after mopping it, it is visibly dirty again.

Mopping is a task that isn’t easy to do in a tight space with two little kids underfoot. Historically, I would put them down for a nap, vacuum and then mop, and have about half an hour before they woke up. Now, I use every minute of nap time either writing, doing volunteer work, or keeping up with friends and family.

I can’t remember why I was desperate, but something happened on the kitchen floor in the middle of a crazy few days this spring, and I didn’t have time to mop.

Then it hit me–a housekeeping hack! Why not let the kids help me mop the floor? 

Here’s how you can have your own anklebiters helping you mop the floor in no time:

Step 1: Gather bath towels and a full change of clothes (including diaper) for each child and place in the room adjacent to your kitchen.

Step 2: Gather various sizes of cups, pans, bowls, spoons, and rag-towels. Rag-towels (n): Hand and bath towels no longer fit for post-bathing, but good for cleaning up messes.

Step 3: Fill the larger bowls & pans with warm, soapy water. I use a few drops each of castile and dish soap.

Step 4: Put the pans & bowls of water in the middle of the kitchen floor. Give the kids the spoons and cups, and they will typically sit or kneel down to the level of the bowls & pans. *Put lots of rag-towels around them. You can either join in at this point or sit at your kitchen table, sipping a hot cup of tea, congratulating yourself on your brilliance while you occasionally throw another rag-towel into the melee.

*In our house, our kitchen floor slopes so much that I only need to put towels on one side of them.

Step 5: When the kids are finished, dump all of the containers of water into a bucket and ask them to help you scrub the floors with the rag-towels, which are conveniently already wet and soapy (you’ll probably need to wring them out a bit). They won’t do a great job but, hey, they’re learning!

Step 6: Get a sponge or mop or whatever and use the last of the water to mop! Our kitchen is small with lots of corners and nooks, so I always just use a sponge on my hands and knees with the kids.

Step 7: When the kids can’t clean any more, the towels and clothes are ready for them in the next room.

Please note that if you have flooring that you love, flooring that isn’t waterproof, or flooring that was made after 1990, this probably isn’t how you should clean your floors.

There you have it: A way to make a not-so-fun task fun AND kid-friendly during times of crazy schedules. And if you join in, you just turned mopping the floor into a quality time activity!


Have any great housekeeping “hacks” you can share with me? I’m always looking for more!


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