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It’s time to rethink the traditional mop and broom.

No matter if you have hardwood, tile, or marble floors in your home, chances are they are teeming with bacteria and debris that can sometimes not be visible to the naked eye. As a form of habit, we tend to reach for the usual suspects—a mop and broom—to ensure a clean surface. However, the outdated tools can actually make matters worse, creating a larger perimeter for germs to fester. According to Debra Johnson of Merry Maids, we need to update our cleaning arsenal for truly spotless floors.

“Sweeping merely stirs the dust and dirt into the air, eventually making its way back down to the floor again,” she reveals. “On the other hand, when you use a mop, you are constantly dipping the bacteria you’re trying to get rid of back into the bucket, and onto the floor again. Talk about counterproductive!”

Johnson says we need to retrain our brains to break the belief that these devices are helping us with our daily chores. “It’s something we have been taught for decades upon decades,” she says. “If you were to poll a random selection of Americans, I would guess that nine out of 10 still use one or both of these items to clean their floors.”

For weekly deep cleanings and everyday spills, opt for a flat mop with a microfiber cover, which will emit less moisture that inevitably results (and breeds more bacteria) from a traditional mop. And, when cleaning up dust and pet hair, Johnson recommends ditching the broom for a vacuum.

Trust us, your floors will thank you.

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