How to Sweep

Heather says:

Sweeping a floor is not rocket science, but no one was born knowing how to operate a broom. First, choose the broom based on your flooring. If you have a new, smooth floor a broom with synthetic straw is your best bet. If your flooring is textured or worn, choose a straw broom. In either case I have found brooms with an angled head are best for reaching under cabinetry.

Before you start, turn off any overhead fans, there are few things more aggravating than trying to chase down floating debris. Personally, I like to remove chairs, pets, and small children* from the room, rather than trying to sweep around them, unless I’m just doing a “quick get the obvious spots” sweep.

how to sweep

There are two tactics when planning your strategy:

1)Perimeter method – begin along the walls and corners sweeping all dirt toward the middle of the room, spiraling inward. I find this method useful in square rooms.

2) End to End method – Start at one wall and work toward the other, pulling the pile along with you until the far wall is reached. I find this one useful in rectangular rooms as well as hallways.

guide to clean floors

Click the picture for more tips!

The actual sweeping motion is fairly simple. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and grasp the handle near the top with your dominant hand. Your other hand should be holding the handle somewhat near your waist. The straw should make full contact with the floor, but not bend. If you press too firmly you may scratch the floor with grit and weaken the straw. Too little pressure and the dirt will be left behind. Use short strokes and work the dirt into a pile, being careful not to track back over the swept portion until the room has been swept. Sweep the debris into a dustpan and dispose.

Replace the furniture and allow the children and pets to return only if you care to repeat the process in the near future.

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

*The attraction of dirt to animals and children is never more evident than when the crumbs and dust are concentrated in one small pile. Children have been known to be attracted from neighbors’ homes to poke at paper shreds and dustbunnies. A closed door is only a temporary solution and be prepared for much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the union is denied.



11 Comments

  1. Milehimama on November 9, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    And whatever you do, don't sweep the pile into the corner and prop the broom against the wall to guard it while you go rescue the baby.

    You'll just have to start over. Always end with the dustpan, LOL!



    • Heather on November 10, 2009 at 8:52 am

      Oh, I’ve done that so many times.



  2. Ask the Audience: Fortune Cookie Dilemma on November 2, 2007 at 8:22 am

    […] Of course, if you choose to take his advice, you’ll need tips on sweeping. […]



  3. […] Floors- Vacuum or sweep and mop as needed. If I’m really short on time, I’ll do what I call […]



  4. Julie on May 25, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I did that too for awhile, but I swear the darn cat jumped until he could reach it and then decided to push a chair over… ok maybe the kids left the chair there, but then again, I dont know??



  5. Badbadivy on May 24, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Julie!!! I thought I was the only weirdo with cats that do that! I hang my broom up so they can’t get to it. I’ll have to snap a pic sometime for ya.



  6. […] Sweep, unless you really enjoy creating mud or scratching the floor with grit. […]



  7. Julie on May 24, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Ahhh, see if I had only known this months or years ago. So sad that I have been sweeping wrong all this time. LOL
    Actually it is helpful to know the direction of sweeping. I have never thought of that before.
    Now what do I do about cats who come in to just chew on the broom bristles and deposit them elsewhere at a later date in a new form. YUCK!! LOL



  8. bramble on May 24, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    aw but mom dust bunnies are even better than the leaf pile!



  9. No Longer The Pampered Princess on May 24, 2007 at 10:27 am

    You are just a life saver. I can not wait for the next Cleaning 101! BTW…how do you properly clean an oven?



  10. (((((HUGS))))) sandi on May 23, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    Now see? This *should* be common sense, but I see I needed to read it! (((((HUGS))))) sandi