How to Sweep a Floor

Just about everybody has swept a floor at some point, but even if you're an old hand at it, proper tools and technique can make the job easier.


  1. Image titled SweepFloor 1
    Choose a good broom appropriate for your task. You may not think about your broom very much, but it's worth getting a good one.
    • Image titled SweepFloor 2
      A broad end will make for faster sweeping, since you can cover more ground in one stroke.
    • Image titled SweepFloor 3
      For outdoor jobs, especially large ones, consider using a push broom. You can cover more ground with the broad brush, and the bristles are often designed to work on outdoor surfaces, such as concrete.
    • Image titled SweepFloor 4
      For large, indoor floors, such as a gymnasium, store, or office building, try a dust mop. Available in many widths, dust mops can thoroughly clean a large area in a single pass.
    • Image titled SweepFloor 5
      Whatever implement you choose, try it out to make sure the handle length, weight, and balance work for you.
  2. Image titled SweepFloor 6
    Clear the area. If you can remove furnishings, throw rugs, or other obstacles, do so. If possible, also close it off to foot traffic.
  3. Image titled SweepFloor 7
    Start in one edge or corner and sweep in overlapping strokes in towards the center of the room. Pull the broom against the floor in one direction and lift it back to that edge in the other direction.
  4. Image titled SweepFloor 8
    Make sure the broom reaches into the angle of each corner so that you sweep out the dust from there.
  5. Image titled SweepFloor 99
    Work your way around the room, collecting the debris into a small pile or piles. It helps to be systematic, working generally from one direction to another.
    • When sweeping outdoors, try as much as possible to sweep downhill and with the wind. It will help to avoid breathing the dust created if you are allergic or sensitive to it. If possible, avoid sweeping when it is too windy.
  6. Image titled SweepFloor 11
    Collect the piles. Use a dustpan and either the broom or a brush. Sweep the debris into the dustpan and dispose of it in the trash. If the dustpan leaves a line right under the rim, move it back and sweep some more. When the line doesn't seem to be getting any smaller, you can either sweep that part under the rug or pick it up with a damp cloth or other means. Outdoors, you may prefer the grass catcher from a push mower, an outdoor dustpan, or a shovel or rake to collect debris.


  • Sweep floors regularly. Debris can damage floor surfaces when normal activity grinds it into the surface.
  • Avoid storing a broom on its bristles. Hang it up for storage, instead. It will last longer and not get bent out of shape so quickly.
  • When sweeping very dusty areas such as garages, try a sweeping compound to avoid spreading dust to shelves and other surfaces.
  • Always remove hairs and dust from the broom/mop after sweeping for the next use.
  • Use door mats inside and outside each entrance to keep debris from getting tracked in in the first place. Don't forget to shake or hose them out periodically.
  • Vacuuming a hard floor is not necessarily quicker, easier, or more effective than sweeping. If you choose to vacuum instead, make sure that the beater bar or brush roll (the spinning brush in an upright vacuum cleaner) is turned off or lifted up off the floor. Better yet, use a long-handled attachment that does not have a brush.

Article Info

Categories: Carpet and Floor Care