Why Does My Floor Get Slippery When I Spray It?

Wood floor and white wall, empty room for background

This looks like a simple question, and it is. The answers, though, are not so simple and go beyond just the fact that the floor is now wet. Let’s consider then what causes this safety hazard.


Several types of dirt can make a floor dirty when you spray it. This is down to the fact that the floors are either not cleaned properly or cleaned as often as they should be. These are typically dirt that has a low friction coefficient meaning it is already slippery. The addition of water to this dirt when it is on the floor compounds the slipperiness.

This does not mean big pieces of grime, but typically the small invisible pieces that are missed when cleaning floors.

Poor Finish

Poor quality chemicals used in finishing a floor can create problems. Make sure that any finishes are slip-resistant and are of high quality. Safety is not a place to cut financial corners. If you have contractors doing this, ask about the products they use.

It is not only the quality of the products used in finishing a floor that can be a source of problems. Too many or too few finishing layers can both result in a slippery floor. Layers should be done two or three at a time and then checked that they are slip-resistant.

Poor Cleaning Practices

If the implements used to clean a floor are dirty or of poor quality, then the use of them can leave residues that will become slippery. It is good practice to clean mops, brooms,  brushes, and other cleaning implements thoroughly after using them. It is also wise to make sure they are dust-free and clean before starting to use them.

It is best also to ensure that buckets are cleaned before using them and empty them periodically to avoid dirt being spread around.

Failing to dry a floor properly can also leave residues such as soap or grease. When those poorly dried surfaces are sprayed, they become an immediate slipping hazard. Ensure any mop you use at the end is dry.

It’s Not All About the Floor

When a floor has water applied to it, the water forms a layer that acts as a lubricant between the floor and shoes on the surface. This means that it is not the floor itself that is sticky as it would be if there were grease on it, but rather the water itself that creates the slippery environment. When paired with shoes that are low friction, the issue is compounded.


A slippery floor is a possible source of severe injury. Understanding the causes of a floor becoming slippery when sprayed can go a long way towards avoiding potential harm to people and damaged property. Knowing to wear safe footwear can also make a difference.

If problems with a poor finish persist, it may be necessary to refinish the floor to avoid ongoing safety issues.