The best mops for cleaning

Written by louise harding
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The best mops for cleaning
The classic ropes-on-a-stick mops of the past are rarely used today. (mop head image by green 308 from

The earliest mops consisted of rags, yarn or other absorbent materials secured around a stick. These were used to wet-swab floors and the decks of ships. An early United States patent was awarded to Jacob Howe in 1837 for a mop head-securing device, and their forms have continued to become more sophisticated and easier to use since. From sponge mops, the old standby with the extension arm that squeezed them dry for us, to mechanical mops that disperse cleaning fluid electronically, mops have evolved into efficient and sanitary tools.

Microfiber Mops

Microfiber mops are versatile cleaning implements that can be used to dry-mop a floor to remove dust and debris, or wet mop to deep clean. New microfiber materials are designed to attract dirt particles and wick dampness away from floor surfaces, reducing the amount of time the moisture remains on a floor's finish. Microfiber mop heads are popular due to their removable fabric heads that can be machine-washed after each use. This easily disinfects the mop head, reducing the spread of germs. It also keeps the mop from mildewing or fostering sour smells. Microfiber mops are very sanitary.

Dust Mops

Dust mops come in various materials and styles. The traditional loop head attached to a handle is still prevalent. Cotton, nylon, wool and cotton/synthetic blends are all used in dust mop heads. Microfiber loops are also used on some of today's dust mops. Many dust mops have removable heads that can be machine washed. Dust mops often feature retractable, extendable handles. Dust mops can be sprayed with furniture or floor polish and run along hard floor surfaces and walls to attract dust and cobwebs. Dust mop heads are available in wide measurements for use on large institutional floors. Dust mops can clean, dust and polish a floor at the same time, reducing overall floor cleaning time.

Sponge Mops

The sponge mop is an inexpensive mop that can be purchased in most grocery and discount stores. Though most sponge mops look alike at first glance, the designs are actually quite varied. Handles that squeeze water from the mop head, handles that fold the mop head in half to wring excess water, and various methods of inserting and removing the sponge head continue to be refined. Some sponge mops have a built-in scrubber pad for stuck-on grime. Others are shaped to fit into corners or tight spaces. Sponge mops are economical because the mop head can be easily, cheaply replaced when it is worn out. Sponge mop heads cannot be washed in a washing machine, but they can be soaked in a sink or a bucket of water with disinfectant and allowed to air dry to clean them.

Mechanical Mops

Mechanical mops rely on batteries or electricity to disperse cleaning solution via spray jets or a trigger-launched mechanism. These apply cleaners to the floor directly in front of the mop as you move around a room. These models eliminate the need toting around a messy, heavy bucket of water. No rinsing of soap suds is required, which significantly reduces the amount of time needed to complete the task. Mechanical mops are more expensive than traditional mops and require new canisters or refills of cleaning solution. Often only the brand of cleaning solution made by the mop's manufacturer will fit into the mop's cleaner holster. The cleaning solution sprayed onto the floor surface dries faster than traditional water and soap. Mechanical mops are sanitary timesavers, which makes them popular despite their relative expense compared to other mop models.

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