Choosing the Right Type of Mop

Which type of mop is best? We'll make choosing easy. Read an overview of the materials and styles available and the features and benefits of each.

Pick the best mop for your needs

Mops have long been the go-to tool for cleaning sticky kitchen floors, dusty linoleum hallways, and any other non-carpeted areas that might need some sprucing up. However, when it comes to purchasing a mop, there are a variety of brands, makes, and models that are available, which can be overwhelming for many people — but it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re struggling with knowing which mop material is best for you and your cleaning practices, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re applying a fresh coat of wax to your floors or simply trying to clean up a messy spill, there’s a mop for the job, and we’re going to tell you which one it is. Mop type and material type are the two most important factors to consider when purchasing a new mop for your home.

What Types of Mops Are There?

Before we get to mop materials, it’s important to discuss mop types, as there are six of them and they each serve a slightly different purpose.

Flat mops are one of the most common types of mops, and they are also one of the easiest mop types to use. Usually, flat mops make use of a disposable pad that is attached to their flat, bottom side. From there, users can easily run the mop over hard floor surfaces to pick up loose messes and dirt. Flat mops are ideal for quick cleaning sessions, but they can have trouble when it comes to any kind of debris that needs a deeper scrubbing.

Sponge mops are exactly what they sound like — mops with a sponge head. These mops will usually have an attached wringer and are best used on uneven surfaces, such as tile flooring, because of their ability to get into crevices. The one factor to be careful of when using a sponge mop is the spreading of bacteria, which can occur if the mop isn’t properly cleaned and maintained after every use.

Dust mops are a unique type of mop in that they aren’t typically used on wet surfaces. Instead, dust mops exist to catch cobwebs and dust on dry surfaces. Dust mops can be used not only on floors but on walls, ceilings, and even furniture.

Strip mops are wet mops that are made up of strips of material attached to a wringer. These mops often have a little bit more scrubbing power than flat mops, and they are easy to use and clean, drying out faster than other mops so as not to provide a friendly environment for bacteria.

Steam mops are the only mops on this list that are electrical appliances. They heat up water that’s in their tank to create steam, which is then expelled through a mopping pad onto whatever surface you’re trying to clean. Along with providing a disinfectant benefit, steam mops are great for getting at hard-to-remove grime that is stuck to floors, loosening it via the steam.

What Mop head materials are used?

When it comes to mop materials, there are four main types that are commonly used.

Cotton mop heads are both affordable and absorbent. However, because cotton takes a long time to dry, cotton mop heads do tend harbor mildew more than many of the other mop materials; for that reason, they might need to be replaced more frequently.

Some mop heads are made up of rayon, which is a semi-synthetic fiber that absorbs well and dries quickly. The only major problem with rayon is that it can shrink when laundered, but this doesn’t prove to be much of an obstacle when using it for mopping.

Synthetic mop heads are the strongest of all mop head materials. Because of the material’s strength, it can be bleached, and it is also highly resistant to mildew. For this reason, synthetic mop heads will last you a long time.

Finally, some mop heads are made out of microfiber, which is also a highly absorbent material. Like synthetic mop heads, microfiber mop heads are hugely durable. The one downside? Microfiber mop heads are more expensive than most other material types.

How to choose a mop material

Now that you know what certain material types can do for you when mopping, choosing the best mop material for your home is next. Consider your floor type, typical type of mess, and budget before making your final decision.

Resources— Katom, The Spruce, Clean My Space