A mop is a mop, right? As long as it isn’t falling apart or exuding an unpleasant odor, it’s bound to get the job done. Just soak in a bucket of soap and water, and you’re good to go!
Actually, we don’t advise that.
In many cases, using the wrong mop for the wrong application will make you less efficient, leave your floors unsanitary, and make cleaning more of a burden than it should be.
And, as one might suspect, mopping is also hard on your body. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, janitors have an increased risk of overexertion in the neck, back and forearms. The average worker’s compensation claims are twice as much for janitors and cleaners as they are for other occupations.
Using the right kind of mop for the right application can reduce injury and make for a safer work environment.
With only a few weeks left of winter, we are in the mood for a little spring cleaning! So, grab your bucket and read on for a safer, more sanitary and easier cleaning experience.
Choosing Your Mop
Choosing the right mop depends entirely on what you are cleaning (spills v. general cleaning) and the type of floor you intend to mop (rough v. smooth).
First, you will want to consider the fabric. Most mops are made of the following materials:
- Cotton – Great for light cleaning and drying; absorbs twice its weight in water.
- Rayon – Great for heavier cleaning and very absorbent; absorbs five times its weight in water.
- Cotton/Rayon Blend – Great for all-purpose cleaning; cotton dries quickly, while rayon absorbs well. Increases efficiency while decreasing risk of overexertion.
- Microfiber or Microfiber/Synthetic Blend – Great for all applications; absorbs three times as much as cotton and fast drying. Increases efficiency while decreasing risk of overexertion.
- Smooth – Flooring such as hardwood, tile, laminate, vinyl, and other smooth surfaces, are more prone to abrasions. Cotton, rayon and microfiber mops are excellent for scratch-free cleaning.
- Rough – Flooring such as concrete, stone and other textured surfaces can withstand rougher, more abrasive materials. Consider a cotton/rayon or microfiber/synthetic blend for best results.
Other features to consider
- Band v. Not Banded – Using a banded mop allows for greater coverage and reduces fatigue, making banded mops ideal for janitorial work. A banded mop also helps trap messes quickly and with less effort as opposed to a mop that is not banded at the bottom. This can help increase efficiency which is crucial when cleaning spills in hospitals, cafeterias, supermarkets and other environments where injuries are at a higher risk.
- Headband – Using a mop with a 5” headband allows you to use a grip handle which typically holds up well after years of use.
- Wood Handle v. Plastic Handle – Although a wood handle may splinter after an extended period of use, both types are suitable for a variety of applications and is truly a personal preference. Wood is better for smaller applications, whereas plastic is better for larger jobs.
Although cute, we do not recommend using your dog as a mop.
- Spills/light cleaning – Cotton, rayon or microfiber mops are ideal for smaller applications as they do not need to absorb as much water or cover as much surface area. Our pick: Rubbermaid Premium Cut-End Cotton Mop (shown below, left).
- All-purpose or heavy duty – Blended mops, such as cotton and synthetic or microfiber and synthetic, are ideal for general cleaning of rougher surfaces. Choose one with a banded bottom for greater control, better efficiency and a deeper clean. Our pick: Rubbermaid Maximizer Blend Mop (shown below, right).
A special thanks to foodservice supply expert, Peter O’Connor, for contributing his knowledge and expertise.