December 29, 2018

The Different Types of Mops and When to Use Them

Are you looking for a good commercial floor mop to help you clean around the house or the office? If so, then you might have been confused and probably startled at just how many types of mops there are. Worry not, though, as in this article we’ll be helping you pick the right mop for the job, by listing down each type currently available in the market as well as what purpose they’re designed for. In doing so, we hope that we’ll not only widen your knowledge about the various types of cleaning equipment available, but also help you avoid wasting money in wrong, uninformed buying decisions.

Dust mops.

Dust mops are mops that are designed to scour dust from floors, walls, ceilings, light fixtures, and so on. This particular type of mop usually sports a long or telescopic handle, allowing you to get at high walls, ceilings, and even hard to reach corners. The head is usually made out of a variety of materials, ranging from lambswool, synthetic yarn, and even microfiber cloth. As a dust mop is specifically meant for dry cleaning, they are not meant to be used as wet mops.

Of all of these dust mop subtypes, we recommend those that come with microfiber cloth heads the most. Microfiber cloth is specifically designed to be very efficient at picking up dust and dirt—even down to the really small, microscopic bits that you can’t see. This is thanks to the millions of tiny microfibers dotting every inch of a microfiber cloth, each one essentially becoming an abrasive brush that hooks onto dust particles and holds on. The end result is a dust mop that makes cleanup fast and easy, able to scour a flat surface clear of dust with just one pass.

Flat mops.

Flat mops are some of the most common mops around. Like their name implies, their head is constructed to be completely flat, allowing them to slide over floors and walls with ease. Cheap and disposable, flat mops are used mainly for daily wet cleaning, especially when it involves long swathes of floors as well as corners. They do have trouble with caked-on food particles or stains from time to time, so don’t expect your flat mop to get everything in the very first pass. To be sure, either do multiple passes with the mop or spray these stains with detergent/degreaser beforehand.

Sponge mops.

Sponge mops are mops with a head that mainly features a sponge or any other material designed to soak up moisture very quickly. It should also have its own wringer attached, allowing you to squeeze out all accumulated liquid into a pail for another pass. Sponge mops are great for cleaning tiles and other uneven surfaces. The only downside to this type of mop is that you have to be careful to rinse and then dry them out completely after every use before you can store them. This is because wet sponge mops can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which could easily cause all sorts of diseases if you allow it to spread in your home. If your sponge mop starts to smell or break apart, or if it starts to discolor, then it’s time to replace the head.

String mops.

This type of mop is the mop that usually comes to mind when we first think of a mop—that being, a mop with a head featuring thick, ropey strands of intertwined string or yarn. Such mops offer great corner accessibility and scrubbing power, however they can be difficult to maintain and they’re known to be relatively fragile for daily use. It’s a good thing, then, that they’re inexpensive to replace.

Strip mops.

This type of mop can be considered as a slight upgrade to the string mop. With its head featuring strips of absorbent material rather than strings or ropes, the strip mop is a lot more durable and easy to maintain than its predecessor. The strips also ensure a quick and easy washing/drying time. The only downside is that strip mops aren’t as great at absorbing moisture or scrubbing out stains.

Steam mops.

Steam mops are a world apart from the rest of the mops featured in this list, as it’s the only type of mop that’s less of an analog cleaning implement and more of an electrical appliance. Just as its name implies, it uses the power of steam to clean. It does this by heating up water in its reservoir and then unleashing the resultant steam with a press of its trigger. The steam then sprays from the mop head, loosening or softening the targeted stain and allowing the mop head’s material to easily wipe it up.

As to be expected, steam mops are prohibitively expensive, especially for the household on a budget. This doesn’t change the fact that they’re worth it, however, and it’s due to the fact that they clean and disinfect at the same time without the use of detergent. We do have to warn you that not all floor types play well with steam, so it’s a good idea to consult your mop’s manual for floor types you should avoid.


The humble but hardy mop has always been a part of any cleaning toolset, from those used in residential homes to those in office buildings or other commercial settings. With its ability to quickly soak up messes and clean up floors, the mop deserves its place as an essential cleaning tool. However, like with all tools, you have to use the right type of mop for the job at hand—otherwise, you run the risk of doing more harm than good.

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