Helpful Mop Options to Bust Dirt and Dust

Pair the Right Mop with the Right Cleaner

Just about any floor mess can be cleaned with a good old mop and bucket. That said, there are many different types of mops, each better suited to certain applications than others. To be sure you're ready to handle any mess that might come your way, it's a good idea to have a broad selection of mops at hand in your home. This will also help you maintain and extend the life of your flooring, which can be very expensive to repair or replace.

Major Types of Mops

Here's a closer look at the main types of floor mops, with a focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each:

  • Flat mops: A typical flat mop has a broad, rectangular head with a mop pad attached to it. In many cases, the mop pad is disposable or replaceable. These mops are perfect for everyday floor cleaning and making their way around corners, but they're not the best at spot cleaning and removing set-in stains.
  • Dust mops: A dust mop has a specially designed pad to which dust easily sticks. They're usually used dry, and their pads are typically made of microfiber mop material, though other options are available, including synthetic fabrics and wool.
  • Sponge mops: A sponge mop is best suited to heavier-duty floor cleaning. They have thick sponge pads that absorb water and cleaners and can be wrung out after each pass along a floor. However, they tend to have relatively narrow and small pads, so they aren't the best for cleaning large surface areas.
  • String mops: Like sponge mops, mops succeed where flat mops fail -- at spot cleaning and removing set-in stains. Because they require specialized buckets with built-in wringers, they are rarely used in homes and are more commonly seen in high-traffic commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Steam mops: For convenient heavy-duty floor cleaning, steam mops are excellent. They run on electricity and feature tanks that can be filled with water and cleaning solutions. However, steam mops are fairly expensive and can damage hardwood flooring.

No matter which type of mop you're using for a particular job, you must pay close attention to the floor cleansers you use. Don't use a cleaning product that isn't formulated for use on the type of flooring you need to clean; if in doubt, select an all-purpose floor cleaner instead.

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