Mops 101: A Mop Selection Guide
Perhaps the most iconic of all cleaning tools, the mop is a far more complex instrument than it may at first seem. With the variety of head styles, headband sizes, materials, and connection styles available, it can be challenging to select the right mop for your needs. View our guide below, and get a good handle on your wet and dust mop projects.
When choosing a wet mop, there are 5 key components to consider:
Wet mops are constructed in loop-end and cut-end varieties.
Loop-End Mops are durable, launderable, and more absorbent than cut-end mops. They cover more area in half the time, and the yarn can last up to 8 times longer. Though higher in upfront cost, their long product life makes them a better long-term investment. Use for general-purpose mopping.
- Barrier Loop-End Mops ‐ Most durable wet mop
- Premium Loop-End Mops ‐ Very good durability
- Standard Loop-End Mops ‐ Good durability
Cut-End Mops have a shorter product life than loop-end mops and cannot be laundered. Though lower in upfront cost, they cover less surface area, leave lint and must be disposed of and replaced frequently.
Wet mops are composed of a variety of yarns, which are made of twisted fibers. Tighter twists add strength, but reduce absorbency. Looser twists add absorbency, but reduce strength. Ply equates to the number of fibers twisted together to make a single strand of yarn. Ply is measured on a scale of 1 to 8, with 4-ply being the most common.
The most common yarn types are:
- Cotton: Absorbent and economical, cotton mops are generally used for picking up liquids and scrubbing floors. A cotton mop's disadvantages are that it leaves lint, promotes mildew growth, and generally has a 30- to 45-minute break-in period.
- Rayon: Absorbent and quick to dry, rayon mops are mildew-resistant, low-linting, and require no break-in period. Their disadvantages are that they shrink when laundered and have little retention. They're generally used for applying liquids, such as floor strippers, finishes, and disinfectants.
- Synthetic: Superior strength, no lint, and no break-in period make synthetic mops an ideal choice when durability and performance are key. They are higher in cost and have low retention compared to cotton varieties. They're best for rough surfaces and specialty cleaning.
- Blends: Blend mops offer a good balance of performance and value. Extremely durable, they can be laundered several times for an extended product lifespan. Blend mops will shrink unless the yarn is pretreated. Long-lasting blend mops work best for hospitals, building service contractors, and high-traffic environments.
- Microfiber: With 6 times the lifespan of traditional mops, microfiber mops offer superior bacteria removal and can be laundered up to 500 times. Often, microfiber mops require a special handle, frame, and bucket system and are not compatible with universal handles.
The size of the mop is relative to its absorbency and coverage. Loop-end mops are measured in sizes ranging from small to extra-large.
- Small: 8 to 10 ounces
- Medium: 16 to 20 ounces
- Large: 24 to 32 ounces
- Extra-Large: 32 to 40 ounces
Cut-end mops are given either a true ounce weight (+/- one ounce) or a series number that might weigh between 4-8 ounces less than the number indicates.
- 1-inch headband ‐ Use with side gate or easy-change handle when mop is not changed frequently
- 5-inch headband ‐ Use with gripper or jaw handle when mop is changed frequently. Allows for touch-free maintenance.
- Bolt-on ‐ Use with threaded and bolt-on handles for quick, easy mop change to provide more mop contact with floor surface
Tailbands increase floor coverage and improve productivity. Additionally, tailbands help extend product life and allow for better launderability. Choose loop-end mops with tailbands when durability and performance are paramount.
Launderable Dust Mops
- Twisted-Loop Mops ‐ The best dust mop for maximum durability
- Trapper Dry Mops ‐ Pretreated, preshrunk, and fully launderable for long product life
Disposable Dry Mops
- Disposable Cut-End Dry Mops ‐ Envelope backing for easy change
- Cut-to-Length Dry Mops ‐ The most economical choice
- Clean Room Mops ‐ No fray or lint for clean room applications
- Finish Mops ‐ Lint-free and best-in-class release for even, glossy floor finishes
- Maximizer Mops ‐ Innovative design delivers 30% greater spread in use with 25% less weight
- Microfiber Looped Mops ‐ Highly durable and absorbent for extra-long mop life
- Rough Surface Mops ‐ The economical choice for abrasive floor surfaces
The most critical factor to mop handle selection is its compatibility with the head chosen. Material selection is based on performance, durability, and cost.
- Clamp or Jaw ‐ Compatible with 5-inch headbands
- Clip ‐ Compatible with 1-inch headbands
- Side Gate ‐ Compatible with 1- and 5-inch headbands
- Threaded ‐ Compatible with bolt-on or stay-flat heads
- Fiberglass ‐ Lightweight, no tarnishing, can be color-coded; higher priced and less durable than wood or metal handles
- Wood or Bamboo ‐ Durable and low-cost; heavier weight than metal and fiberglass varieties
- Aluminum/Metal ‐ Lightweight and low-cost; less durable than fiberglass and wood