We spent 27 hours researching what makes a great mop by testing 5 popular mops of various styles. We were sure to look at the mop-head material, the handle, and the overall ergonomics. We tested both on hardwood floors as well as tile. In the end, without a doubt, we chose the Linkyo Microfiber Floor Mop as our top pick.
Mop Buying Guide
History of Mops
The original wet mop, designed with long strands of cotton cloth, was patented in 1893 by African American inventor, Thomas W. Steward. In fact, the word ‘mop’ is thought to possibly be a truncation of the word ‘mapple’ which came from late Latin and meant ‘towel’ or ‘cloth’.
Steward’s design was specifically a deck mop, made of yarn, which quickly became a popular household and industrial cleaning fixture. Later, in the 1950s, Peter Vosbikian, developed a sponge mop that had a lever built into it. This new mop head design was a product of the new plastics industry that grew out of World War II which developed materials such as the absorbent plastic that Vosbikian used in his design.
The user could press the lever into the sponge to wring it dry – emptying the water right back into the bucket. This design was such a time-saver that it soared in popularity almost instantly. Women no longer had to drag a dripping wet mop back to the sink to wring it out.
Although mops have remained largely the same over the years, new designs are being created as consumers continue to demand products with specialized functions. Some manufacturers have even started to focus on eye-catching color schemes to attract buyers as the basic structure remains.
Since the mid-1990s, anti-static mops, with removable (and washable) cloth heads have been highly marketed. Some manufacturers even developed disposable cloth heads for time-strapped customers.
Today, mops are made in a wide variety of sizes, and from a wide variety of materials, to meet the many residential and commercial needs. They tend to be manufactured by the same companies that also manufacture other, small household wares and cleaning products.
Types of Mop
There are basically three types of mop:
- Sponge Mop – Sponge Mops have a rectangular-shaped, cellulous mop head attached to a long handle. These mops sometimes have a metal lever that can be pushed against the mop head to wring it dry. This was the first new style of mop to be introduced following the development of the original cotton mop.
- Wet Mop – A Wet Mop is made of long strands of either cotton or synthetic material attached to a long handle. This is the original mop style to be invented. With this style, the user needs to hand-wring the mop out into the sink or a bucket to rinse out the dirty water. This is a more time-consuming process than using a sponge mop. Another style of wet mop is the flat surface mop head design. With flat head mops you can find two styles: one uses reusable mop head pads and the other uses disposable mop head pads.
- Dust (dry) Mop – A Dust Mop has a large rectangular section at the end of a long handle that the user pushes along to floor to pick up dirt and dust. You often see these being used in commercial stores as workers clean throughout the day. The don’t use water and can just be shook out to clean off the accumulated debris.
Today’s mops are becoming “greener” due to the fact that many are now being made from recycled materials including plastic soda bottles. Another surprising fact that we discovered in our research was finding that microfiber mops are actually more “green” than cotton mops because they require less water, fewer chemicals, and less energy to produce.
Features to Consider
Microfiber vs Cotton – Microfiber mops are fast becoming popular because they use less chemicals and less water than cotton mops, especially the flat mop style which is best suited for situations where cross-contamination is a concern. Also, they are lighter and more hygienic than cotton mops which can harbor bacteria and produce lint. The main advantage to cotton mops is that they are often cheaper than microfiber mops. If you do choose a cotton mop, make sure to let it fully dry after using and replace it often.
Steam Mop vs Regular Mop – Steam mops differ from regular mops in that they have a reservoir that holds water. These mops are either battery-powered or plug-in styles and can heat up the water and spray hot steam onto the floor – most often down through the mop head pad. The steam is usually heated to above 200 degrees which is hot enough to dissolve grease and also kill bacteria.
For the sake of this guide, we only tested regular mops which do not have steam activation and use only good, old-fashioned, elbow grease.
How We Selected
We knew that we wanted to test five different wet mops for their cleaning ability. A few of the brands are quite well known on the market and we also wanted to be sure to include them in the testing.
With over 1,000 different mop choices we needed a plan for how to begin. First, we read online all we could about mops and took notice of the feedback people were leaving. We didn’t want to bother testing a mop that was already disliked by many. We also contained our choices to household mops and disregarded commercial styles. We didn’t choose any electric or steam mop styles and stuck only with those with the traditional handle with mop head.
We also kept our mops below $25 in order to keep our choices affordable for the majority of consumers. There were many great mops to choose from in this price range.
Some came in kits and some came with additional pads. Ultimately, we decided to choose a variety of styles including a traditional mop with a wooden handle and cotton mop head.
We set to work testing to determine which style was the best.
How We Tested
No one wants to spend all day cleaning so we started out determined to put these five mops to the test. We wanted to see just how efficient each of them is.
The first test we ran through rated their ability to remove debris on bare floors. We distributed small, fine-textured items (such as coffee grounds, flour, and rice) in a pre-determined area. Most of our mops were able to pick up the majority of the spill but none were able to get it all. Additionally, this test took a bit of extra time as we had to wring out a few of the mops to pick up the remainder of the spill. Otherwise, we were just pushing it around and getting nowhere. Truth be told, it would have been much better to sweep up any dirt and debris first, before trying to clean up these small, fine items with a wet mop.
A good mop is only as good as its ability to clean up spilled food or ground-in dirt. We also tested our mops by spreading dirt, juice, and spaghetti sauce and seeing how much they could pick up in 5 swipes of the mop. Oh yeah, did we mention that we let the spills dry for a while in order to really give the mops a good test?
With 5 swipes of the mop, using just hot water, most of the mops were able to clean up the gunk. Only the spaghetti sauce needed a few extra swipes but that was to be expected.
We also washed the pads for the two mops with reusable pads – the Linkyo Microfiber Mop and the Superior Miracle Mop. The Linkyo claims that its pads can stand up to 100+ washes and we found all to be good on this end too. The pads washed and dried just fine without shrinking or changing shape.
What We Liked
- We liked that the Linkyo Mop had a 360-degree swivel head to help us reach every possible spot we wanted to clean.
- We liked that the O Cedar 3D mop was a traditional design but uses microfiber material to pick up spills. Microfiber is longer-lasting and more hygienic than the traditional cotton design.
What We Didn’t Like
- We didn’t like that the American Market Cotton Mop could possibly become moldy if you don’t take care to dry it completely between uses.
- We didn’t like that the Swiffer WetJet did not use reusable pads and that new pads would have to be continuously purchased throughout the life of the mop. We also felt it unnecessary to have a built-in spray container for cleaner. For us, that was just one more thing to buy batteries for and who needs that??
Mops of all shapes and sizes are a standard fixture in most homes and businesses. They are inexpensive cleaning tools that can be used again and again. If they’re well taken care of, they will serve you well and last a very long time.
Be sure that you know your needs and cleaning style before you set out to buy a new mop. Do you like a simpler version that will require a bit more hand work (like having to wring out the mop head)? Or are you a person who likes to have your mops designed with the least amount of fuss and extra work.
If you’re looking to clean your floors with an all-around great mop that can adjust to various cleaning circumstances and still produce great results, look no further than the Linkyo Microfiber Floor Mop. It will clean your floors to a spectacular shine and because the pads are washable and reusable, it will not cost you any additional money going forward. And who doesn’t like to save money?!