Today’s finest mops aren’t your grandma’s. Sure, the option remains for you to go old school, with a ball of string attached to a long handle, or a rectangular sponge at the end of a pole, but why would you? Now there are a variety of options available that will allow you to clean more thoroughly than those old-timey designs and get the job done in less time.
We spent more than a week cleaning hardwood and linoleum floors, testing 9 different brands from companies like Swiffer, O’Cedar, Gladwell, Norwex, Casabella, Amazon, and even Dollar Tree to see which mop would clean the best. We examined the cleaned area, surveyed the surface, and wiped down the floor post-mopping to measure how much dirt was left behind after a cleaning. We also considered factors such as effort required, ease of storage, and ease of cleaning in determining our picks.
Honestly, I was shocked by the differences, as well as the variety of technologies and materials used. The most convenient mop was the Swiffer WetJet(available at Amazon), because you can pull it out and use it in seconds—no water required—and toss the dirty Swiffer pad in the garbage when you’re done.
If you prefer sticking with a traditional model, then we recommend the O-Cedar Twist Mop (available at Walmart). And if the environment is first and foremost on your mind, consider the Norwex Microfiber Superior Mop Package (available from Norwex).
These are the best mops we tested ranked, in order:
Norwex Microfiber Superior Package
Mopnado Deluxe Rolling Spin
Hapinnex Spin Wringer Bucket Set
Microfiber Wholesale 18” Microfiber
Twist & Shout Hand Push Spin Mop
Libman Wonder Mop
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While the Swiffer WetJet isn’t exactly a mop, it does all that you’d expect one to do namely, use a cleaning solution to pick up dirt from the floor. Only, the good news is that you don’t have to pull out a bucket and fill it with hot water and liquid cleanser to use it. In about two seconds, you can be swiffering your floor, which is extremely handy when friends or your in-laws are at your door.
That’s really its best feature—ease of use. It doesn’t take up much space in the closet and is immediately ready to go once you attach the disposable paper cleaning head to the base. The starter kit comes with four AAA batteries, which powers the dispersal of the cleaning solution onto the floor, as well as the cleaner itself. Pop both the batteries in and load the bottle of cleaner and you’re ready to go.
Press the trigger button on the handle to spray cleaner on the floor and then push the WetJet around where it is needed. When you’re done, pull the disposable mop head off and toss it in the trash.
The one area where the Swiffer is less convenient is when picking up massive spills its head can only hold so much liquid. So you’ll need to have extras on hand to sop up the mess. It’s still convenient to use in that regard, but you’ll likely go through two or three sheets if cleaning up a glass or more of water or wine.
If you’ve heard rumors, as we had, about the Swiffer cleaning solution being dangerous for pets, you’ll be happy to know that several organizations have refuted that information. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center confirms that “this product can be safely used around pets.”
The convenience of having the Swiffer always at the ready, and the speed with which you can put it to use, means cleaner floors in the least amount of time possible with this product.
If you’re most comfortable with the traditional model, meaning a long handle with a head that consists of woven strands of cotton fibers, go with the O-Cedar Twist Mop. It has a number of features that make it one of our Best picks, including a removable mop head, so you can throw it in the washing machine after each use; a bucket, so you can easily wet and then rinse it off while cleaning up; and a spinning mechanism to help wring out extra water while in use.
The mop and bucket are very easy to assemble. The spinner on the O-Cedar Twist Mop was the simplest and most effective of all we tested, requiring only a single spin to get the bulk of the water out of the head; other mops required multiple spins or left them sopping wet.
The main disadvantage of this particular product, which was common to other mop-and-bucket packages we tested, was the amount of storage space required and prep time needed to be ready to clean. If you live in a smaller apartment, finding where to keep your mop when it’s not in use may be a challenge—you can’t just lean it in the back of a corner. The bucket is handy but large.
The O-Cedar mop worked well both on everyday dirt and on spills, though the amount of back-and-forth pushing was greater simply due to its design—it’s a manual mop, after all, meaning you do all the work. But it does get the floor clean, whether you have hardwoods, tile, or linoleum.
With the Norwex Microfiber Superior Mop Package, which includes a microfiber pad for sweeping and dusting the dry floor first, as well as a mop pad you wet, you don’t have to research which cleaning solutions are non-toxic or environmentally friendly—the Norwex mop doesn’t need anything but water. Thanks to the patented microfiber technology in the mop head, the Norwex mop picks up dirt and germs without having to kill them using an antibacterial cleanser.
Putting the handle and base together is simple, and the only work than required to use it is removing the dry duster head and replacing it with the wet mop head after you’ve run it under hot water. You get the best results with the Norwex by pushing the product in a figure-8 pattern on the floor. If the mop head gets extra dirty during use, remove it, run it under the faucet, and continue mopping. When done, remove the mop head and throw it in the washer— don’t use fabric softener, however, because that damages the microfibers and makes them less effective.
The only downside of the Norwex mop is that you have to wring the mop head out by hand before attaching it there’s no built-in wringing mechanism or device, like a spinner, that does that for you.
That said, we were curious about whether the lack of cleanser would mean dirtier floors. After spilling sticky orange juice, we went over it with the Norwex mop and found no residue (unlike some of the other mops). We also went over areas that had previously been cleaned by other mops using a cleanser and found the Norwex picked up dirt that had been missed or left behind by others.
Despite the fact that the Norwex mop system was among the most expensive we tested, the results and the fact that you don’t have to buy cleaning chemicals to use with it made it the best mop for families concerned about the environment.
I’m Marcia Layton Turner, a freelance writer who has written for Woman’s Day, Health, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Businessweek, US News & World Report, and I currently write for Forbes.com and a number of other outlets. I’ve also tested products for magazines and websites. I was the baby product reviewer for ePregnancy magazine years ago, am an Amazon product tester, and frequently offer my two cents even when I’m not asked for it.
As a busy mom of two kids and two dogs, I don’t have as much time to clean as I would like, so I love finding products that help me clean up quickly. I’m all about efficiency. I also get frustrated with super complicated directions, because that means the task is going to be time-consuming—time that I would rather be spending doing something other than cleaning.
To determine which mops performed best and which weren’t a good use of your money, we tested them over the course of a week on hardwood floors and linoleum. We wanted to see how well they cleaned everyday dirt and footprints, as well as paw prints.
But since mops are also important tools for spills, we also checked how well the absorbent material sucked up one cup of sugary orange juice. We tested both hardwoods and laminate, to see if there were differences in performance. We wanted to know how much effort the products required to get a decent result, which cleaned surfaces completely (versus leaving some kind of residue or streaks), and what the major advantages and disadvantages were.
What You Should Know About Mops
In the past, I haven’t spent much time considering all my options. If I was planning on mopping my floor and I was at the grocery store, I’d usually just grab a new mop there without much comparison shopping.I also tended to buy the cheapest one; I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $15. However, I don’t tend to hold onto them for very long because they fall apart or get too gross. When you’ve only spent a few bucks on one, it’s not too painful to toss it.
Don’t be like me. Our testing has proven that cheap mops generally don’t do as thorough a job of cleaning your floor. Sure, if you go over them several times, you can probably reach the same level of cleanliness that some of the other mops achieved with just a few swipes, but why work so hard?!
Some of the factors you should consider when choosing a new mop include:
Price. Make sure what you’re spending is going to result in a longer-lasting, more durable, and better-performing mop. Cheaper is not better when it comes to mops, we found.
Machine washable mop heads. How are you going to clean your mop after you’ve used it? If you can detach the mop head and throw it in a washing machine, it’s going to be much cleaner the next time you go to mop your floor than one you’ve merely rinsed off. Start with a clean mop.
Size. How much storage space do you have in your place? If it’s not much, stay away from the mop packages that include a bucket. Also, consider whether the handle is adjustable; can it be made more compact?
Cost of use. The most convenient product also requires you to purchase replacement parts, meaning more packaged cleaning solution, batteries, and disposable mop heads. Other mops sell replacement heads, but you shouldn’t expect to have to swap them out often.
Extra parts. Does the mop kit you’ve purchased include extra pieces? Some mops include additional mop heads while others don’t. You’ll likely be able to extend the product’s useful life if you have replacement parts provided up front.
Durability. One of the cheaper models actually started to fall apart during the first use. You want a mop that is going to be able to be used for weeks, if not months or years.
Toxicity. If you have family members who are highly allergic to cleaning products, you may want to invest in a mop that requires little or no cleaning solution.
Common use. Do you expect to use your mop for everyday wipe-downs of your floor, or do you have young children who are spill-prone. If you’re mainly concerned with large quantities of liquid, you’ll want to lean toward more of the traditional mops, with highly absorbent mop heads.
Other Mops We Tested
Mopnado Walkable Deluxe Spin Mop
One of the most innovative features of the Mopnado Deluxe Rolling Spin Mop has nothing to do with its cleaning power and everything to do with its convenience – its bucket is on wheels. No more dragging a heavy bucket of water across the floor with the Mopnado. It also has a soap dispenser on the edge of the bucket, making it easy to add cleanser to your hot water, and separate scrub brushes for difficult spots. The microfiber in the mop head is also high quality, picking up dirt well during mopping.
But its spinning wringer doesn’t extract as much water from the mop head as you might like, leaving floors wetter than you’d want them. (We had to go over them with another type of mop to pick up the excess.) You push down on the mop while in the spinner to spin it and remove the water. The assembly instructions are a tad confusing, too, so watching the instruction video is recommended, but once you put it together, for a traditional mop, the Mopnado is well-built and achieves good results.
Like other traditional mop-and-bucket combos, the Hapinnex Spin Wringer Mop Bucket set delivers all you need to clean your floor. One of the smart features of the Hapinnex set is the drain plug at the bottom of the bucket, so you can dump the water without having to overturn the bucket completely. The spinner is also quite effective at extracting extra water from the mop, leaving less standing water on the floor.
One thing that was not so great was the mop’s design—one of the plastic edges of its head scraped the floor, rather than the microfiber head. It took effort to maneuver the mop to avoid having that edge scratch. However, the microfiber was extra absorbent, picking up big spills on the first pass, unlike some of the others.
The Casabella is a sturdy traditional sponge mop. It feels substantial and the handle halfway down the mop stick allows you to grab on to apply more pressure on stubborn spots. The design is smart and results in great scrubbing power. The built-in wringer is also effective at squeezing out excess water from the dense sponge.
That said, the length of the handle isn’t adjustable, and it does take more effort to use than other mops. That’s generally true of sponge mops though. It also didn’t absorb spills as well as it took care of every day tracked in dirt.
Microfiber Wholesale 18-inch Microfiber Mop System
Microfiber Wholesale’s 18” Microfiber Mop’s advantage is in its size—the sheer volume of the rectangular mop head means you can cover more floor surface area in less time. However, like the Norwex microfiber mop, you have to take the mop pad off to wring it out once soaked in cleaning solution (or at least that’s what we did).
The mop did a fair job of picking up everyday dirt and absorbing the cup of spilled liquid, though we had to go over the spill slowly several times to allow it time to sop it up.
What’s remarkable about the Twist & Shout Hand Push Spin Mop is that the wringer is activated by your hands, not your feet, as with some of the other mop and bucket sets. Putting it together is a little confusing, though we did it without the assistance of the accompanying video; I’m sure that would have helped. You do get extra mop heads in the package, which is helpful and extends its life.
The wringer itself was not as effective as it could have been at removing excess water, leaving the floor still very wet. However, once rung out, it was great at picking up spills.
The best feature of the Libman Wonder Mop is the innovative wringer that squeezes out excess liquid from the mop head. By pushing the white plastic wringer down toward the bottom of the mop, you can quickly get rid of excess cleaning water. It’s quick and easy.
Because the head is made of strips of thin microfiber fabric, rather than twisted cotton strands, we found the Libman mop didn’t pick up dirt as well as other mops. Once dipped in cleaning solution, it worked well in sopping up spills, but it did leave excess water behind. And it was not effective with simply spraying cleaning solution on the floor first—you really need to get the whole mop head wet for it to perform. Fortunately, when you’re done with it, you can just throw the head in the washing machine.
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