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11 Different Types Of Mops & Their Uses

Updated
We'll help you find the right type of mop for your home.

Let’s admit it: nobody loves mopping. It’s an uphill task that’s kind of gross and can cause backache.

But when you find a mop you love, it makes this chore easier. Did you know there are 11 types of mops? Finding the right one for you might make you dread mopping a little less.

We’ll help you find your perfect mop match by showing you the pros and cons of each type of mop.


11 Different Types Of Mops Compared

Mops come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and styles. There’s no one type that fits all. We’ll help you find the right mop match for you with this comprehensive list.

1. Flat Mops

Woman mopping living room floor

If you have vinyl or hardwood flooring, a flat mop is best because they don’t use too much water. The last thing you want to do to your lovely flooring is to ruin it with excess moisture.

Flat mops are easy to use because of their slender shape. They can fit into small nooks, crannies, and corners. Some have removable heads that you can clean in your washing machine.

Pros

  • 360-degree rotation.
  • Wet and dry cleaning.
  • Removable head, making it easy to clean.
  • Good for small spaces.

Cons

  • Small, so not ideal for large areas.

Product Specs

Type Wet, Dry
Cleaning Purpose Stains, Dust, Dirt
Type of Surface Hard floors, Vinyl, Hardwood
Price $$

2. Sponge Mops

Sponge mop cleaning floor

If you’re clumsy and spill your juice, soup, or milk, then a sponge mop is a great choice. It’s super absorbent, so it’s ideal for all types of spills.

Sponge mops consist of a sponge head on a mop handle. It’s easy to scrub away a spot of dirt with this mop.

Pros

  • Highly absorbent.
  • You can use each sponge for a while before replacing it.
  • Easy to use.
  • Good for hard-to-reach places.
  • Most types come with an extendable handle.

Cons

  • Doesn’t glide across floors as well as other types of mops.
  • Gets heavier as it absorbs liquid.

Product Specs

Type Wet
Cleaning Purpose Spills, Stains
Type of Surface Hard floors, Tile, Laminate
Price $$

3. Dust Mops

Woman Cleaning Staircase With Dust Mop

A dust mop is exclusively for cleaning dust. It’s a great type of mop to pair with a wet mop. Before you wet clean your floor, you can use your dust mop to remove dust and debris from the ground or even ceiling fans.

It’s a bit like a broom but more convenient and effective since it picks up much more dust with its gliding ability.

Pros

  • Collects a lot of dust and trash.
  • Prepares floors to be wet mopped effectively.
  • Good for large buildings such as schools or malls.
  • Great for ceiling fans and high places.

Cons

  • Does not clean the floor, it just removes dust and trash.
  • You must remove dust and trash before putting them in the washing machine.
  • Not effective in tight spaces.

Product Specs

Type Dry
Cleaning Purpose Dust, Trash
Type of Surface Hard floors
Price $$

4. String Mops

String mop being used to clean floor

When we visualize a mop, this is what comes to mind. This is the classic kind of mop that you probably grew up with.

A string mop comes with a big mop bucket used for the washing liquid and wringing out the mop. While these mops are common and great for large places, they aren’t the most effective at cleaning floors.

Pros

  • You can use the bucket to make your own detergent.
  • Good for commercial and home cleaning.
  • High absorbency.

Cons

  • You put the dirt back into the water when you dip the mop into the bucket.
  • Difficult to wring all the water out.
  • Leaves floors so wet there’s a danger of slipping.

Product Specs

Type Wet
Cleaning Purpose Spills, Stains, Dirt
Type of Surface Hard floors, Tile, Marble
Price $$

5. Strip Mops

Strip mop being used to clean floor

A strip mop is a relative of the string mop, but instead of strings, we’ve got strips of fabric. You can use these mops wet or dry.

When dry, they’re great for dusting. The strips remove dust from a surface without spreading it around everywhere.

When the strip mop is wet, they’re pretty similar to the string mop. However, they’re not usually as big as a string mop, so they’re not great for bigger areas.

The upside to strip mops is that the heads are removable, so you can put them in the washing machine to use again and again.

Pros

  • You can use them wet or dry.
  • Removable and reusable heads.
  • Good for homes and offices.

Cons

  • Not ideal for larger areas.
  • You put the dirt into the water if wet washing.

Product Specs

Type Wet, Dry
Cleaning Purpose Dust, Spills, Stains, Dirt
Type of Surface Hard floors, Tile, Marble
Price $

6. Steam Mops

Cleaning carpet with steam mop

Steam mops are electrical mops that emit steam to clean the gunk from your floors and sanitize. This mop works on hard floors and carpets, so if you have both in your house, this is the mop for you.

You can eliminate the hassle of carrying around a bucket while you clean your floors if you opt for a steam mop. The heads swivel, too, meaning this mop works in small, hard-to-reach spaces. You can also use your steam mop for cabinets, surfaces, and tiled walls.

Pros

  • Effective at cleaning stubborn stains and spills.
  • Works on hard floors and carpets.
  • Utilizes a range of settings.
  • Reusable cloths that can go in the washing machine.
  • Works on floors, surfaces, and walls.
  • Sanitizes and disinfects floors.

Cons

  • You need to clean the cloth every time you steam because it picks up a lot of dirt.
  • Most need to be plugged into a socket.
  • You need to sweep or vacuum first, so you don’t collect dust.

Product Specs

Type Steam
Cleaning Purpose Spills, Stains, Dirt
Type of Surface Hard floors, Carpets, Tiled walls, Surfaces
Price $$$

7. Spin Mop

a red and white spin mop and bucket

A spin mop is like a string mop, but with a twist. Literally.

Spin mops are made with string and come with a bucket. You can use a spinning function to wring out the water more effectively inside the bucket. You can also manually spin the mop to remove stubborn stains without scrubbing super hard.

Pros

  • More effective on stains.
  • Good for smaller and hard-to-reach places.
  • Easy to wring out the water.

Cons

  • You have to manually spin it when cleaning the floors.
  • Not great for large commercial places.
  • Deposits dirt back into the bucket when you wring it.

Product Specs

Type Wet
Cleaning Purpose Spills, Stains
Type of Surface Hard floors
Price $$

8. Microfiber Mops

Microfiber mop cleaning the floor
This is a great type of mop that is overtaking the industry. Microfiber has excellent cleaning abilities and can absorb as much, if not more, than a sponge can. Plus, it’s easier to clean than a sponge.

A microfiber mop will last for ages since the microfiber heads can be washed hundreds of times without degrading in quality.

We love that you can use them wet or dry. Use a dry head to pick up dirt and debris before using a wet head to clean.

Pros

  • Highly absorbent at picking up dust, dirt, and liquid.
  • Easy to clean in the washing machine.
  • Lasts a long time.
  • Can be used as a wet or dry mop.

Cons

  • Difficult for scrubbing out stubborn stains.

Product Specs

Type Wet, Dry
Cleaning Purpose Spills, Stains, Dirt, Dust
Type of Surface Hard floors
Price $

9. Static Mop

Woman cleaning living room floor with microfiber mop

A static mop is another type of mop used for dry cleaning. It collects dirt, dust, and debris using microfiber.

Microfiber can act like a static, hence the name: static mop. These mops gather small particles or dust so you can put them into a dustpan before wet cleaning your floors.

Pros

  • Collects dust, dirt, and debris effectively.
  • Can be used on floors, ceilings, and surfaces.
  • Absorbs dust, so it doesn’t go everywhere.
  • Good for hard-to-reach areas.

Cons

  • These mops can be pretty flimsy.

Product Specs

Type Dry
Cleaning Purpose Dust, Debris
Type of Surface Floors, Surfaces, Blinds, Ceilings
Price $

10. Brush Mops

Sweeping a hardwood floor with a broom

A brush mop is a good combination of a broom and a mop. You can clean the floor as you would with a regular mop, but the added bristles make it easy to scrub stains away.

This is a great mop type to have in the kitchen to eliminate food and drink stains.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Scrubbing function for stains.
  • Dry and wet cleaning.
  • Indoor and outdoor use.

Cons

  • Might scratch floors, specifically laminate, because of stiff bristles.
  • Difficult to use in corners because the head doesn’t swivel.

Product Specs

Type Dry, Wet
Cleaning Purpose Stains, Spills
Type of Surface Hard floors, Carpets, Indoor, Outdoor
Price $

11. Robot Mops

Robot vacuum cleaning a hardwood floor

If you’re a clean freak and a workaholic, you might need someone else to clean your house. But instead of inviting a stranger to your home, why not try a robot mop?

Robot vacuums have been around for a while, but robot mops are still pretty new. They still need a bit of work, but they’re always improving. The robot mop will move around your room, mopping your floors as it goes.

Pros

  • Hands-free mopping — the robot does the work.
  • Wet or dry mopping.
  • Travels to hard-to-reach places, including under furniture and around toilets.
  • Sweeps and scrubs floors.
  • Goes where you want it to go.

Cons

  • Doesn’t mop carpets.
  • Might not effectively clean bigger stains.
  • You have to start it manually — it won’t run on a schedule.
  • They need to be topped up with water and charged often.

Product Specs

Type Dry, Wet
Cleaning Purpose Dirt, Stains, Dust, Hair
Type of Surface Hard floors
Price $$$

FAQs

What Are Mops Used For?

Mops are used for cleaning floors. They replace the need to get on your hands and knees with a cloth and brush and scrub until you ache. A mop is a quick fix to messy floors, with its long handle and easy-to-use functions.

Caution

If you have hardwood floors, you can use wet mops, but make sure it’s damp, not soaking wet. Work in small areas at a time, and don’t let water sit on its surface for long. This can damage your floors.

Do Mops Really Clean?

There is some debate over whether mops really clean your floors.

If done incorrectly, mopping is a surefire way to spread bacteria and dirt across your floors. A 2011 study showed that bathroom floors, which are frequently mopped, are actually the dirtiest parts of public restrooms (1).

To tackle this problem, it’s important to use hot water and soap and change it out frequently. Opting for a steamer mop here is a good choice.

Pro Tip

Always vacuum or sweep before you mop so you aren’t spreading dirt around your floors. Then mop the dirtiest and germiest parts of your floor last, such as by the toilet.

Are Mops Unhygienic?

If you dunk your mop back into its bucket as you go, you are making your mop increasingly unhygienic. When you use this method to clean your floors, your final result could be an even dirtier floor (2).

If you opt for a traditional mop and bucket type, clean that bucket regularly. You can rinse with water and distilled white vinegar after every use to disinfect the bucket.

You should also regularly clean your mop or mop heads for the most hygenic mopping experience.

Why Is My Floor Still Dirty After I Mop?

Uh-oh. Is the floor still dirty after you’ve mopped? This could be due to several reasons.

  • You didn’t vacuum or sweep: Before every mop should come a good sweep. Use a broom or vacuum to remove every bit of dirt, trash, or hair before you mop. Otherwise, you’ll just spread that dirt around your house.
  • You walked over your clean floors: When mopping, go backward out of a room. Start at the corner opposite the door, and go backward in s-shapes to thoroughly clean every inch of the floor.
  • You didn’t use the right solution: We recommend warm water with a tiny bit of dish liquid and a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil. Don’t oversaturate your solution with cleaning products, or your floor could be too sticky. If you use a store-bought cleaner, read the instructions beforehand.
  • You used too much water: You want to use as little water as possible. Too much water can damage your floors.
  • You didn’t go in the right direction: When mopping hardwood floors, go in the direction of the grain. This gives the floors a much cleaner look.
  • You didn’t change the water: If the water looks dirty, change it. Your floors will certainly look dirty if you continue cleaning with soiled water.
  • You rushed: Take your time when cleaning your floors. This will result in a much cleaner result.

Can You Mop With Just Water?

You can certainly try, but it’s unlikely to be effective. When using a steamer, water is fine because it gets extremely hot and can kill bacteria and break up dirt.

However, for other types of mops, it’s best to use a cleaning agent to remove dirt and stains and disinfect the floors.

Different types of floors require different cleaning products, so make sure you use the right product for your flooring type. And remember, hardwood flooring is best cleaned with a dry or damp mop since water can damage the wood.

How Many Times A Week Should I Mop?

The magic number here is once.

It’s a good idea to mop your floors once a week to keep the house clean and tidy. You may want to mop a little more often for kitchen floors since there will be more food and drink spills here.

If you have a spill anywhere in the house, mop it up immediately so you don’t attract bugs and bacteria to that spot (3).

For other areas in the house that aren’t as frequently visited, such as a guest room, you can mop there once a month or so.

How Do You Dry a Floor After Mopping?

There are several ways to dry a floor after mopping. You can open windows and doors to circulate air, use towels, turn on the dehumidifier, or use fans to improve airflow.


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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!