Keeping your hard floors clean is one of the big pains -- and big necessities -- of life. To really remove all the dirt and gunk hiding in your hard floors, you have to use some combination of hot water and scrubbing. Adding some type of dedicated floor cleaner can also help you clean more deeply and disinfect your hard floors.
Unless you love getting down on your hands and knees and putting your back into the job, a good floor mop will be your best friend when it comes to keeping your floors sparkling. The best mops are easy to push, have a system for wringing out the water, are maneuverable enough to get into corners and under cupboards, and won't buckle under when you need to lean in and use a bit of muscle to scrub. Some mops can even be used as dry dust mops to prepare the floor.
The one feature that a floor mop really needs (with the exception of spray mops, which don't get as wet) is an effective way to wring out the mop head. Otherwise, the mop will be heavy, excess water will pool on the floor, and the mop won't absorb that liquid, so the floor will take forever to dry. All of the floor mops and spin mops in this report either have some type of integral wringer, or can be paired with a bucket with a built-in wringer.
A drawback to most floor mops and spin mops is that the water in your bucket will get dirtier as you mop. The solution is to either use two buckets (one for cleaning, one for rinsing), use a double sink (which means you have to keep walking back and forth to the sink), or do one pass for cleaning and a second pass for rinsing, changing the water in the bucket in between the two passes.
Before you can wet mop, you have to start with a dry cleaning to remove bigger debris a mop can't handle. That means either sweeping with a broom, dusting with a dust mop, or using a good vacuum cleaner designed for hard floors. We cover vacuums that will get your floors ready for wet mopping in separate reports on upright vacuums, canister vacuums and stick vacuums. Also, if you really need a deep cleaning, we recommend some good steam mops for that task as well.
A floor mop is a necessity for frequent touch-ups or quickly cleaning up spills. Floor maps have either a set of strings, strips of cloth or a sponge for cleaning and absorbing spills. They can be used with a bucket, or you can just wet them in the sink, wring and mop. Some have systems for wringing, while others need to be wrung out manually, or you can use a bucket with an integral wringer. Owners like that these mops can be used with any cleaning solution they choose, or just with hot water.
The Libman Wonder Mop (Est. $20) gets some of the best reviews we've seen for a floor mop that's also very affordable. It's long been a favorite mop of users, and it still earns a top spot in our roundup. Reviewers praise the Wonder Mop for its microfiber strips, which are lightweight and less susceptible to mildew than standard cotton string mops. The Libman mop has a sturdy handle that allows users to bear down to scrub stubborn stains without the head folding over like some mops do, or feeling as if the handle is going to bend or break. However, a few say it does not scrub well enough to deep clean tile that has visible grout, such as some ceramic tile floors, and is best for smooth floors.
To solve the omnipresent wringing issue, the Libman Wonder Mop has an integrated wringer sleeve so you can wring out excess water without having to touch the mop head or use a separate wringer or bucket. Most say the wringer is easy to use, although some say it can be tricky to get the hang of at first. Users say the mop is very easy to maneuver and can get into tight corners and tough spots like the sides of toilets. Like all string mops, the Wonder Mop is great for absorbing liquid spills. The mop heads, the Libman Wonder Mop Refill (Est. $14 for 20), hold up through about 50 refills.
Aside from the scrubbing issue noted above, the only other real complaint we saw about the Libman Wonder Mop is that its mop head is too small. If you prefer something larger, take a look at the Libman Big Wonder Twist Mop (Est. $18). Its mop head is 65 percent bigger than the original Wonder Mop's, and users say the larger size cuts down on cleaning time.
It doesn't have an integrated wringing technology like the Libman Wonder Mop, but fans of the O-Cedar Microfiber Cloth Mop (Est. $55) don't seem to care, especially when they pair it with the equally well-reviewed O-Cedar Quick Wring Bucket (Est. $18). Users say the mop head is super absorbent and does an excellent job of cleaning floors without leaving streaks. The bucket is very easy to use with this floor mop. Just put the mop head into the wringer and push down; the wringer collapses around the mop head, squeezing out excess liquid. It's not as efficient as heavier, traditional wringers, owners say, but is great for casual home use. Plenty of people use the O-Cedar Microfiber Cloth Mop without the bucket, wringing it out manually. Most say that's easy to do, and some prefer it, saying that bucket wringers are flimsy or they like to control how much moisture to leave in the mop head. One tip: wearing rubber gloves may make manual wringing easier.
The mop head on the O-Cedar is washable, and uses the O-Cedar Microfiber Cloth Mop Refill (Est. $10). A few taller users say they have to bend more than they'd like to use this floor mop, and some say the handle feels flimsy. Otherwise, most love their O-Cedar mop and say they can't believe how much cleaner it gets their floors compared with other mops they have owned.
While most people seem to prefer a microfiber mop such as the Libman and O-Cedar mops above for heavy-duty cleaning, a basic sponge mop may still be on your list because it's not as cumbersome for quick jobs. If so, the Libman Nitty Gritty (Est. $15) is among the best-rated sponge mops out there. It features an attached scrub brush that helps users break up more stubborn messes before using the sponge head to finish the job. Reviewers appreciate this feature, saying it handles tough grime better than traditional sponge mops. They also say the mop is easy to wring out using an ergonomic handle about halfway up the pole, and that it doesn't leave too much water on the floor.
The Libman sponge mop uses the Libman Nitty Gritty Roller Mop Refill (Est. $15 for 2). Like most sponge mops, complaints about the Nitty Gritty often have to do with durability. Some reviewers say the sponge broke down too quickly, tearing after just a handful of uses; others complain the mop head pops off the handle too easily. Some taller users also say the handle is a bit too short.
If you like the convenience of a sponge mop but want the performance of a microfiber mop, the O-Cedar EasyWring Flat Mop & Bucket System (Est. $40) may offer the best of both worlds. Users love how this flat mop's pivoting design slips under counters and other narrow spaces, and say the microfiber pad is highly absorbent. It also has cleaning "zones" for light cleaning or for scrubbing. The pad is washable and reusable. It's also replaceable as the O-Cedar Ultra Max Mop Refill (Est. $10).
The bucket included with the EasyWring has a built-in wringer that users say is effective and very easy to use: Just pull up on the mop handle to fold the mop head, put the folded mop head into the wringer and push a pedal to wring out the excess water. Many say they use the EasyWring for cleaning walls and other vertical surfaces, something a flat mop head is better-suited for than a round string mop.
Spin mops are regular floor mops that include a system for wringing out excess water. This is usually a bucket with a wringer that is operated either by a foot pedal or by placing the mop in the wringer, causing it to "spin." Some actually squeeze and wring the mop out, while others just use centrifugal force to spin the mop dry. The latter is superior because it does a better job of squeezing out excess moisture. Spin mop heads are round and the strings or strips are made from lightweight, absorbent materials. Thanks to a swiveling head and lay-flat handle, they maneuver well, even in narrow spaces. They can be used with any type of floor cleaner or just hot water.
The spin mop that gets some of the best overall reviews from owners is undoubtedly the Twist & Shout (Est. $40). It receives stellar feedback for its great performance on a variety of floor types, and for the ability of the handle to lay flat and the mop head to rotate to reach into tight corners. It excels in absorbing spills, even large ones.
Where the Twist & Shout really shines is in its wringer technology. Most spin mop bucket systems have a foot-operated pedal that you have to push down to get the wringer to spin. However, this system can still leave the mop head quite wet, and foot pedals get poor reviews for long-term durability. The Twist & Shout, on the other hand, has the spin action integrated into the wringer itself. You just lock the mop handle, stick it in the wringer and it twists and spins to wring out the excess water. Reviewers say the wringer does a great job of squeezing out almost every bit of excess liquid, so the final go-over leaves floors damp, not wet, speeding the drying process.
The Twist & Shout includes two microfiber mop heads that can be replaced easily with the Twist and Shout Mop Replacement Mop Head (Est. $10 for 2). The handle on the Twist & Shout has been updated and can now be adjusted up to 56 inches, which should please taller users who were unhappy with the previous 48-inch handle. Some users say the mop seems flimsy; however, that latter complaint is one we see about virtually every mop in this report. Most reviewers who've dealt with customer service rave about their experience.
A well-reviewed alternative to the Twist & Shout, the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop and Bucket System (Est. $40) has attracted plenty of fans of its own. The main difference between the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop and the Twist & Shout is the wringing mechanism. While you simply push down on the handle of the Twist & Shout to activate the wringer, the O-Cedar EasyWring requires you to pump a pedal on the side of the bucket. Reviewers say this works well for the most part, but it may require some trial and error to leave the mop damp, not overly wet. A splash guard helps keep water in the bucket instead of all over the floor during the wringing process.
While the Twist & Shout has a traditional round microfiber mop head, the O-Cedar EasyWring uses a triangular microfiber mop head that reviewers say is great for cleaning tight corners. The O-Cedar Easy Wring Spin Mop Refill (Est. $9). The mop head also pivots and, like the Twist & Shout, the handle can lie nearly flat to clean under furniture. The handle can adjust from 33 to 51 inches -- note that if you're tall, you'll get an extra 5 inches with the Twist & Shout. Again, some reviewers say the product is flimsy, and some complain that the handle doesn't stay locked during use.
If you're concerned about the durability of plastic wringers found on floor mops such as the Twist & Shout and the O-Cedar EasyWring, the Mopnado Walkable Spin Mop (Est. $60) features a stainless steel wringing basket. The premium price also gets you an included scrub brush attachment, built-in soap dispenser, spin agitator and a wheeled bucket.
The Mopnado's wringing mechanism is similar to the one on the Twist & Shout. Instead of using a pedal to operate the mechanism, you simply push down on the handle. But the Mopnado also has a spin agitator, meaning you actually spin the mop head on the wet side of the bucket to remove dirt and grime, and then move it to the wringer to spin it dry. Reviewers like this feature, saying it does a better job of keeping grime off their mop head, and accordingly, off their floors.
Mopnado comes with two round microfiber mop heads; but refills are available as the Mopnado Spin Mop Replacement Mop Head (Est. $17). Like the Twist & Shout and the O-Cedar EasyWring, the mop head pivots and the handle can lie nearly flat to clean under furniture and in other tight spots. The handle extends up to 56 inches for taller users. While fewer reviewers call the Mopnado flimsy, some still say they've had problems with the bucket handle falling off or the wringer breaking. Others say the bucket is just too heavy when it's full.
Spray mops aim to be the most convenient floor mop you can own. They include a container for cleaning solution that's attached to the mop handle and disposable pads that attach to the base. Just spray, mop and discard the pad when it's too dirty. There's a cost to this convenience, of course: Pads and liquid refills can be expensive, and the mops operate on battery power, so batteries have to be replaced. Some also worry about the environmental impact of disposable accessories, although some mops have refillable containers that can use any type of cleaning solution and washable, reusable pads. Also, spray mops are just for light cleaning and will not absorb water like a traditional floor mop.
The granddaddy of all spray mops, the Swiffer WetJet (Est. $20) has managed to retain its popularity over the years. Reviewers say it's extremely easy to use: When empty, the solution dispenser pops out with the push of a button, and the disposable pads have Velcro-type attachments so you don't have to bend to attach them. Just make sure the Velcro side is face up, place the mop head on the pad and push down lightly.
The Swiffer WetJet is best suited to clean daily dirt from your hard floor. It does not absorb liquid spills and doesn't pick up "chunks" of grime, but those who use it just for wet mopping their floors are pleased with its performance. The textured pads pick up a lot of dirt, according to users, and you can even lean in and give a stubborn spot a good scrubbing -- although some suggest pretreating dried stains first by either squirting the spot with the mop's cleaning solution and letting it sit, or using a separate spray bottle to pretreat it with the cleaner of your choice. Many reviewers say the WetJet works well at picking up pet hair, too.
The cleaning solution used with the WetJet, the Swiffer WetJet Cleaner (Est. $25 for a pack of 3) gets good feedback for its effectiveness, as well as its pleasant scent and for how quickly it dries. In fact, that quick drying time, a result of both the cleaner and the Swiffer WetJet Pads (Est. $12 for 20), is one of the most raved-about features of the Swiffer WetJet. Many reviewers note that the first section of the floor they mop is dry before they get to the end of the job, and they love the convenience of not having to deal with a wet or even damp floor for very long.
While the Swiffer WetJet is convenient, it does have its detractors. While the initial cost of this floor mop is low, some complain that the cleaning solution and pad refill costs add up. And the WetJet can't be used with any cleaning solution other than its own; special seals on the containers keep them from being reused. Some people have reported successfully sewing their own reusable pads, but that might not be a viable alternative for most people. The Swiffer also requires four AA batteries that are not included and need to be replaced when the trigger stops working. Critics are also concerned that the cleaning solution dispensers, pads and batteries unnecessarily clog landfills, though in some communities the pads or containers may qualify for recycling.
Those who would like the convenience of the Swiffer WetJet without the ongoing costs or environmental impact should look at the Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop Kit (Est. $45). It has a higher initial cost than the Swiffer, but the pads are washable and reusable, and the included cleaning solution bottle accepts any cleaner you like to use, whether store bought or homemade. The kit includes two bottles and three pads, which makes it a good value as well. Many users say they use two different solutions in the two bottles, depending upon what type of floor they're cleaning. Additional pads are available as the Rubbermaid Reveal Mop Cleaning Pad (Est. $11).
The Reveal was edged out of the top spot because reviewers say it doesn't have the overall cleaning performance or durability of the Swiffer WetJet. Although most say it cleans quite well, others say it's best for very light cleaning jobs such as homes without a lot of traffic. There are also many reports of the spray trigger giving out after a short period of time. In addition, Rubbermaid gets mixed reviews for customer service, while Swiffer is reportedly more responsive to complaints.
A less expensive alternative to the Swiffer WetJet, the O-Cedar ProMist Microfiber Spray Mop (Est. $25) also features a refillable bottle that can be used with any cleaning solution. While the mop comes with a washable, reusable microfiber pad, O-Cedar ProMist Disposable Refills (Est. $15 for 10) are also available; they can be washed up to 5 times before discarding.
For the most part, reviewers are happy with the ProMist's cleaning performance, though the reusable pad's included "scrub zones" get mixed reviews for effectiveness. Most say the one-touch bottle release works well, and the trigger that releases cleaning solution is easy to squeeze. Unfortunately, several reviewers say they've had problems with cleaner leaking from the bottle, no matter how carefully they attached it. Others say the spray mechanism clogs too easily.
There are no recent hands-on expert reviews of floor mops, so we turned to thousands of owner reviews to evaluate mops' cleaning performance, ease of use and durability. The best site by far is Amazon.com, which has the largest and most detailed collection of mop reviews. We also analyzed owner feedback from retailers Walmart.com and Target.com, which stock the most popular mops, as well as home-improvement retailers HomeDepot.com and Lowes.com.