The right mop can be a timesaver
A good floor mop will be
your best friend when it comes to keeping your floors clean. The best mops are
easy to push, 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. The one feature a floor mop really needs (with the exception of spray
mops or mops for hardwood floors, which don't get as wet) is an effective way
to wring out the mop head. Otherwise, the mop will be heavy and excess water
will pool on the floor. All of the floor mops and spin mops in this report have
some type of integral wringer, or can be paired with a wringer bucket.
Before you can wet mop,
start with a dry cleaning to remove bigger debris. 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 in separate reports on upright vacuums, canister vacuums, stick vacuums and robotic vacuums. Also,
if you really need a deep cleaning, we recommend some steam mops for
that task as well.
basic floor mops
Floor mops have either microfiber strings or
strips, 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 a wringer. Owners like that these mops can be used
with any cleaning solution they choose.
Fans of the (Est. $20) say this mop is the one
to beat for absorbency and ease of use, especially when they pair it with the
equally well-reviewed O-Cedar Quick Wring Bucket (Est. $9). Users say the mop head soaks up messes effectively and
does an excellent job of cleaning floors without leaving streaks. The bucket is
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, but is great
for casual home use. Plenty of people also 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 (Est. $30 for 4). Testers with Wirecutter
particularly like that the microfiber fabric is looped, which prevents tangles
during use. They also praise the extendable handle, but several reviewers
report issues getting it to extend properly and stay locked during use, and
generally say that 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.
One note on the price of the O-Cedar Microfiber mop:
It's about twice the retail price at Amazon. The manufacturer explained that
the higher price is due to the fact that shipping is free via Prime, whereas
other retailers charge for shipping -- with those shipping costs sometimes more
than doubling the price of the mop (which is true, we found a shipping charge
of $14 at one online source; some won't ship it at all). If you can find it in
your local Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's or Ace Hardware, you'll only pay
around $10 for the mop.
The Libman Wonder Mop (Est. $9)
gets high marks 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 (which we don't
recommend for this reason and because they're not as effective as newer
microfiber mops). Testers with Wirecutter say the metal handle is "strong,
light and nimble," and users say they can bear down to scrub stubborn stains
without the head folding over, 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 others complain the
mop head is a bit small.
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. As Wirecutter notes, that makes it particularly ideal for smaller
spaces. Most users say the wringer is easy to use, although some say it can be
tricky to get the hang of at first. 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 (Est. $13 for 2), hold up for
about 50 trips through the washer.
While most people seem to prefer a microfiber mop such as the O-Cedar
and Libman mops 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 (Est. $20) is among the best-rated
sponge mops out there. Though pricier than other sponge mops, reviewers say
this commercial-grade option is more durable than the competition, with a
sturdier handle and a PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) mop head that stands up to
This Rubbermaid sponge mop uses the (Est. $10).
Reviewers caution that these PVA mop heads must be thoroughly soaked before use
so that they don't tear, a step that some owners do find annoying. Some others
also say the mop's telescoping handle sometimes won't stay put once lengthened,
a common complaint that plagues many mops.
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. 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.
The spin mop that gets some of the best overall reviews from owners is
the (Est. $50). It receives very high feedback for its great
performance on a variety of floor types, and for the ability of the handle to
lay flat to reach under furniture and cabinets 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 (Est. $15 for 2). The handle on the Twist & Shout can be adjusted up
to 56 inches. Some users say the mop seems flimsy; however, that complaint is
one we see about virtually every mop in this report. Reviewers who have had
issues and had to deal with customer service rave about their experience.
Another well-reviewed alternative to the Twist & Shout, the (Est. $30) 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 just damp, and not overly wet. A splash guard helps
keep water in the bucket instead of all over the floor.
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 (Est. $8) can be washed up to 10 times. 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 O-Cedar EasyWring, the (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 (Est. $17 for two). Like the Twist & Shout and 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 reviewers
agree that the Mopnado is not as flimsy as other mops, some still say they've
had problems with the bucket handle falling off or the wringer breaking.
for hardwood floors
Hardwood floors will never go out of style, but how to properly clean
them causes some confusion. Major concerns with hardwood include how to leave
it spotless without using too much liquid – this can cause wood flooring
to swell and crack – and finding a cleaner that won't damage the finish. Many
common cleaners, even something innocuous like vinegar, can eat away at the
floor's finish. For those reasons, experts recommend simple microfiber dust
mops for day-to-day cleaning. Wet mops may leave too much moisture if not
thoroughly wrung out, and steam mops may leave heat marks or cause warping.
Buyers who want to clean their hardwood floors without causing any
damage will be well-served by the (Est. $40), which
reviewers say does a good job keeping floors shiny and clean without leaving
excess moisture or a damaging, dulling residue. The system includes a mop with
a detachable microfiber mopping pad and dusting pad, as well as a 32-ounce
spray bottle of Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. If spraying cleaner from a bottle sounds
inconvenient, Bona also offers a (Est. $45).
Reviewers like the Bona mop heads because they glide easily across their
floors, and they're particularly complimentary of the cleaner, which most say dries
quickly and doesn't leave behind annoying streaks. Bona mop pads can be
machine-washed and dried, though Bona cautions against using any dryer sheets,
bleach or fabric softener while doing so. Replacements are available in the (Est. $14), which includes a
dusting pad, cleaning pad and deep-clean pad meant for more heavily soiled
floors. Some reviewers caution that the four-section mop handle is flimsy,
sometimes disconnecting from the mop head or coming apart at connection points.
If you already have a preferred hardwood-friendly cleaner and just want
a sturdy mop for your hardwood flooring, the (Est. $40) gets enthusiastic
feedback from buyers who say it's worth a splurge since it's built for the long
haul. The 18-inch microfiber mop pad also has a larger surface area than most
other dust mops, allowing for speedier cleaning.
Reviewers say what really sets this Microfiber Wholesale mop apart is
higher-quality construction. It has a stainless-steel handle that can telescope
from 4 to 6 feet long, and unlike many competing mops, it won't collapse in the
process, most owners say. It also lies almost flat against the mop pads to
clean under furniture, beds, cabinets or other dusty areas. The included wet
mop and dust mop pads reportedly stay put on the mop handle and can be cleaned
in the washer. A handful of owners say the mop head is too big to get into
tighter spaces, however.
For a cheaper alternative to both the Bona system and the Microfiber
Wholesale mop, the (Est. $20)
can make quick work clearing hardwood floors of dust, pet hair or light dirt, owners
say. Its mop head is a generous size – about 18 inches, like the
Microfiber Wholesale mop – and reviewers love being able to flip the mop
pad for twice the cleaning surface, or keep one side damp and one side dry for
Like most microfiber mop pads, these O-Cedar pads are machine-washable,
and the manufacturer says they should withstand about 100 trips through the
washer before being replaced with an (Est. $6). Though O-Cedar touts the mop pads' scrubbing
strips, a handful of reviewers say the mop head is not built for heavy-duty
scrubbing since it can't withstand a lot of pressure on the split pads. Some
also say the mop head comes loose from the handle too easily.
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 cleaner 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
mops, so you can't use it for tasks like sopping up your child's spilled milk.
The granddaddy of all spray mops, the (Est. $25), 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 cleaning 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 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 squirting the spot with the mop's cleaning
solution and letting it sit, or using a separate cleaner to pretreat it. Many
reviewers say the WetJet works well at picking up pet hair, too.
The cleaning solution used with the WetJet, (Est. $25 for a pack of 3)
gets good feedback for its effectiveness, pleasant scent and quick-drying
abilities. In fact, that quick drying time, a result of both the cleaner and
the (Est. $12 for 20), is one of
the most raved-about features of the Swiffer WetJet. Many reviewers say 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 damp floor for
While the Swiffer WetJet is convenient, it does have its detractors. The
initial cost of this floor mop is low, but 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 tabs on the containers keep them
from being reused. 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 clog
landfills, though in some communities the pads or containers may qualify for
Those who would like the convenience of the
Swiffer WetJet without the ongoing costs or environmental impact should look at
the (Est. $45). It has a higher initial cost than the Swiffer,
but the microfiber pads are washable and reusable, and the included cleaning
solution bottles accept any cleaner you like to use. The kit includes two
bottles and three pads. 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 (Est. $7).
The Reveal was edged out of the top spot because some
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 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.
Another alternative to the Swiffer WetJet, just
in case it's sold out, is the (Est. $30). It also features a refillable bottle that can be used with
any cleaning solution. While the mop comes with a washable, reusable microfiber
pad, (Est. $10 for 10)
are also available; they can be washed up to five times before discarding.
For the most part, reviewers are happy with the ProMist's cleaning performance,
though the reusable pads' 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.
You know what's better than mopping? Having a robot to do it for you.
The bad news is that there is only one decent choice in this category. The good
news is that the (Est. $250) is a really good mopping robot. I
know that because I bought one and detailed my experiences in this blog post.
There are no expert reviews of the iRobot Braava 380t, but users mostly
like it. Although it gets only 3.9 stars on Amazon, a deep dive into some of
the lower ratings reveals mostly complaints about it not navigating well. I
agree with that, it's much better for those with fairly straightforward areas
without a lot of clutter -- which describes my house perfectly. Even those who
are disappointed in its navigational abilities, or feel that it's overpriced, do
say it cleans very well.
Personally, I've had mine for four months now, use it several times a
week, and like it more every day. I know it gets the floor clean, because I've
tested its performance by going over heavily traveled areas it's already mopped
with a clean pad attached to my Swiffer WetJet and there was no leftover dirt.
It's saved me a lot of time, because my three cats are heavy shedders and run
in and out of the backyard a lot -- leaving plenty of dirt, dander and hair
behind, which the Braava 380t handles very well. I do have to do some areas
with my Swiffer, but since they're not heavily trafficked spots -- and it's a
very small percentage of my floor -- I just give them a quick mopping once a
week and it takes me just a few minutes. I would highly recommend this mopping
Expert & User Review Sources
There is just one hands-on expert review of floor mops that includes
testing, from Wirecutter. Accordingly, we also turned to thousands of
owner reviews to evaluate mops' cleaning performance, ease of use and
durability. The best site by far is Amazon, which has the largest
and most detailed collection of mop reviews. We also analyzed owner feedback
from Walmart and Target, which stock the most popular
mops, as well as home-improvement retailers HomeDepot and Lowe's.