Choosing and Using a Wet Mop for Effective Cleanup
Not too many people enjoy cleaning with a wet mop. Visions of bending over to wring the wet mop head, watery messes, and backaches often come with the thought of mopping. Over the years, advances in wet dry mops, including the study of absorbent materials and wringing methods, have made mopping easier. The fact is that cleaning with a wet mop is much better than simply sweeping or vacuuming a hard surface floor. And while the process may not be the most fun, it doesn't have to be the painful experience it once was.
While technology has created some wonderful mop handles that reduce the need for bending over when wringing the wet mop head, the best material for the wet mop head remains 100% cotton that is tension twisted for maximum absorption power. Even with all the fancy absorbable materials available, cotton retains moisture better than any around. A quality cotton wet mop head can hold as much as four times its weight in water, which makes cleaning go much faster.
What about sponge mop heads? For the best cleaning power, a traditional cotton wet mop head is better than a sponge for a number of reasons. For one, a cotton mop head, when dried and stored properly, is less likely to hold germs and grow mildew. The many holes in sponges are nothing more than multiple pockets for germs to hide. Granted, a sponge mop head may be good for quick, small, and relatively clean spills (such as a spilled drink), a cotton mop head is best for deep and thorough cleaning. Even if the floor is only slightly dirty, you may end up pushing dirt around your floor with a sponge mop head more than cleaning it up.
Of course, to clean effectively with a cotton wet mop head, proper technique is essential, both for keeping dirt and germs under control, but also for saving your back. When cleaning, begin at the farthest end of the room and work inward using a figure eight motion with the wet mop head. This brings the dirt along with you (rather than pushing it away), which keeps germs under control as well. The figure eight motional also more evenly distributes the workload throughout your arms and back, which is less likely to result in a backache.
To care for your wet mop head, rinse it thoroughly after each use, and hang it so the mop head is off the floor or upside down. This helps keep the mop head in better condition as it can become disfigured and damaged if left to dry while upright on the wet mop head. This type of storage also allows the mop head to dry thoroughly, which reduces the chances of germs and mildew to accumulate. When it is no longer possible to rinse the wet mop head thoroughly, it is time to replace it. Even if the mop head looks okay, be sure to replace it every so often anyway, as germs can build up over time if the mop head is not changed often enough, despite the best of care and storage.
To assist in maintaining your back health, look for a wet mop with a built-in wringing system. The best ones provide a tight wringing action and are easy to operate.Also look for a wet dry mop with a long enough handle that you will not be constantly bending over to use it. A long handle will allow you to clean comfortably using the figure eight pattern mentioned without having to lean forward excessively.
To make mopping easier, choose a high quality cleaning product designed for mopping and use according to directions. One problem with many well-intentioned people is to use a product not designed for wet mopping, such as dishwashing liquid, and end up with a too-sudsy mess that is difficult to rinse out. Using the wrong type of cleaner can also create the opposite of what you're aiming for, such as leaving a film on your floor. Also, with specialty floors, such as tile, it is a good idea to choose a cleaning product that is designed for that type of floor. Otherwise, you may accidentally damage the finish or scratch the surface if you use an abrasive cleaner. Again, one advantage to the cotton wet mop head is that it is gentle on surfaces in that it does not scratch. Between each sweep on the floor, be sure to swish the mop head in the water to release dirt particles that could scratch the floor.
Author Vincent Platania represents the Fuller Brush Company.
Fuller Brush has been in business since 1906, and offers safe, environmentally friendly products for keeping your home and your body clean.
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