Mops aren’t really something that you think of as eco-friendly or not–after all, you can use the same mop for years at a time. But when making a conscious effort to make your home more environmentally friendly, it’s important to think about all areas of your life, especially when it’s time to replace old items.
In this guide, we’ll talk about what exactly makes a mop more or less eco-friendly, as well as the factors you should look for when deciding what works best for your situation. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you to start your search.
How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Mop – Buying Guide
There aren’t too many big, glaring differences when it comes to eco-friendliness, so it may work out better for you to keep your personal needs in mind first.
Choose a Type Based on Flooring and Mess Size
Choosing a mop type goes beyond just preference, and depending on what kind of flooring you have and how much of a mess you regularly have to clean, one may be much better for your situation than another.
String Mops Are Scrubby and Cover a Large Area
String mops are probably what you think of when you hear the word “mop.” These are great for scrubbing at tough messes and can easily get into small spaces and corners. They hold a ton of liquid and require having a bucket with a wringer in order to avoid splashing water everywhere, although some come with a built-in wringer.
Because they hold a lot of liquid and are made up of so many separate strings, it can be hard to get all the excess out, so you may be left with streaks. That being said, these are best for heavy-duty mopping on water-resistant flooring like tile or concrete.
Sponge Mops Are Absorbent and Compact
Sponge mops are basically just a giant sponge attached to the end of a stick that you can push around. They’re super easy to use, don’t make a huge mess, and are pretty versatile. They’re great for larger and smaller messes and can be used on a variety of surfaces including walls.
However, they can soak up a lot of liquid, and it can be hard to wring them out completely, so like twist mops, you may experience some streaking, and they’re probably better for surfaces that can handle some dampness.
Additionally, the sponge part of the mop can get pretty nasty, so you may find yourself changing out the head fairly often, depending on how often you use it and how dirty the floor you’re cleaning is.
Flat Mops Are Great for Everyday Cleaning and Work on All Surfaces
Flat mops feature a flat, rectangular head that you can attach fabric pads to. Swiffers are probably the most well-known flat mops, though the attachment doesn’t have to be disposable and can be made from a variety of different materials.
Flat mops are great for both dry and wet mopping, and the attachments are pretty easy to get excess liquid out of as they’re small enough for you to wring with your hands before attaching to the mop. These are best for smaller messes or daily cleaning and can be used on basically any type of flooring.
Mop Head Material Determines Eco-Friendliness
Most of what makes a mop eco-friendly comes down to what the head is made of, how easy it is to clean and re-use, and how much chemicals are required in your cleaning process.
Microfiber Cuts Down on Chemicals but Is Made of Plastic
Depending on your definition of eco-friendly, microfiber can be either the holy grail of cleaning or an overrated contributor to pollution. On one hand, microfiber’s unique structure allows it to catch particles and effectively clean surfaces largely without the need for harmful chemicals and solutions. Plus, it’s machine washable and reusable.
On the other, microfiber is made from polyester, a type of plastic, and will break down with use and possibly contribute to environmental microplastic pollution. In either case, microfiber is still way better than unnecessary disposable options.
Cotton is All-Natural but Requires Thorough Cleaning
Cotton is probably the most eco-friendly mop head option. It’s all-natural, washes easily, and you can dispose of it once it’s worn out without worrying about plastics or chemicals. However, you may have to consider the potential for stains and microbial growth on cotton, but as long as you’re conscious about washing and drying it thoroughly, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Cellulose Sponges Biodegrade but Break Down Quickly
If you’re going with a sponge mop, the only real eco-friendly option is to find a mop that has a cellulose sponge head.
Cellulose is super absorbent and will also biodegrade. Most sponge mop heads are made from synthetic plastics, and when you have to change heads as often as you do with sponges due to their moisture-trapping, bacteria-friendly structure, all that plastic will quickly add up.
Make Sure the Handle is Convenient to Use and Dispose of as Well!
Even though it might be less critical, don’t forget to consider the handle for a well-rounded understanding of eco-friendliness.
Mop Handles Are Normally Not Eco-Friendly, but Can Be Recycled
Although you’re likely to use the same handle for years and years, you’re still going to have to get rid of it eventually, and you want to make it as easy and eco-friendly as possible.
Most mops have either a metal or plastic handle, both of which can be recycled. However, when it comes time to take it in, be sure that your recycler accepts the specific material type, and make sure to remove any attachments that might otherwise make it ineligible (for example, separate a plastic grip attached to a metal handle).
Some mops have wood, and obviously that’s the best option, but they’re harder to come by and tend not to have any of the convenient features listed below.
Extra Features Make Life Easier
A handle is not always just a handle, and having the right extra features can make your cleaning experience a lot easier. Telescoping handles, for example, can extend and retract to your ideal mop length and help you reach tough spots.
For string mops, having a wringer attached to the handle can save you a lot of time, effort, and money on a separate wringer. Plus, because they’re built for your specific mop, they can also be more efficient. Some handles even have spray functions that will wet the floor in front of your mop and save you the trouble of using a bucket.
Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Mops to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for, here are our favorite eco-friendly mops.
10. Ehonestbuy Helper Mop
Tiny Mop to Reach Tiny Spaces
This little mop is perfect for getting into small spaces that a larger mop wouldn’t fit into. The head is just 7 inches across and conveniently shaped for getting into corners. The handle also bends 180 degrees to make it easy to reach under things.
However, this mop is rather short–at the longest extension, the handle only measures 35 inches, which may be uncomfortable for taller people. This also isn’t likely to be a good mop to clean a whole room, let alone a whole house.
9. Libman Tornado Mop
String Mop with Built-In Wringer
This string mop is perfect for those who don’t already have a wringer or don’t want to buy a separate one. It holds quite a bit of liquid and is great for larger messes on floors that aren’t easily damaged by water.
However, some reviewers note that the quality of the wringing mechanism may be inconsistent, leading to possible breaking. The head is also made from a blend, so even though you can reuse it for years, when you do throw it away, not all of it will biodegrade.
|Head Material||Cotton/synthetic blend|
8. Microfiber Wholesale Professional Microfiber Mop
Extra Long Mop with Extra Cleaning Pads
This extra long flat head mop comes with three mop heads as well as two extra microfiber cloths for cleaning other surfaces. It can be used for both wet and dry mopping, and each head can be washed hundreds of times for years of use.
However, due to the size, it might be hard to dip it into a bucket if you’re using it wet. It also uses a velcro attachment, which means that the mop is only compatible with specifically designed heads.
|Handle Material||Stainless steel|
7. Jinclean Dual Side Microfiber Floor Mop
Two-Sided for Dry and Wet Mopping
This mop features a specially designed head covering and handle that allows you to use both sides of the head–one for dry and one for wet mopping. It’s great at picking up dust and swivels easily to reach all angles.
However, some reviewers note that the swivel function may be a bit too loose, and the locking function on the telescoping handle sometimes comes undone.
6. Twist and Shout Mop
Specialized System Makes Wringing Super Simple
This mop, wringer, and bucket combo work together to make squeezing out excess water super simple–just put the mop into the wringer and push down on the handle to spin out the water. The structured round head also makes it easy to clean baseboards.
However, it isn’t very strongly built, and since you need all the parts in order for it to work, if anything breaks, you need to replace it if you want to keep using the other parts.
|Features||Telescoping handle, easy wring function|
5. E-Cloth Aqua Spray Deep Clean Mop
With Attached Spray for Bucket-Less Cleaning
This mop features a water bottle mounted to the handle to easily spray directly in front of your mop. As the head is made from microfiber and doesn’t require much liquid to begin with, this could completely replace the need for a separate bucket.
The bottle is removable, and the mop can still be used without it. However, some reviewers have noted some issues with the velcro attachment wearing down quickly, but the mop also comes with a three-year warranty, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
4. Quickie All-Purpose Cotton Wet Mop
Simple String Mop Gets the Job Done
This super simple mop is great for those just looking for something that will work with their current bucket and wringer system. It is heavier than it looks, and with its loose, unformed shape, it’s easy to get into corners and tight spots.
There’s a small attached scrubbing pad, but that wears down pretty quickly and isn’t readily replaceable. However, if you’re just looking for a simple mop, it shouldn’t make much of a difference. This wallet-friendly mop even comes with a 5-year warranty.
3. Casabella Original Mop
High-Quality Cellulose Sponge Mop
This Italian-made sponge mop is sturdy, well constructed, and features an all-cellulose sponge head. It features a built-in wringer that gets takes the sponge from wet to slightly damp–perfect for picking up messes and sopping up spills.
While the sponge tends to hold onto more liquid the longer you use it (as in, it doesn’t wring out as well), it’s useable for quite a while, and you feel good switching out the head knowing that it’s biodegradable.
2. O-Cedar Wooden Cuban-Style T-Mop
Simple, Eco-Friendly, and Biodegradable
This mop is about as eco-friendly as it gets. It comes with a cotton cloth specifically designed for this mop, but you can use any old rag or cloth that you have at home as well.
There’s a little bit of a learning curve when folding the cloth and using the mop for the first time, and it requires more effort than just dunking a head into a bucket, but in terms of eco-friendly, there’s no better option.
|Type||Flat mop (kind of)|
1. Mayshine Microfiber Hardwood Floor Mop
Sturdily Built and Designed to Take Any Cleaning Cloth
This flat mop features a compact, easy to maneuver, 14-inch head. It comes with five microfiber cloths, but because of its clamp design, you could use any cloth of any material with this handle.
Its handle is sturdy and built to last a lifetime, so even once the (thick, well-built) cloths wear out after years of use, you’ll still be able to use this handle with other heads.
|Handle Material||Stainless steel, aluminum|
Am I Doing It Right? The Best Way to Mop
Believe it or not, mopping is more than just pushing around a wet stick, and there are certain things you can do to ensure the best clean possible. For one thing, always sweep or vacuum first! If you don’t do that, you’ll just be spreading around hair and dirt particles, making your floor even dirtier.
Get your mop as dry as possible. If your mop is too wet, it won’t be able to pick anything up, plus you’ll just be leaving puddles of water all over your floor. And depending on your flooring, that can be super damaging.
Mop in an “S” pattern. This allows you to work an area without flicking dirt or collecting debris in any single place. Mop a room from the inside out. By starting at the farthest corner of the room and mopping back towards the door, you don’t have to worry about stepping on any wet spots and leaving behind dirty footprints.
There you have it–a quick guide to choosing the right eco-friendly mop for you! Even though mops might not be your top priority when swapping products, it never hurts to consider all your options before making a purchase.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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