The 10 Best Sponge Mops
What’s So Great About The Sponge Mop?
You may not want one of these brushes touching your antique hardwood floors, whereas if you’ve got linoleum, a hard-bristled brush might be perfect.
Anyone who’s ever wrung out a dirty string mop can appreciate its much more user-friendly cousin, the sponge mop. Although there are all kinds of devices designed to keep your hands from getting wet and dirty while you use the former, this simply isn’t a problem with the latter. Most sponge mops have a handle that lets you squeeze out the water, and the sponge sits neatly at the end, so you never feel like you’re battling an enraged, uber-tentacled octopus.
To get the best sponge mopping experience possible, you’ll want to look at a few of the features these mops offer. We’re not saying these features will make mopping more fun than a trip to Disneyland, but they’ll at least elevate the experience of floor cleaning above, say, getting a cavity filled.
First, take a look at the handle length. If you’re on the shorter side, this won’t matter as much, but if you’re over average height, you’ll probably be comfortable with something longer. For those homes with several mop users, there are mops with extendable handles. These also make cleaning in recessed nooks and under cabinets easier.
Next, think about the features of the mop head. Yes, these mops all have sponges, but some pair a scrubbing brush with the sponge. You may not want one of these brushes touching your antique hardwood floors, whereas if you’ve got linoleum, a hard-bristled brush might be perfect.
Then, consider that not all sponges are equal. Some mops boast all-natural sea sponge, while others use the synthetic variety to which you might be more accustomed. Whether one cleans better than the other is open to debate, but there is some evidence that natural sea sponges last longer. On the other hand, sea sponges have been subject to recent threats of over-harvesting. With the pros and cons being evenly stacked, the choice may simply come down to personal preference.
Finally, spare some thought for how you’ll wring the water from the head. Do you want a mop you can wring from far up on the handle, or are you okay with using a device on the mop head? Models in the second category may let you squeeze the sponge harder, since you’re closer and can apply more force. They might require bending down, however, so if you have trouble stooping you might want to choose one that wrings from up high.
Getting The Cleanest Floors Possible
The right mop features aren’t the only things that make getting a clean floor with less effort possible. Mopping seems simple, but believe it or not, there are a few dos and don’ts that make the process smoother, with better results. For instance, you can avoid having to dunk your mop in gunky water by using two buckets, one for your clean, soapy solution and the other for rinsing off the muck. This can also help you save on both time and soap, since you won’t have to remake your cleanser each time the water needs changing. And when it comes to changing the mop rinsing water, don’t be afraid to do so a few times during each scrub down. You don’t want to put that same dirt back on the floor.
The right mop features aren’t the only things that make getting a clean floor with less effort possible.
Be sure to mop yourself out of the room, so you aren’t walking on the clean floor while it’s wet, and when you come to stuck-on stains, don’t be afraid to get down on the floor and scrub them with a cloth or sponge, if you can.
When you’ve finished mopping, one important job remains: cleaning the mop. A wet, dirty mop is a veritable palace for bacteria, creating a sponge head that’s both unhygienic and most likely smelly. To avoid this, soak the mop in diluted bleach (or vinegar, for a natural alternative) for about 10 minutes, then rinse both it and the mop bucket. After they’re clean, set them somewhere they can air dry thoroughly. Whatever you do, don’t let the sponge mop sit in dirty water for an extended period. You’ll be creating a bacteria lagoon and shortening the life of the mop.
Can You Mop Carpet?
Depending upon your age, you may or may not be surprised to learn that some people do, indeed, mop their carpets. Nowadays, inexpensive yet powerful vacuums are widely available, but up until the period following World War II, they were luxury items reserved for the superrich (well, for the maids of the superrich). Even during the postwar economic expansion, not everyone could afford each and every new and timesaving item. So, in order to fully clean rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting, which had started its ascendance to popularity in the 1930s, some folks would haul out the mop.
And if you do decide to mop your carpets, you might want to check them for colorfastness first.
You can, and some still do, use this method even today, and the sponge mop lends itself well to the task. The trick is to remove most of the loose debris, including dirt and hair, from the carpet first. Before the vacuum cleaner become accessible, this meant using a carpet sweeper or broom, options that are still available for those who live without a hoover in the house. When the debris is gone, you simply go over the floor with a damp mop, just as you would any other hard surface. Some people suggest using a detergent made for steam cleaning, while others swear by a diluted ammonia solution. Be sure to let the floor dry before walking on it.
If you aren’t interested in mopping your floors, which is essentially a low-budget alternative to steam cleaning, there are other ways you can get some extra use from your sponge mop. Both your walls and ceiling probably get dirtier than you think, but a swipe with a clean mop will get rid of fingerprints, dust, spiderwebs, and any other crud. Before you use a soap, check that it’s compatible with your wall’s finish. And if you do decide to mop your carpets, you might want to check them for colorfastness first.