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What Are The Different Types of Mop?

Written by Kaylee Barber |

Types of mop

Not sure which type of mop to buy? Here’s an overview of the most common mops, including their pros and cons.

Every home with hard floors needs a mop – but it can be hard to choose the right one!

There are so many mops on the market, ranging from basic string mops to more specialised mops. Which is the right option for your home? And are there any types you should avoid?

In this article, we’ll go through the nine most common types of mop. We’ve also answered common questions, such as whether mops really clean and how a mop compares to a vacuum cleaner. Let’s get started!

1. String Mop

A string mop

String mops are absorbent and relatively cheap, making them a popular choice for many homes.

As the name suggests, the head is made with thick absorbent strings to hold water and clean your floors. They are efficient at cleaning a big area of the floor quickly and leaving a shiny surface.

There are a few downsides to string mops though. The biggest is that water is wrung out into the bucket, which means you’re often cleaning with dirty water (unless you empty it regularly). The head is also not replaceable on most string mops.

A bigger issue is that it’s easy to put too much water onto the floor with this type of mop. This risks damaging some types of flooring.

2. Sponge Mop

Sponge mops are designed to absorb spillages using an absorbent pad. They often have an “emptying” system that squeezes out fluid that’s picked up into the sink.

The great thing about sponge mops is that they can quickly clear up liquid spills. This makes them a cheap alternative to wet and dry vacuum cleaners. However, they can get heavy if picking up a lot of water, and they aren’t the best choice for general cleaning.

3. Spray Mop

An example of a spray mop

String mops need to be dipped into a separate bucket when cleaning. In contrast, spray mops have a built-in bottle of water that can be dispensed onto the floor during cleaning.

One of the things we like about this type of mop is that they are less likely to oversaturate your floor. Most spray mops also have a detachable head that can be cleaned.

We don’t recommend using spray mops for deep cleaning though. They don’t hold enough water to give hard floors a thorough clean.

4. Flat Mop

An example of a flat mop

A flat-headed mop is useful when you don’t want too much water on the floor. This is particularly important for laminate or hardwood flooring, where excess water could seep between the floorboards.

Most flat-headed mops are also small, which makes them useful for leaning tight locations. The flip-side is that this makes them less suitable for cleaning large areas of floor.

5. Dust Mop

Dust mops are simple products that have a fabric cover to attract dust and other unwanted debris. The cover is then replaced after each use.

A disposable dust mop is usually cheap and easy to use. The flat design also makes them suitable for cleaning skirting boards and walls.

This type of mop doesn’t give a deep clean though. It just collects the dust and debris, rather than cleaning the floor with water.

Many people won’t like the disposable nature of the covers – it’s certainly not the most environmentally friendly option!

Tip: If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, then a disposable dust mop can be a great way to remove loose debris before deep cleaning with a different mop.

6. Spin Mop

An example of a spin mop

These are similar to string mops, but have a few extra features to make them more convenient around the home.

A spin mop has a bucket and a spinning function. They reduce the problem of string mops oversaturating the floor by allowing you to spin excess water into the bucket.

Of course, spin mops still suffer from the problem of putting dirt straight back into the bucket whenever you need more water.

7. Microfibre Mop

Microfibre mops are increasingly popular in recent years – especially for people who want to deep clean tile floors.

The advantages of microfiber mops are that they are simple to use, can absorb loads of water, and last a long time. Microfiber heads are also washable, making them much easier to re-use than a string mop.

A potential downside is that soft microfibre heads can make it difficult to remove stubborn dirt.

8. Strip Mop

At first glance, strip mops look very similar to string mops. But instead of string these mops are made with fabric strips.

The great thing about strip mops is that they can be used for both dry and wet cleaning. Unlike string, the fabric is effective at picking up dust when dry.

As a bonus, most strip mops have removable heads for easier washing.

They still hold a lot of water, however, which makes it easy to accidentally oversaturate the floor.

9. Steam Mops

Example of a steam mop

If you’re looking for something a bit more powerful than a regular mop, then a steam mop could be the perfect option.

Steam mops are a type of steam cleaner that generate steam to kill bacteria and remove more dirt. They are brilliant for deep cleaning and mean you don’t need to carry a bucket around the house with you.

Most steam mops also come with reusable cloths and settings for a range of tasks. However, these are much more expensive than a regular mop and need to be plugged into a mains power supply.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Mops a Replacement for a Vacuum Cleaner?

No, mops cannot replace a vacuum cleaner – the two are made for different types of cleaning tasks.

Vacuum cleaners are brilliant at picking up dirt, hair, and other dry debris. However, they don’t clean a hard floor in the same way that a mop does.

Do Mops Actually Clean Flooring?

Some people argue that mops just move dirt and bacteria around, rather than actually cleaning.

This is sometimes true – especially if you aren’t using the right technique.

Make sure you remove as much loose dirt as possible by vacuuming or sweeping before mopping. Water should be changed regularly during cleaning, so you’re not trying to clean with dirty water, and use hot water to kill bacteria.

Are Mops Safe for Laminate Flooring?

A common mistake when mopping is to use too much water. This can damage laminate flooring (and other types of hard floor) because the water seeps between the floorboard cracks.

Instead, use a minimal amount of water and avoid traditional types of mop. We recommend cleaning laminate floors with a microfibre mop, making sure that the head is damp rather than wet.

You should also vacuum thoroughly before mopping. Take a look at our guide to the best vacuums for laminate flooring for the top options.


Mops can be a useful tool for cleaning floors, but it’s important to choose the right type. We hope this article has helped you decide on the best option for your home!

Do you have any questions about the various types of mop? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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