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String Mops vs. Flat Mops: What is the best choice?

When it comes to choosing the right mop for cleaning, there are two popular options to consider: string mops and flat mops. But which one is the best choice? Well, it really depends on the situation.


Cotton string mops are the traditional choice for cleaning floors. They are made of cotton strands that effectively pick up dirt and dust. String mops are commonly used with cold water and can handle heavy-duty cleaning tasks. They are especially suitable for dealing with organic materials and greasy spills. On the other hand, flat mops with synthetic or microfiber pads are great for a quick and efficient clean. In this article, we'll compare these products and identify some situations where there is a clear best choice.

String Mop Options

Traditional String Mops

String mops are a popular choice for cleaning floors, and they come in various sizes, ranging from 12 oz to 32 oz. The size of the mop head determines the area it can cover and the speed at which it can clean. Larger mops can clean areas faster, but it's essential to consider the strength of the custodian who will be using them, as larger mops tend to be heavier.

String mops are available in two different types: cut-end and looped. Looped mops have strands that are looped back into the mop head, making them last up to eight times longer than cut-end mops. They can also be laundered, while cut-end mops cannot. Additionally, looped-end mops help eliminate snagging, making them more durable. Although looped-end mops may come at a higher initial cost, their longer lifespan ultimately provides the lowest overall total cost.

String mops also offer different options for strand material, including cotton, blend, rayon, and microfiber. Cotton strands have good absorption capabilities but may produce lint and dry slowly. Blend strands offer excellent absorption, as well as good strength and durability. Rayon strands quickly absorb liquids, have low liquid retention, and are ideal for applying disinfectants. They are also mildew-resistant and dry quickly.


Microfiber String Loop Mops

These innovative mops combine the traditional benefits of a looped end string mop with the durability and versatility of microfiber material.

The microfiber string mop boasts ultra-fine fibers that are extremely effective at trapping and holding dirt, dust, and debris. They are excellent at picking up even the tiniest particles, leaving your floors cleaner. The microfiber material is also highly absorbent, effectively allowing the mop to soak up spills and excess water.

One of the significant advantages of microfiber string mops is their ability to be laundered. Unlike traditional cotton string mops that need to be replaced frequently, microfiber string mops can be washed and reused numerous times.

Microfiber Flat Mop Options

When it comes to mopping smooth floors, microfiber flat mops have become a popular choice due to their effectiveness and efficiency. These mops are available in various options, offering versatile cleaning solutions for different floor types and cleaning needs.

One common option is the traditional microfiber flat mop head, which is made of synthetic materials that attract and trap dust and dirt effectively. This type of mop head is ideal for everyday cleaning on various floor surfaces, including tile, wood, laminate, and vinyl.

Another option is the spray mop, which has a built-in spray mechanism for quick and easy application of cleaning solution. This is especially useful for spot cleaning or hard-to-reach areas. The microfiber pad on the mop head is easily removable and can be washed in a washing machine for reuse.

Hillyard offers a complete flat mop system as part of its Trident Microfiber product line. This system includes a specially designed mop bucket, handle, and cart system that is designed to improve efficiency and lower labor costs.


Trident Microfiber Flat Mop System

The Trident Microfiber Flat Mop System is an innovative and efficient cleaning solution for various surfaces. Available in 11-inch and 18-inch sizes, this system offers a range of features that make it a superior choice for any cleaning task.

One of the standout features of the Trident Microfiber Flat Mop System is its compact, lightweight cart. This cart is designed to be easily maneuvered in tight spaces, making it ideal for navigating around furniture and obstacles. Additionally, the cart includes a divided and coated laundry bag, providing a convenient and hygienic storage solution for both soiled mops and cloths.

The Trident Microfiber Flat Mop System also includes side pockets specifically designed to hold gloves and tools such as a hand trowel. This ensures that all necessary equipment is conveniently within reach, further streamlining the cleaning process. Additionally, the system offers storage for up to 5 upright mop handles, allowing for easy organization and accessibility.

Notably, the Trident Microfiber Flat Mop System can clean various surfaces, including floors, walls, tables, desks, partitions, and more. Its versatile design and high-quality microfiber pads ensure effective and thorough cleaning, eliminating dirt and grime easily.

The release button on the mop frame is a highly convenient feature of the Trident Microfiber Flat Mop System. This allows for effortless disposal of the mop into a soiled mop bucket or the system's rear laundry bag without touching the dirty mop pad. The coated laundry bag on the back of the Trident Cart is divided, with one side dedicated to soiled cloths and the other for soiled mops. This separation ensures hygienic storage and simplifies the cleaning process.

Mop Selection Guide

The Situation Type of Mop The Reason
General purpose cleaning of a flat surface Microfiber Flat Mop
  • Lowest total cost to clean
  • Faster ISSA cleaning rate than a string mop
  • Uses less cleaning chemicals and water
  • Lower per-use mop cost if laundry facilities are available
Cleaning up spills String Mop
  • Better liquid absorbency. Blend-strand type mops provide exceptional performance for absorption and durablity.
Cleaning textured surfaces, uneven surfaces, or grouted tile Microfiber Flat Mop with Looped Fringe
  • The looped fringes on the edges of the mop get into crevices without leaving excess moisture.
Cleaning abrasive surfaces Rough Surface Microfiber Mop
  • Microfiber mops designed for abrasive surfaces won't leave lint behind.
Cleaning surfaces with heavy or greasy soils String Mop
  • Start with a degreaser and a stiff brush to break up the grease.
  • If rinsing to a floor drain isn't possible, remove liquid with a wet vacuum or a string mop. Flat mops will not provide sufficient absorption.
Floor renovation and stripping String Mop
  • Floor stripping requires a liberal application of the stripping solution. Flat mops won't hold enough solution.

Get expert advice from Hillyard for your cleaning program

In conclusion, both string and flat mops have advantages and disadvantages. Microfiber flat mops offer a longer lifespan and lower cleaning costs compared to string mops, which often require frequent replacement. However, string mops excel at reaching hard-to-reach areas and may be more maneuverable in certain situations.

When it comes to your cleaning program, getting expert advice can make a world of difference. That's where Hillyard comes in. With their extensive knowledge and experience in the cleaning industry, they can provide valuable guidance and assistance in selecting the most suitable mop for your specific needs and floor type.

To get expert advice from Hillyard, complete the "I'm Interested" form at the bottom of this page. Hillyard's team of experts will then get back to you to develop personalized recommendations and solutions. Contact Hillyard today to benefit from their expert advice and elevate your cleaning program to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a flat mop better than a string mop?

Choosing between a flat mop and a string mop depends on your specific cleaning needs. Flat mops are often considered more convenient and hygienic. They typically have microfiber pads that can be easily removed and cleaned, reducing the risk of spreading germs. They are also versatile and can be used for wet or dry cleaning, making them suitable for various surfaces.

On the other hand, string mops are known for their affordability and ability to cover larger areas quickly. However, they can be less hygienic as the strings tend to trap dirt and bacteria, and they may require more effort to wring out properly.

Which type of mop is most effective?

The most effective type of mop depends on the specific cleaning task and the surface you're dealing with. Here are some common mop types and their effectiveness in various situations:

Flat Mop (Microfiber Mop): Flat mops are highly effective for regular maintenance cleaning on hard floors like tile, hardwood, and laminate. They excel at trapping dirt and dust, and their microfiber pads can be easily cleaned, promoting hygiene.

String Mop (Traditional Mop): String mops are effective for larger areas and heavy-duty cleaning tasks. They are suitable for commercial spaces and can handle spills or messes that require more water and scrubbing.

Are microfiber mops better than string mops?

Microfiber mops are generally considered more effective than string mops for several reasons:

  1. Cleaning Efficiency: Microfiber mops have tiny, densely woven fibers that are highly effective at capturing and holding onto dirt, dust, and debris. They are superior at picking up fine particles that string mops may miss.
  2. Hygiene: Microfiber mops are more hygienic because their fibers can be easily cleaned and sanitized. They reduce the risk of cross-contamination as you can frequently change and wash the mop heads, preventing the spread of germs.
  3. Versatility: Microfiber mops are versatile and can be used for wet and dry cleaning. They suit various surfaces, including hardwood floors, tile, laminate, and even walls or ceilings.
  4. Less Water Usage: Microfiber mops require less water, making them eco-friendly and ideal for maintaining the integrity of hardwood or laminate floors that can be damaged by excessive moisture.

While string mops still have their place, especially for heavy-duty cleaning tasks, microfiber mops are generally considered more efficient and hygienic for general cleaning.

DISCLAIMER:  Specifications are subject to change without notice. Examples and recommendations in this article may not apply to every situation. This information is provided on an “as is” basis and does not supersede any other documentation. Always follow the instructions as written on the product label.

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