The 5 Best Mops of 2021

Think outside single-use wipes and opt for a mop.

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The Rundown
Best Cuban Mop:
Quick-Loop Mop at Amazon
This simple design works wonders and is good for the environment.
Save a bundle on Swiffer pads by switching to these reusable alternatives.
A durable, lightweight sponge mop with a rust-resistant handle.
Made with biodegradable cotton, this sturdy mop can handle tough cleaning jobs.
An efficient microfiber mop at a low cost, with a washable mop head and a steel handle.

Back in 1999, Swiffer started a cleaning revolution that made mopping floors quick and convenient, but this type of flat mop system has a few drawbacks. A flat mop is costly to maintain, in part because the mop pads are designed for single use and constantly replacing them can pile up – both financially and in the landfills. The some designs require batteries to power the sprayer, and because there is no water involved, you may find yourself going through cleaning spray more quickly. Plus, the mop and parts are made of plastic and aren’t built to last. 

That’s why many people are “thinking outside the Swiffer” to some hybrid options or taking another look at old-fashioned mopping methods that are receiving a modern refit.

Here are the best mops on the market as an eco-friendly alternative.

Best Cuban Mop: Quick-Loop Mop

Quick-Loop Mop

A Cuban mop is designed differently than Swiffers, sponges, or yarn strand mops in that it doesn’t include a mop head. Instead, the mop consists of two wooden dowels, and a piece of wet fabric (often an extra rag) is then wrapped around the dowels and pushed across the floor. After use, the fabric can easily be washed and reused.

The Quick Loop Mop Head utilizes this technique but adds some modern components for even more convenience. The oak arm features steel pinch loops that can easily hold a cloth in place (no need for folding mishaps) and works for mopping or dusting. The Quick Loop does not include a handle, but any standard threaded broom handle or painter's extension pole will work.

Best Swiffer Hack: AMarieEcoSew Washable Mop Pads

Handmade Eco-Friendly Mop

Make the switch to reusable mop pads for your existing Swiffer with the “Washable Mop Pads” from an Etsy maker. These handmade mop pads (in various fabric designs) consist of cotton and terry cloth and can slip right onto the Swiffer mop head. When you’re done cleaning, just toss them into the wash.

The pads work well on both Swiffer Wet Jet and the Dusters Sweeper mop, picking up dirt and animal fur with ease. They are extremely absorbent, and the Velcro keeps them snug in place so they don’t slip during use. The pads are sold individually in a range of color options, but we recommend getting two (it’s most effective when you use one to wet wash and one to dry). They're shipped in compostable packaging. 

Best Sponge Mop: Casabella Painted Steel Original Mop

Casabella Original Mop

If you’re interested in the classic “Bee Mop,” design, the Casablanca Original Bee has been successfully cleaning floors for decades with a sturdy handle and refillable sponges. The porous sponge can handle tough, sticky spots (with a little scrubbing), and the attached wringer includes a heavy-duty lever to fully wring the sponge. The sponge is made from cellulose, which is biodegradable.

Lightweight and versatile, the mop can be used on any hard floor surface (it can even handle garage floors). The mop head is 10 inches long, and the rust-resistant steel handle reaches just over 4 feet. Made in Italy, there’s a lifetime guarantee on the mop (but replacement sponges can be purchased separately).

TIP:

When using mops (especially sponge mops), avoid cleaning floors with acidic products like vinegar because it can quickly break down the mop head.

Best Heavy Duty: Quickie Jobsite #32 Heavy-Duty Wet String Mop

Quickie Jobsite #32 Heavy-Duty Wet String Mop

If you’re cleaning an area that requires a larger, stronger floor mop, the Jobsite #32 Heavy-Duty Wet String Mop by Quickie is both durable and eco-friendly. The mop head is constructed from thick, four-ply cotton strands with cut-end style yarn that helps minimize snagging and maximize absorbency.

Combined with a lacquered, 4.6-foot hardwood handle and galvanized steel clamp, this plastic-free mop is known as “the Bulldozer” for commercial job sites, garage or basement floors, and other large spaces. The mop comes with a five year limited warranty, and buckets and replacement mop heads are sold separately.

Best Budget: O-Cedar Microfiber String Cloth Mop

O-Cedar Microfiber String Cloth Mop

If you’re searching for a new mop but are on a tight budget, the O’Cedar Microfiber String Cloth Mop is an affordable alternative. The absorbent microfiber strands in the mop absorb dirt, dust, hair, and moisture. They work on most floor surfaces, including tile, hardwood, linoleum, and laminate. The mop head twists off and can be machine-washed up to 100 times, and the carbon steel mop handle comes with a built-in hook to hang in a closet or other storage area.

Although reusable, be aware that the mop head is made of microfiber, so it's not as eco-friendly as the other mops on this list. It won’t biodegrade like cotton, and microfiber also contributes to plastic pollution, so be sure to wash it on the cold cycle. The mop works best when paired with the O’Cedar wring bucket (view on Amazon), but similar buckets can be used.

Final Verdict

For cleaning a larger space that requires a more heavy-duty mop, the Bulldozer mop from Quickie (view at Home Depot) is an excellent option.

If you already have a Swiffer and are searching for an eco-friendly conversion, give the Washable Mop Pads (view at Etsy) a try.

What to Look for in an Eco-Friendly Mop

Durability 

You want a mop and a mop head that can last for as long as possible. Look for robust materials and a strong construction, and can along with a mop head that can be washed. When the head does eventually wear out, it's more efficient to replace just the mop head, as opposed to the whole mop. 

Versatility 

Some mops are designed to only work for wet or dry cleaning. We think the more eco-friendly option is a mop that can do both jobs, so you can own fewer cleaning tools overall. 

Materials 

When possible, avoid mop systems that are made primarily out of plastic or require single-used covers or wipes. Microfiber is a popular material for reusable mop heads, however, it can contribute to microplastic pollution when you wash it, so it’s a less Earth-friendly choice than cotton. 

How to Make an Upcycled DIY Mop Head

If you are crafty, making an upcycled mop at home is a great way to reuse old fabrics like t-shirts or bedding by cutting them into strips and attaching them to an old mop handle. It's is a great starting point for establishing a zero waste cleaning routine. Here's how:

  1. Gather your scrap fabric. You'll need roughly three to four large tee shirts, or the equivalent amount of fabric.
  2. Cut the fabric into 2-inch wide strips, at least 24 inches long. If you want a uniform look, trim them to be the same length.
  3. Stack the strips, roughly on top of each other. Using heavy thread and a large needle, sew the strips together at the middle point for form the mop head.
  4. Remove the old mop head from the handle. Depending on the design of the mop, you may be able to use a screwdriver to open up the head of the mop and take out the old strands. In other cases, you may want to use scissors and pliers to get them out.
  5. Attach the your fabric strips to the handle. If you were able to use a screwdriver, you'll simply screw the head closed again with the upcycled strips in place. Or, you can attach the head using a staple gun, heavy-duty glue, or by sewing the mop head into place if there are holes/openings that you can pass a needle through.

Why Trust Treehugger?

To make this list, we selected mops that don't require single-use disposable components. We also looked for natural and durable materials. While researching mop materials for this article, we were unable to find any mop heads made with organic cotton.

Living off the grid, author Amber Nolan personally uses a Cuban mop for cleaning (with spare rags as a mop head) because it’s effective, eco-friendly, and cost efficient.