BOSHENG Mop and Bucket with Wringer Set
Credit: amazon.com

The Best Mops for Your Home, According to Hours of Real-Life Testing

These mops quickly cleaned up dried-on barbecue sauce, juice, and more.
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Mopping—it's probably not your favorite chore, but it is one of the most important, especially if you have kids or pets at home. Owning the right mop to get the job done will help make cleaning go a little faster and keep you from damaging your floor in the process.

Picking the best mop for you depends on what type of floor you're cleaning, how much time and money you're willing to spend keeping your mop clean, and what kind of messes you'll be cleaning up the most. We spoke to Kathy Cohoon, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop, who also noted one big concern when looking for mops: "Be mindful of mops with plastic scrubbing nubs. These are ideal for scrubbing grout or loosening dirt on more rugged stone floors but can scratch hardwood and other more delicate floors if not used properly."

We tested 15 mops over 16 hours, cleaning up spilled spices, dried barbecue sauce, and dried juice to see which mops were the best at cleaning up messes. We also rated them on how easy they were to set up and to clean so we understood how long the entire process of cleaning your home might take. After looking at the results, we think the Bosheng Mop and Bucket With Wringer Set is the best mop for most households.

Here are the best mops, based on our testing. 

Our Top Picks

Best Flat Mop: Bosheng Mop and Bucket With Wringer Set

View at Amazon ($45)

Who it's for: People who have moisture-sensitive flooring, like laminate or vinyl, and people living in homes with a lot of dry debris, like pet hair and dust.
Who it isn't for: Chore-doers who mop a lot of space at once. This pick has a relatively small bucket that needs to be refilled every now and then during larger jobs.

Most flat mops require you to spray cleaning liquid directly on the floor or have their own mounted cleaning fluid that can be dispensed with the push of a button, which can slow you down and get expensive. This pick actually comes with an innovative bucket design that lets you dunk your mop head in water on one side, then use the other side to squeegee the excess water off. It's important to note that there's no "clean" water side or "dirty" side—the squeegeed water goes into the same reservoir you dunk the mop in, just like with a regular mop bucket. 

This tester-favorite mop set scored a 5 out of 5 for the design, which makes wringing excess water out of the mop easy. This feature is particularly important if you're mopping laminate, unsealed wood floors, or vinyl, all of which can be damaged if too much liquid from mopping seeps under the floorboards. 

Our testers did take off one point from the portability score because when the water bucket is full, it can be kind of unwieldy to carry around from room to room. Testers also mentioned that, once your cleaning session is over, actually cleaning the bucket out and pulling off the mop pad does take some time—and you'll want to make sure you have a set of gloves handy to wring out the mop head before you toss it in the washer for a deep clean. 

Initial setup with this mop was another factor that mildly frustrated testers, since the instructions for assembly are on the vague side—for set up, our tester scored this pick just 3 out of 5. Considering how much we liked the experience of cleaning with this mop, a few minutes of assembly seems like a good trade off. 

This mop is easy to store, too. The slim bucket acts as the mop's stand between cleanings. It's small enough to tuck into the corner of a utility closet or mudroom, or even next to the toilet in a smaller home. 

Product Details: 
Weight (bucket empty): 3.89 pounds
Handle length: 48.6 inches
Mop type: Flat

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Best for Hardwood Floors: Bona Hardwood Floor Premium Spray Mop

View at Target ($34)

Who it's for: People looking for a deep cleaning tool for large spaces that can handle wet and dry messes equally well.
Who it isn't for: People who are looking for a low-maintenance option that won't require much upkeep.

Our testers highlighted two features on this O-Cedar mop that make it a stand out in the mop category. One is the pedal-style spin feature on the bucket, which wrings out the mop between rinses to make sure you're not soaking your floors with mop water that will take forever to dry. The spinning came in handy for soaking up liquid from the floor in general, so if you have a toddler who spills beverages a lot or your household is tracking in a lot of rain and snow, you'll appreciate that this mop can soak up a spill, get spun around to dry out, and then go back for a second pass at the floor in no time. 

The other feature that earned a lot of admiration was the mop head's triangular shape, which testers felt made for a more targeted cleaning experience. Our testers found that it was great for getting around corners and into smaller nooks, allowing for a more thorough cleaning. 

The microfiber strands of this mop handled both wet and dry messes flawlessly, earning perfect scores when mopping up spilled juice and getting dry paprika spills from tile flooring. Testers also appreciated the illustrated instructions, which made it simple and quick to get the mop set up for the first time. The mop head is machine washable, so it's easy to keep clean between mopping sessions, although more below on why our testers did feel it was difficult to clean up directly after mopping.

However, this mop does have a few downsides. The biggest problem, according to our tester, is that the mop head itself is particularly prone to getting grit and dirt deeply embedded in its strands. The tester eventually felt the need to pick them out by hand, since they were large enough that they might have stayed embedded after a machine wash. That extra plucking took time and energy at the end of a cleaning session, docking the "ease of cleaning" score to a 3.5 out of 5. Testers also commented that although the mop set was light and easy to move around, it didn't feel as durable as they would have liked. 

Product Details: 
Weight (bucket empty): 5.84 pounds
Handle length: 48 inches
Mop type: String

Best Disposable: Swiffer Sweeper Dry + Wet Cleaner Starter Kit

View at Bed Bath and Beyond ($13)

Who it's for: People who prioritize convenience and need to clean a small area of flooring. 
Who it's not for: People who need to clean multiple large rooms in one cleaning session. 

If you're looking for absolutely minimal setup and maintenance, this 2-in-1 from Swiffer will get dry mopping and wet mopping tasks done quickly and is a good pick for those who don't want to worry about washing the mop head properly between cleanings. Once you're finished, you just remove the pad and toss it in the trash. 

When it comes to cleanings, this mop scored a solid 4 out of 5 on both wet and dry messes. Our testers found that the Swiffer is best for lighter messes and may require a couple of swipes to get dirt and food spills out of grout. So while you may not reach for this particular mop if you find yourself doing a lot of heavy-duty cleaning or for the occasional big mess, it is good for performing day-to-day maintenance on your floors. 

The Swiffer impressed our testers most when testing the maneuverability of the mop, which can get into tight corners with precision. Longer-term at-home testing has found this feature useful for cleaning under kitchen cabinets and in the tight space between the toilet and the wall. Testers also liked the quick clean up—tossing a used pad in the trash is fast and doesn't require rinsing, cleaning, and storing a bucket, either. 

Of course, the convenience also comes with certain downsides. The pre-soaked pads are great for smaller cleaning jobs, but they start out very wet and can dry out after a relatively small amount of use. That makes this mop better for homes with a limited amount of flooring that needs to be mopped—bathrooms, small kitchens, and entryways. For rooms with larger square footage, you may need to use two or more pads, which can get expensive over time. 

Product Details: 
Weight: 5.84 pounds
Handle length: 46 inches
Mop type: Flat

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More Mops to Consider

OXO Good Grips Butterfly Mop: Our testers loved the effectiveness of this sponge mop when wet mopping but found that it wasn't as maneuverable or capable of getting into corners as other options. It also did a poor job with dry messes.

Rubbermaid Self-Wringing Ratchet Twist Mop with Blended Yarn Head: This more traditional string mop has great scrubbing power and doesn't absorb too much excess water, but testers felt it took a few too many passes to clean up tough, dried-on spills.

Final Verdict

After thorough testing, we think the Bosheng Mop and Bucket With Wringer Set is the best flat mop, since the mop's flat microfiber pad is effective at scrubbing floor and its design means you won't need much room for storage between cleaning days. For larger homes with lots of hard floors to mop, we recommend our pick for the best string mop instead, the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop and Bucket System.

How to Shop for a Mop

Types

When you picture a mop, what first comes to mind is probably a string mop, which uses individual strands to spread cleaning solution across the floor and gently dislodge spills and grime. However, string mops aren't always great for getting into tight corners, and they don't control the amount of liquid that gets transferred to the floor as well as some other types. Some modern versions of string mops, like our pick, have shorter strands coming off of a larger head to solve those issues.

A flat mop uses a pad (disposable or microfiber, usually) to attract dust and dirt or to gently scrub your floors. Many can be used wet or dry, making them a versatile choice if you have limited space for cleaning tools or don't have a large area you'll need to keep clean. They often require you to have a separate spray bottle for misting the floor, which can be tedious if you have large sections of floor to clean, but some—including the ones on this list—do come with buckets or pre-moistened pads.

Sponge mops are just that—sponges! They need to be wrung out like string mops but make targeted cleaning somewhat easier. "Great for scrubbing and super absorbent, these mops are great for those with small kids or pets looking for quick cleanings," said Kathy Cohoon, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop. "The sponge typically has ridges and texture to help pick up stubborn grime."

Cleaning

Some mops have removable heads that can be thrown in the washing machine, others have disposable pads that can be swapped out for every cleaning, and some require handwashing. Whichever option you choose, make sure at minimum you're rinsing your mop head with plenty of clean water after cleaning and letting it dry completely between washing to prevent bacteria or mold build up between cleanings. 

Accessories

Do you need to buy a special spray to go with your flat mop? Does your mop come with a bucket or will you need to buy one separately? How often should you replace your mop head, and how expensive are the replacements? The answers to some of these questions may or may not be deal-breakers, depending on your cleaning needs, so think about what you need out of your mop and what you're willing to compromise on before you shop.

Questions You Might Ask

How do you clean a mop?

Yes, once you've cleaned your floors, you need to clean your mop, too. According to Cohoon, you should be washing yours after every cleaning session. "If possible, make sure to remove your mophead and toss into the washer or do a quick bleach rinse after each use to ensure that it is fully sanitized," Coohoon said. "Once a month, soak the mophead in hot water and a small amount of bleach or another sanitizing agent and allow it to air dry." 

How do I mop my floors? 

Mopping your floors incorrectly can actually do more harm than good. Some floors are very moisture sensitive and require a lot of control over the amount of liquid you introduce while mopping. When it comes to cleaning most floors, including sealed hardwood, laminate, linoleum, vinyl, and tile flooring, you can generally use a damp mop of any type. Make sure whatever mop you're using can be wrung out enough so that the area you're mopping can quickly dry.

Waxed wood floors should only be dry mopped to prevent water from damaging the wood. Stick with a dry microfiber cloth or a vacuum with no brushroll to clean up dirt and dust.

What should I use to mop my floors? 

While you can use a specific floor cleaner if you'd like, we're fans of a simple mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and water to get your floor clean. This mixture is fine for most floors, but note that vinegar can cause natural stone to degrade over time, so don't use this solution on marble or stone tile floors. 

Our Testing Process

No matter what, you'll want to find a mop that's going to be easy to use, can grab wet and dry messes, and can be cleaned between uses. We tested 15 popular mops over two days, mopping up dried on barbecue sauce, damp potting soil, and dry paprika to see how they performed on a variety of messes. We also rated how easy they were to set up, whether they were convenient to clean and store, and how they maneuvered into tight corners. After considering all of those factors, three picks stood out as the best mops for most homes. 

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Kate Geraghty, an editorial director for home commerce content who has been covering home content for over two years at Dotdash Meredith. In order to create this list, we tested 15 mops over two days in our product testing lab. We also spoke to Kathy Cohoon, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop for her advice on how to choose the right mop for your home—and how to use it correctly.