The Magnificent Mop, the chief advantages of mopping systems

Thursday, 18 August 2022
 
By Alastair Scott, Sales Director at Robert Scott, the UK’s largest manufacturer of manual mops and mopping systems, for the European Cleaning Journal.
 
  • What are the main advantages of traditional mopping systems (e.g., versatility, convenience, ease of operation, no training required etc.)?
Traditional mopping systems have many advantages. Aside from being a versatile and convenient solution for every day and quick response cleaning, they are also easy to operate using the basic training principles of standard cleaning practices.

Traditional mopping systems also offer the benefit of lower capital expenditure up front, as well as reducing ongoing costs – which is an important consideration for businesses dealing with rising material and labour costs. Most traditional mop systems require little to no down time so can be used repeatedly either by replacing the mop head or microfibre pad to optimise cleanliness and hygiene for the areas being cleaned throughout the day.

  • Is the fact that mops require no power source a major benefit in today’s environmentally aware world?
The fact that manual mop systems don’t require a power source is a huge benefit for businesses looking to enhance sustainability, and again contributes to lowering costs when energy prices are at a record high. It also contributes to the ease of use and versatility of these products as the user is able to move around freely while cleaning.
Another key environmental benefit when you consider modern flat mop systems that use microfibre pads is that they require far less water to clean. The pads can be pre-soaked in cleaning solution which reduces the requirement to change mop bucket water between areas to reduce cross-contamination. You simply replace the mop pad with a clean, pre-soaked, pad each time.

  • Are mops particularly good for on-the-spot applications and for quick clean-ups? What problems might arise if a machine had to be deployed to clean up a minor spill?
Traditional mops are light, easier, and simpler to use and move around than machines so they’re ideal for on-the-spot applications and quick response cleaning. If you’re using a machine system and have environments that include stairs, different floor surfaces, furniture and other obstacles to navigate during cleaning, manual mops make even more sense.

  • In what types of situation is a mop the best option? What are the disadvantages of mops, if any (require strenuous manual effort; they might leave the floor damp; they could result in dirty water being spread around the floor surface, etc.)
The versatility of the manual mop makes it a great option in so many situations – from cleaning small to large areas, quick response cleaning when you need to tackle a slip hazard or spot cleaning, or when there’s obstacles to navigate. Even in large, flat empty spaces where the cleaning is repetitive and constant and machines can take over, the mop still provides a vital supporting role for these reasons.

The disadvantages with a traditional mop system are most likely to stem from using the wrong product for the task, or a lack of user training and preparation of the area being cleaned. For example, using a mop that’s too wet means areas will take longer to dry, or if the end user doesn’t follow basic cleaning principles of cleaning from the furthest area to the nearest to avoid stepping on mopped areas, or starting with the cleanest area and moving to the dirtiest, they risk contaminating rather than actually cleaning a specific area.  

  • How can these issues be addressed and rectified with the aid of modern mopping equipment?
The manufacture of mops here in the UK by Robert Scott, is constantly monitored for weight, yarn and production quality – that’s the first stage of making sure the cleaner has the best possibly mop for the task at hand.

Simple considerations such as access to water for refilling and laundry facilities for cleaning mops should all be recorded as part of a cleaning audit. This will help determine whether a disposable, semi-disposable or reusable cleaning regime is required and will therefore allow you to choose the most appropriate system.

There’s also a lot of innovation happening in the manual mop category to optimise product performance for end users. A few examples from our own ranges include the Biofresh mop which inhibits the growth of bacteria and odours within the mop, stay-flat bands which help increase the contact between the mop and the floor, and scratch-back bands which provide an abrasive surface for removing dirt while mopping. There’s also the Exel socket which fixes the mop to the handle much more securely than screw fittings, making the mop much more robust, through to microfibre yarn and flat mops which are washable and reusable, super absorbent and lift dirt very effectively without the need for chemicals.

  • Do you think mops will make a resurgence in today’s new climate where costs need to be controlled? Or do you think mops will continue to be used alongside machines in congested areas and for quick clean-ups?
We certainly foresee a growth in robotics and these gradually replacing manual jobs – something that’s happening across such a wide range of applications like the simple task of vacuuming, though to more sophisticated robot assistants for the elderly, for example.

However, with the sheer variety of environments that require cleaning every day, and the comparatively low cost of manual mopping systems versus machine systems – which offer less versatility – we believe that manual mops will certainly be with us for many years to come.

The subject of sustainability will also remain at the top of business agendas and is where manufacturers can deliver sustainable gains in manual mop systems. For example, most of Robert Scott’s mops are now made from 100% recycled fabric sourced from waste textiles that we manufacture into CHSA accredited mops in the North West of England. We’ve also developed a patented Refill mop comprising a reusable plastic socket and clip, along with a replaceable mop refill. When the mop reaches end-of-life, the user can recycle the fabric refill and reuse the plastic socket. These simple, sustainable innovations have in turn led to a re-appraisal of their value, despite these ‘traditional’ mops having been around for such a long time.

What we’re likely to see in future is even more balance between the two systems where machines are used for large, flat areas, and manual systems are used for spot cleaning, quick response, and more specific tasks.