The humble mop is a tool that we cannot live without and yet so often is misused by many well-meaning custodians.  Although most workers would not think of wearing the same shirt day after day after day, they will use a soiled mop to move dirt from one room to the next with little regard to the consequences.  Or worse than that, they will use a mop that has been contaminated with bleach, stripper or other harsh product to pick up a spill on a freshly coated floor resulting in damage that may require stripping to remedy.  Dirty mops all look the same.

Different type mops should be used for different functions and clearly identified:

• The traditional heavy cotton (junk) mop can be used for one time cleanup of fluids, spills, etc. that necessitate their disposal once the task is complete.  They can soak up large quantities and at relatively low cost can save the most expensive part of any custodial operation: labor.

• Blended mops (with stitched bottoms) can be used for “heavy jobs” that again need a lot of absorbency yet can be laundered many times (25- 50) before being tossed. 

• Microfiber flat mops can be used for low moisture cleaning of all types of floors and especially can be effective in cleaning ceramic/quarry tile with grout lines.  These mops are more expensive than junk mops but are far lighter and can be laundered hundreds of times when cleaned properly.

• Microfiber flat mops can also be used to wash walls (with correct handles) and have tremendous ergonomic benefits due to light weight and wide cleaning path.  Try using a junk mop to wash a wall and you will see what I mean.

• A caution for microfiber mops is that they should always be laundered separately from cotton or other fibers while avoiding bleach, fabric softener and high heat since these elements can damage the fibers and shorten their useful life.

Color coding can be achieved by purchasing different colored mops to identify the type work to be done or simply wrapping colored tapes around the handles that can keep a worker from making a costly mistake.  The usual color coding scheme with the tape is Red for rest rooms, Green for aseptic or meat rooms, Blue for common areas, Black for stripper and Brown for pick up.  Of course, you can use any color scheme you choose so long as you are consistent with its application.  

I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or