During cleanup, after rinsing a mop thoroughly, janitors may need to comb the mop strands.

“It is always a good idea to shake out the mop so that strands are hanging freely to get good air flow through the strands,” says Bill Griffin, president of the Seattle-based Cleaning Consultant Services. “Otherwise, it will take longer to dry.”

Janitors can comb out/untangle the strands with their fingers, too.

Then, janitors can put the mop head in a garbage bag and tie it while it is still damp to retain the moisture.  

“Residual wax left in the fibers of the mop will harden upon drying; keeping the mop in a wet environment will prevent this from happening,” says Jill Frey, president of Cumming Facility Services located in Findlay, Ohio.  

However, this is a short-term storage solution, such as when transporting between job sites on the same shift. Mop heads shouldn’t be bagged for longer than 48 hours to prevent mildew or mold from forming, says Frey.

If there is a longer gap between uses, mop heads should be hung up, with strands hanging down, to dry.

It is important to hang the mop rather than laying it on the floor or toss it in a corner, says Griffin. If janitors do this, or leave it in a bucket or in a mop sink, the mop will stay wet, giving it more of a chance to grow bacteria and odors.

All of these steps, especially rinsing, is even more important when you’re using a mop to lay floor finish, because you don’t want the mop to get dry, brittle, or contaminated.

Hilary Daninhirsch is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.