The onboard mop that carries and directly dispenses cleaning chemicals onto floors would seem to have an advantage over the more traditional mop and bucket, being that its use is more convenient and less cumbersome. The traditional string mop can get very heavy and is ergonomically less desirable. However, the traditional mop and bucket is still the best for some cleaning tasks.

Choosing the right mopping system has become more complex as innovations have taken hold. Many options are available, so it’s not always easy to figure out what makes the most sense. In fact, some organizations may find they need both types, depending on the size and type of facility.

“For day-to-day use in places with a lot of foot traffic and smaller messes that frequently come up, we recommend our customers use the onboard mops that dispense cleaning liquid,” says Katie Smyth, chief operating officer at American Sanitary Supply, Evansville, Indiana. “But if you are in an industrial setting, in school hallways or in factories, you may want a traditional wet mop that can cover a large area.”

Onboard mops have gone through some changes since they appeared a few decades ago. A variety of factors have made them stand out from other challengers. Essentially, they are the preferred option for smaller cleanups and isolated incidents.

Convenience Is Key

“The primary advantage to the liquid onboard mopping system is portability. It’s always ready to use,” says John Lombardo, vice president of global sales and marketing, Unger Enterprises, LLC, Bridgeport, Connecticut. “The liquid onboard floor tools are always ready to address a smaller floor cleaning task and can get into tight areas or on stairs with ease.”

No one wants to drag out a mop and a bucket of water just to clean one corner of a room. Onboard mops make these quick tasks easy to do. Janitors have the ability to start working efficiently in one location and move freely to tackle multiple tasks. The liquid travels with the mop, so there is no reason to stop and wring out.

“In locations like classrooms or cafeterias, where open space may be limited, an onboard mop makes it easier for employees to navigate these challenges without having to drag a bucket through the maze of table and chair legs,” says Lombardo.

Smyth agrees that using traditional mops and buckets in cluttered spaces can mean missed productivity gains for BSCs. She adds that onboard options are also ideal for staircases.

“It’s time consuming cleaning a staircase with a traditional mop and bucket,” says Smyth. “There is a lot of wasted time going up and down stairs to the bucket and to rinse the mop.”

An added advantage to onboard mops is that BSCs and their frontline janitors can avoid the trauma and expense of work-related injuries by using this tool.

“There are different versions of the liquid onboard systems,” says Lombardo. “When deciding which one is best for them, end users need to ask themselves: How do you fill the liquid for the tool? How is the liquid dispensed? Does the mop have an ergonomic pole and is it a telescopic pole?”

The answers to these questions will dictate the benefits received. For example, if a mop has an ergonomic handle and is telescopic, it can be used by janitors with different needs. It will also be safer to use because the height is adjustable, so the worker can maintain better posture and avoid strain throughout the day.

When trying to figure out how the cleaning liquid is filled and dispensed, look for a mop that has a removable bottle to make filling and changing it between chemicals easy.

“Some mops may have liquid containers that are not removable, creating difficulty in filling them and creating extra work if it is necessary to change from one chemical to another,” says Lombardo.

These pioneering developments have steadily improved equipment ergonomics and job simplicity for janitors, eliminating the need for unwieldy conventional buckets. Yet not all the news about onboard mops is positive. These products are not well suited to cover large surface areas, says Smyth. While they technically can, the mop head likely would have to be changed several times during such a job.

Conventional mops have the advantage when it comes to cleaning very large areas – for now, at least. In addition to covering more ground, janitors won’t need to stop every 10 minutes or 800 square feet to replace cleaning pads.

Using a string mop and bucket certainly requires more preparation and clean-up time, but the time spent preparing the mop and bucket will be worth it if the janitor needs to clean an entire hotel ballroom, for example, versus a small spill.

Analyzing pros and cons of mopping options is important, but many BSCs still choose products based on price. Experts agree that this is short sighted and BSCs should consider the big picture before finalizing their decision.

Look at microfiber options, for example, for traditional mops or onboard options. Traditional mops do come with lighter microfiber heads and microfiber flat onboard mops might require the purchase of more pads. These options might cost more, but the ergonomic benefits to these lighter mopping tools could mean fewer work-related injuries and labor costs.


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Conventional And New Mops Can Coexist