With the introduction of disposable synthetic blend mops, jan/san distributors say education on their lifespan and when to use and discontinue use is extremely important, especially since customers are more likely to bypass cotton mops and go for the cheapest up-front cost option available on the market. However, distributors say uninformed customers don’t necessarily realize that these mops cannot be laundered and should be discarded after they get soiled or they lose their cleaning effectiveness.

“Customers are going with the cheaper alternative every time,” says Eric Cadell, vice president of operations for Dutch Hollow Janitorial Supplies Inc., in Belleville, Ill. “But they don’t hear the part of the pitch that says if you don’t pitch that thing in three days, you’re going to start infesting your school rather than disinfecting your school.”

Often, distributors say customers are purchasing the lower-priced blend alternatives and are using the mops like they would a traditional cotton mop. Doing so is incorrect, says Corr. They will just be cleaning with a dirtier mop longer.

Larry Fagan, CEO of Fagan Sanitary Supply, in West Elizabeth, Pa., says in order to help customers better understand the value of cotton vs. the disposable synthetic blended mops, distributors should do extensive walk-throughs with customers at their facilities. That way, he says, they can have a better understanding of what type of mop is appropriate for the application.

“Do a walk-through with the person running the building and determine what it is they need in that particular facility,” says Fagan. “That’s the best starting point.”

Still A Place For Old Reliable

Although disposable synthetic blend mops have begun to cement their place in the market, distributors recommend that end users should take a hard look at the long-term savings instead of the up-front price tag when purchasing low-cost alternatives over traditional cotton mops.

Distributors say facilities may frown over the price of cotton, but with synthetic blends, end users are buying double the amount of mops needed vs. solely sticking with cotton or using a combination of both cotton and synthetic disposable mops.

For example, a school may purchase three disposable mops in a week vs. purchasing two cotton mops that they can swap out and launder. Although the cotton mop may cost more up front, the facility will have to purchase more of the disposable mops, essentially dropping more of their budget on these mops in the long run.

End users may save money on each individual purchase, but unfortunately, they are doubling their purchase.

In an industry where microfiber reigns supreme, cotton mops often get a bad rap. But distributors say end users shouldn’t be so quick to turn their back on the old reliable cotton mop. In fact, using cotton still has its benefits over the synthetic disposable blends.

“Most of our customers are still staying with cotton,” says Cadell. “Today’s disposable mops’ lifespan is so much shorter than cotton. Every one of these synthetic mops that are out there, they’re used and then disposed of. They are complete throwaways. Maybe you’re going to get a week out of them, and they’ll be so nasty and you can’t launder them. At least with cotton you’re going to get a little bit of time out of them before you can launder them.”

A cotton mop can typically last for 15 to 30 washings before it is time to be replaced, a significant savings over going through a half dozen or so of the throwaway mops vs. one cotton mop.

In the end, distributors say offering customers both cotton and synthetic disposable mops is a way to help customers stretch the most out of their floor-care cleaning budget.