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DB Blog #63 – Mop vs Machine

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Mop or machine?  That is the question.

Before cleaning machines became widespread, a mop and bucket was the ‘go to’ piece of equipment for most floor cleaning tasks.  However, nowadays there are so many hard and carpet floor cleaning machines available that more and more customers understandably are moving across to the financial commitment of a machine.

Suppliers of mops and buckets would argue that mops are smaller and more controllable plus they are quiet and require limited training as well as being quick and easy to set up for cleaning spillages as well as being much less expensive.  To be fair, there is also an increasing variety of types to choose from aside from the humble mop and bucket, ranging from micro-fibre gliding cloths and mop heads as well as buckets fitted with all sorts of different wringing mechanisms.  

So, here’s my take on the mop vs the cleaning machine….

The cleaning machine

  • Cost considerations – The mop may be cheaper to buy on the outset but is it really an economical solution for you?  Labour is the largest part of the cleaning budget and the time it may take a cleaner to mop clean a floor may well be less economical than the time it would take for a machine to complete it.  Mopping is quite often more labour intensive, particularly on larger areas.  The machine may be a sizeable outlay but over time the cost will outweigh the time and money you save in labour.  A definite consideration!
  • Hygienic solutions – A mopping solution can be extremely effective and hygienic if used and cleaned correctly after each use.  Sadly over the years, we have seen many mops being used time and time again where the same dirty water is being swilled about over the floor, from one room to another.  Remember, if mop heads are not regularly changed or cleaned before each use, whatever germ is picked up in the mop fibres will be transferred to the next floor.  The difference is most floor cleaning machines have inbuilt dirty and clean water tanks – never the twain shall meet.
  • Hazards – We all know that wet floors, left wet can create slip hazards.  “Slips and trips are the most common cause of major injuries at work.  They occur in almost all workplaces and 95% of major slips result in broken bones.  Slips and trip injuries cost employers over £500m per year.”  (  I think it’s fair to say that machines tend to leave a floor dryer than most standard mopping solutions so not only is it dryer it could probably save you on your insurance claims.
  • Floor cleaning area cleaning machines prove their worth when used in large or frequently dirty areas (high traffic areas or washrooms etc).  It’s far easier and quicker for a machine to work a large area or an area that requires deeper cleaning than it is for a cleaner to do.  Back to the time and effort, labour cost argument.

The mop and bucket

  • Infection ControlA mop and bucket solution when used and cleaned or discarded correctly and efficiently can be the most suitable and appropriate solution for infection prevention.  I’ve used many a mop and bucket in my day and seen great results afterwards.  If you use a colour coded system for your cleaning materials (mops, buckets, cloths etc.) for different areas then infection control could be a relatively cheap and achievable.  Obviously it would need to be monitored carefully, for example if red is allocated for washrooms and green is for kitchen or food areas, they must never get mixed up! 
  • Set up time – Definitely a quick an easy set up piece of kit for any spillage.
  • Floor cleaning area – If a cleaner is only given a small area to clean, the cost of a machine is more than likely not worthwhile, so that’s where the mop and bucket comes back into its own.


So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a place for both machine and mop in today’s cleaning.  Obviously what to use is all very much dependent upon what type and size of floor needs to be cleaned.  Hey, but don’t forget we at CJS Portsmouth are here to help you along the way.  We have lots of knowledge and expertise about floor cleaning and always try to understand what you need before recommending anything – sometimes the cheaper option works but then again sometimes it’s worth biting the bullet and making that machinery investment; we can help you make that judgement.  

Anyway, if you want any help, just give us a call.  

Yours, DB