MYTHS OF MOPPING: Myth #1 – Mops Clean Floors
This persistent myth has most of America clinging to the medieval and ineffective mop, when more effective floor care methods are readily available. Here’s the thing – mops don’t really clean by any scientific standard. They aren’t even designed to remove unwanted matter. They spread, painting the floor with harsh chemicals that kill some bacteria but leave plenty of unwanted matter behind. In fact, according the American Society of Microbiology, a brand new microfiber mop removes only about 50 percent of surface bacteria. Then its effectiveness diminishes with each subsequent use.
Our Stop the Mop campaign started in September 2016. Since then, we have gotten a lot of comments that say something to the effect of, “I soak my mop in bleach, so it must be effective.” Unfortunately, the data debunks the belief that soaking mop heads in disinfectants removes dangerous contaminants. The following quote is from the March 2000 issue of The Pharmaceutical Journal.
“Mops can be a serious potential source of [floor] contamination…even when soaked in disinfectant overnight, contaminants could still be detected.”
If mops were effective at removing contaminants, public restrooms should be a shining case study for them, because public restroom floors are usually mopped. However, when Columbia University conducted testing for an ABC News Investigative Report in 2011, they found that the “germiest” place in a public restroom is the floor, with about two million bacteria per square inch.
Compare these data points on mops to the evaluation of the spray-and-vac cleaning method by Dr. Jay Glasel in Controlled Environments magazine. He found that, when used with water only, the spray-and-vac machine removed almost 90 percent of bacteria from the grout lines of tiled floors, and, when used with all-purpose cleaner, the spray-and-vac system was about 60 times more efficient than mopping in removing bacteria from the grout line.
It’s time to Stop the Mop and move on to scientifically validated methods of floor care.