Top of the mops

11th of October 2021
Top of the mops
Top of the mops

Quick-changing mechanisms, spray handles, locking joints, colour-coded elements - what does a top-of-the-range mop look like? Ann Laffeaty asks manufacturers about the features and enhancements that can make a mop more productive, more ergonomic and higher performing.

A mop is a mop is a mop. Or is it? A traditional mop is a simple manual tool that glides along the floor, powered only by a cleaner. But today’s professional mops are becoming more sophisticated all the time.

Features such as magnetic locking systems, quick-release mechanisms, colour-coded elements and intelligent functions have started entering the mix as manufacturers battle to stay ahead of the competition. And such enhancements are turning the traditional mop into a much more complex tool.

So, what does a top-of-the-range mop look like these days?

The best mops are those that are safe, sustainable and fun to use, says Greenspeed’s Jay Smit. “They should also be ergonomic and provide good cleaning power,” he said. “And while there are several other desirable qualities in a top-of-the-range mop, if you don’t get these first two right it will be a no-go.”

Greenspeed’s Click’M C flat mop uses a magnetic system to lock the mop into place. Mop heads can be removed by pressing a button with the foot, avoiding the need for any bending or manual handling on the part of the cleaner. This is said to make the product easy to use.

Other good qualities of a mop

include colour-coding, an attractive appearance and a choice of mop head depending on the floor surface, says Smit. He adds that Greenspeed is constantly striving to produce top-of-the-range products that provide both health and environmental benefits.

“The mopping market is evolving with more sophisticated products continually coming on stream,” he said. “This is a trend we have seen over a period of years.

“People are becoming increasingly aware of the difference that a good, easy-to-use mopping system can make. And they are looking towards the total cost of ownership rather than focusing on the price of the mop itself. As a result, high quality mops that can be used more than 500 times are gaining in popularity.”

Ease of use is a key requirement in a top-notch mop, according to Kärcher’s manual tools product manager Kamila Dobler. “Training is not an option in many cases which means most operators will simply be handed a mop with the expectation that they will use it properly,” she said. “It is therefore important that mops are lightweight, easy to use and that they glide smoothly over the floor. And they should last a long time and provide a good cleaning performance.”

Kärcher uses endurance tests to assess the efficacy and performance of its mopping products, says Dobler. “We have also collected data on area coverage over different floors with the aim of offering a complete solution rather than simply selling a mop,” she said.

Intelligent functions

According to Dobler, the success of a mop depends on factors such as its frame, weight, no-touch properties, quick-release mechanisms and pre-impregnation system. “Sustainability is also key with customers increasing looking for eco-labelled, GPP-compliant mops made from sustainable materials and that reduce the amount of water and detergent required,” she said.

Intelligent functions designed to improve ease of use, save time and enhance operator comfort are key elements of today’s top mops, according to IPC Tools sales director Adriano Mariano.

“Manufacturing processes with a low environmental footprint plus the use of recycled raw materials are also important since these can provide companies with a major advantage when participating in public tenders,” he said.

“An innovative mechanism is another key feature of a top-of-the-range mop. And while productivity and performance are both very important, it is safety along with the wellbeing of operators that are now absolutely essential.”

Safety in mind

In response to these drivers IPC has introduced quick-release mechanisms, pre-impregnation systems and built-in nebulisers, he says. The company’s new SAFE-T frame is said to have been designed with safety and ergonomics in mind. It features a telescopic handle to reduce operator strain and a locking system that allows the operator to remain upright when inserting and removing the mop to the frame.

Covid-19 has prompted a change in customer requirements, according to Mariano. “Sectors such as hospitality, industry, healthcare, leisure, and transport have reviewed their cleaning protocols and are now incorporating a sanitisation phase to the process to reassure customers and the community,” he said.

Innovation, hygiene and health are all important elements of a top-of-the-range mop according to Filmop’s export area manager Paolo Scapinello. “A top-class mop should guarantee excellent cleaning results while respecting the health and safety of the operator,” he said. “And it should offer convenience, speed, ergonomics and attention to detail in its design.”

He claims there is currently a trend for technologically advanced equipment that is also easy to use. “There is definitely a greater interest in ergonomic mopping systems that provide effortless cleaning,” he said. “For this reason our priority is to design innovative systems with a simple and clear design.”

Filmop’s ErgoSwing is said to combine an improved performance with lower levels of strain and increased productivity. Features of Filmop mops include touch-free operation, an automatic fixing system and a locking function that allows walls and ceilings to be cleaned, says Scapinello. This can be switched on and off via a foot pedal to prevent the need for bending or touching the mop.

Like Mariano, he believes Covid-19 has changed the goalposts. “The health emergency has led to an increased demand for hygienic touch-free systems that reduce the risk of dangerous micro-organism transmission,” he said.

Ergonomic features that improve the user experience are crucial in a top-notch mop, according to Rubbermaid Commercial Products’ head of marketing Paul Jakeaway. “The visibility of cleaning solutions has become more important in the wake of the global pandemic, which means that fast and effective solutions are needed,” he said. “Speed, visibility, and efficacy are all important – as is innovative equipment that is easy to use.”

Next level

Claimed to make cleaning both faster and stress-free, the company’s HYGEN PULSE Microfibre Mop has an onboard reservoir and solution system with a targeted spray function. The mop is said to feature a lightweight design and non-slip handle-tip to ease cleaning. Also from RCP are HYGEN Disposable Microfibre Mop Pads which are colour-coded to prevent cross-contamination and can be used for either dusting or mopping.

Spray handles, microfibre pads and interchangeable pads are all examples of features that will elevate a mop to the next level, says Robert Scott’s sales director Alastair Scott. As an example he cites the company’s Pro-mist system which includes a removable bottle and spray trigger that delivers a fine mist of solution on to the cleaning surface. “This allows users to clean and dry floors more quickly,” he said.

The mop has a lightweight frame to reduce operator strain plus a built-in release system to avoid any contact with soiled mop pads.

According to Scott, demand for quick-drying systems for spot cleaning tasks is increasing. “These ensure that facilities can be cleaned efficiently during busier periods while reducing the risk of slips and falls from residual moisture,” he said.

Preference for microfibre

The market is becoming more sophisticated, he believes – but only up to a point. “Customers ultimately want quality products that are effective at doing the job for which they are intended,” he said. “We’ve seen a shift in preference to materials such as microfibre, but there will always be a need for simple, manual mopping systems that can clean cost-effectively.”

So, each manufacturer has their own ideas about the elements that make a top mop today. But what will be “top of the mops” in the future?

Sustainability and the perception of cleanliness will shape the future of mopping, predicts IPC’s Adriano Mariano. “With increased cleaning frequencies in public areas due to Covid-19, the use of disposable mops will grow in a bid to reduce the risks of cross-contamination,” he said.

Kärcher’s Kamila Dobler agrees that issues such as health, safety and sustainability will become key industry drivers along with efficiency. “When we enter a public building, school or aircraft in future we will be focusing on touching as few surfaces as possible and checking the cleanliness of the environment,” she said. “And since floors are highly visible, mops will continue to play an important role.”

Fimop’s Paolo Scapinello concurs that demand for sustainable solutions will increase. “There is also a growing awareness of efficiency as customers seek systems that ensure savings in term of energy, time and costs while also offering a high performance,” he said. “However during the sanitary emergency it has become crucial to clean and disinfect environments using strict protocols and with the aid of hygienic systems designed to contain the risk level. So, hygiene and safety will continue to be priorities post-Covid-19.”

Customer requirements

Robert Scott’s Alastair Scott claims three major trends have emerged from the pandemic – infection control, cleaning visibility and an increased focus on sustainability. “Around 68 per cent of the customers we surveyed noted an increase in orders for disposable cleaning products in 2020,” he said. “However we are now seeing sustainability return to the fore, driven by customer demand for better practices along with products that reduce environmental impact.”

But Greenspeed’s Jay Smit believes the recent high demand for disinfection systems will decrease in the long term. “You can already see this happening: if something is not immediately necessary, it quickly becomes ignored,” he said. “However, value for money is becoming increasingly important and sustainability is becoming an integral part of the purchasing decision. So in my opinion it will be products that are safe, sustainable and of a high quality that will be the future.”


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