Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

While we at Serious Eats clearly love cooking, there’s a dark underside to that love: A messy kitchen. Because while we find a meditative rhythm in stirring a pot of tomato sauce, peeling potatoes, or supreming an orange, there are inevitably splatter, specks, and smears that make their way onto the floor. Not to mention the unthinkable—dropping a platter or plate, its contents broken and scattered across the tile (while there’s no use crying over spilled milk, we have shed tears on such occasions). But, while dirty floors are inevitable, a good mop helps mitigate the entropy.

We spent four days testing eight mops—both wet and spray models—to find options that could clean up even the stickiest, messiest of spills—and do it fast. 

The Winners, at a Glance

This fluffy wet mop soaked up coffee and scrubbed up sticky barbecue sauce quickly and with ease, and the mop head was a cinch to remove and clean. The accompanying bucket wringer system was also quite effective, squeezing out 74% percent of the absorbed water.

This mop sopped up messes quickly—even sticky, dried barbecue sauce. And while the bucket wringing mechanism wasn’t quite as effective or durable-seeming as our favorite wet mop, it still did a decent job. 

While we wouldn’t recommend this mop for cleaning up large, messy spills, it did a great job of cleaning up sticky residues and minor stains. It was also easy to refill the squirt bottle, and the mop liner was secured with velcro, making it super easy to remove and replace. 

Like the Bona, this mop smeared barbecue sauce more than it soaked it up, but it performed well cleaning up stains and residue, and the slide-out scrubber proved quite useful in scouring tough-to-clean spots. The squirt bottle was also easy to refill, and the mop was nimble to maneuver.

The Tests

Serious Eats / Grace KellyAbsorption Test: We weighed the dry mop heads before soaking them for 15 minutes in a bucket of water and weighing them again. Then, we wrung them out and weighed them once more to see how much water the wringer removed. Coffee Test: We poured 1/4 cup of cold coffee onto the floor and then used each mop to sop it up. Barbecue Sauce Test: We poured two tablespoons of barbecue sauce onto the floor, smeared it around with a spoon, and let it dry for 15 minutes. Then, we used the mops to clean up the sauce as well as any sticky residue. Usability Tests: We evaluated how easy the mops were to assemble and disassemble, and how easy/comfortable they were to use. We also noted if they had trouble cleaning corners and other tough-to-scrub areas. 

What We Learned

Wet Mops Were the Most Versatile

Wet mops could not only clean, but soaked up messes quickly.Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Wet mops, spray mops, spin mops…who knew there were so many different types of mops? While we tested an array of offerings, time and time again the most versatile proved to be the wet mops. To use them, soak the mop in a mixture of water and floor cleaner, wring it out, then scrub the floor, and repeat as needed. When it came to bigger, stickier messes (like partially dried barbecue sauce), wet mops like our winner, the O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop, soaked everything up quickly, sans smearing. Once the big mess was sopped up, you could rinse the mop in the bucket, wring, and wipe up any residual gunk. 

While we liked spray mops for removing any residual stickiness or helping scrub out stains, they weren’t as adept at sopping up coffee or barbecue sauce—instead, they often ended up smearing it around. We also tested the Swiffer 2-in-1 mop, which was neither a spray mop nor a wet mop. Instead, it relied on adhering very, very moist mop pads (they dripped everywhere) or dry dust pads to clean, which we thought was rather wasteful and expensive.  

Good Spray Mops Should Be Easy to Use—and Effective

While spray mops were not as effective as wet mops at cleaning up larger messes, good ones could dispel of sticky residue and buff out stains. While none of the spray mops we tested were downright terrible, the O-Cedar ProMist MAX Microfiber Spray Mop wasn’t as easy to set up and use as the Bona and OXO, and the refill bottle leaked every time we attached it. We quite liked the scrubber feature on the OXO, which allowed us to even get out some stubborn paint stains on our kitchen floors (don’t impulsively paint your kitchen without a drop cloth, folks), and the Bona was just such a pleasure to use: the spray action was smooth, the mop handle was sturdy, and it quickly and effectively got sticky barbecue residue off the floor. 

An Effective Wringer Was Essential 

A good wringer made all the difference, as did a bad one, like the Rubbermaid mop pictured here.Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

A wet mop requires an effective wringer or else you’ll end up with a sopping wet floor and puddles everywhere. However, trying to find a good wringer, well, it put us through the wringer. The Rubbermaid MICROFIBER TWIST MOP was the worst—we fumbled to try to keep the mop stretched out so we could twist it, but it kept sliding down the handle. We only squeezed a mere 43% of the water out, the lowest amount of the mops tested (and it was downright difficult to even get that much out of it). In contrast, the built-in bucket wringer in the O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop made wringing near joyful: just place the mop in the wringer bucket and pump the peddle with your foot. This spins the mop around, flinging the water out, and it was surprisingly effective; we were able to wick out 73% of the water absorbed.

More Absorbent Mops Cleaned Messes Fast 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

It might seem intuitive, but the plusher and more absorbent the mop was, the faster it soaked up messes. The O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop and O-Cedar QuickWring Bucket & Microfiber Cloth Mop System both sported soft, plush microfiber mop heads, which soaked up spilled coffee almost instantaneously. Stiffer mop heads like the Libman Wonder Mop, which featured almost plasticky microfiber strands, struggled to quickly absorb liquids. The Libman’s stiff strands also spread out the barbecue sauce rather than sucking it up.

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Mop 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

When looking for a wet mop, we recommend getting one that is more absorbent and plush, and that comes with a wringing bucket of some sort (ideally a spinning bucket, which wicked the most water out in our tests). We also liked mop heads that were easy to remove and cleaned up nicely. In terms of spray mops, look for solidly built options that won’t leak fluid and that are nimble and can quickly clean a floor of any sticky residue. 

The Best Mops

What we liked: This mop soaked up sludgy barbecue sauce and runny coffee spills rapidly, and the built-in spinner wringer in the bucket made quick, efficient work of wringing (it wrung out the highest percentage of water of all the mops tested). The mop heads were easy to attach and remove (just click them on and pull them off) and when washed and dried, they looked like new. Plus, the mop comes with two additional mop heads, which was a nice perk. 

What we didn’t like: When we wrung out the mop, which requires you to pump the spinner with your foot, the bucket did jump around a little bit, increasing the likelihood of sloshing. It’s also a bit expensive. 

Price at time of publish: $50.

Key Specs

Style: Wet mopMop head dry weight: 112 gramsMop head wet weight: 1397 gramsWater absorption percentage: 92%Percentage of water wrung out: 73%Handle length: 4 feetMop head material: MicrofiberAntibacterial mop head: Yes Cleaning: Machine-washable mop headWhat’s included: 3 mop heads, bucket with wringer 

What we liked: The plush microfiber mop strands sopped up messes quickly and sucked up a huge amount of water in our absorption test (92% of the wet mop weight was water). The wringing bucket system was easy to use, too—just stick the mop head in the wringer and push down; the swirled wringer squeezes the strands fairly dry.

What we didn’t like: The floppy nature of the mop head made it a little more difficult to get into corners, and the wringer, while fairly effective, felt like it could break if you pressed too hard. 

Price at time of publish: $25.

Key Specs

Style: Wet mopMop head dry weight: 195 gramsMop head wet weight: 1188 gramsWater absorption percentage: 84%Percentage of water wrung out: 54%Handle length: 4 feetMop head material: MicrofiberAntibacterial mop head: Yes Cleaning: Machine washable up to 100 washesWhat’s included: 2 mop heads, 2.5-gallon bucket with wringerSerious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: While this is called a “hardwood floor” mop, we found it performed admirably on our linoleum kitchen floors, too. It was easy to assemble and sprayed in a nice wide, even fan shape. The machine-washable mop pads were easy to stick on and remove, and they were able to get sticky residue off the floor. 

What we didn’t like: This isn’t the best scrubber and won’t soak up larger spills as well as a wet mop. It’s best for cleaning the surface of the floor or wiping up sticky residue. It’s also a bit pricey. 

Price at time of publish: $42.

Key Specs

Style: Spray mopHandle length: 49 inches Mop head material: MicrofiberAntibacterial mop head: NACleaning: Machine washable up to 500 washesWhat’s included: One empty refillable cartridge, 34-ounce Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Refill, and microfiber cleaning padSerious Eats / Grace Kelly

What we liked: This mop was easy to assemble and maneuver, with a smaller mop head that made it easy to get into corners. While it pushed around larger spills, it cleaned the floor right up of sticky residue. And the slide-out scrubber was super useful, removing stubborn stains from our kitchen floors. 

What we didn’t like: Since it’s a spray mop, it’s not as effective as a wet mop at sopping up larger spills, and its $40 price tag is a little steep. 

Price at time of publish: $40. 

Key Specs

Style: Spray mopHandle length: 53 inchesMop head material: MicrofiberAntibacterial mop head: NACleaning: Machine washableWhat’s included: One empty refillable cartridge, microfiber cleaning padSerious Eats / Grace Kelly

The Competition

Rubbermaid Microfiber Twist Mop: This mop was a pain to wring out—the mop head kept sliding down and flopping to the floor. It was also difficult to reattach the head after cleaning, and the microfiber strands tangled up after our first use. O-Cedar ProMist MAX Microfiber Spray Mop: We had trouble assembling this spray mop and when we did get it together, whenever we pulled the trigger to spray, the entire bottom half of the mop fell off. The cleaner squirt bottle also leaked. Swiffer Sweeper 2-in-1 Mops: This is a decent mop for cleaning your floors after vacuuming, but it’s not really meant to sop up messes. Plus, the disposable mop and dry pads seem wasteful, and the cost of buying new ones adds up—it’s about $17 for a set of 36 mop padsLibman Wonder Mop: While this wasn’t a terrible mop, the stiffer microfiber strands weren’t as absorbent as our winners’, smearing coffee and barbecue sauce before sopping it up. The wringer, while fairly effective, was tough on the wrists. 


Which type of mop is best?

We found wet mops to be the most versatile in terms of sopping up messes and giving floors a nice, clean sheen. That said, spray mops are a good option if you have a small kitchen or want to give your floor a quick wipe at the end of the day. 

What kind of mop is best for tile floors?

It really depends on what kind of mess you’re trying to clean. A wet mop is great for soaking up spills, while a spray mop is best at giving the floor a quick wipe. We liked the OXO Good Grips Microfiber Spray Mop with Slide-Out Scrubber for cleaning our tile floors since it has a built-in scrubber good for scouring grout. 

Why We’re the Experts

Grace Kelly is the associate commerce editor at Serious Eats. She previously tested gear for America’s Test Kitchen and has written many equipment reviews for Serious Eats, including grill tongs and tortilla presses.She’s worked as a cook and bartender for restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island.For this review, we used each mop to clean up coffee and sticky barbecue sauce. We also examined how much water the wet mops absorbed and how much water we were able to wring out. All in all, we tested eight mops over a span of four days. Our favorite mops have also entered long-term testing.

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