Floor Care Tool Guide

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Whether you’ve got hard floors or carpet, all floors need to be cleaned and cared for. Having the right tools helps keep your floors looking their best.

What Are The Different Types Of Mops?

If you’ve got hard floors, a mop is a practically indispensable cleaning tool. A wide variety of mops are available to suit your needs and preferences:

  • Sponge mops: Dependable sponge mops have a distinctive sponge head that usually comes with an attached wringer. These mops are an excellent choice for tile and other hard floors with uneven surfaces. Be sure to keep your sponge mop clean so you don’t spread bacteria. Replace the sponge head if it begins to break apart, discolor or smell.
  • Flat mops: These mops have a flat head, generally with a disposable or reusable cleaning pad. Flat mops are perfect for daily cleaning but don’t always have what it takes to tackle tough stuck on food particles and dirt.
  • String mops: These traditional mops have heads made from thick cotton strings. They have great scrubbing power and absorbency, and get into corners really well. They may be a little more difficult to wring out and maintain than other mop styles.
  • Strip mops: If you’re looking for something easier to maintain, consider a strip mop. These wet mops have synthetic strip heads with a built in wringer. The trade off for convenience is that they’re not as good for scrubbing or as absorbent as cotton mops.
  • Dust mops: For daily dry floor cleaning, nothing beats a dust mop. These mops have long handles so they can do double duty cleaning walls, ceilings, fans and light fixtures. The heads can be made from a number of materials including microfiber, synthetics and lamb’s wool. They attract, rather than push around dirt, and the handles often swivel, making it easier to get into tight spots. Dust mops are perfect for hardwood floors and other surfaces vulnerable to scratching. They’re not generally intended for wet cleaning.
  • Steam mops: These mops are actually electrical appliance that comes with a refillable water tank and reusable pads. The water is heated to the point where steam is produced and this steam sprays through the pad onto the floor. Steam mops disinfect floors while cleaning, however steam mops are more expensive than other mops and aren’t suited for all floor types.
  • Battery powered flat mops: With disposable pads and a refillable reservoir for cleaning fluid, a battery powered flat mop works by spraying cleaning solution in front of the unit as you push it. These mops are terrific for everyday mopping jobs but may not be enough for heavily soiled floors.


Brooms

Brooms are one of the most basic cleaning tools you can buy, and they’ve been around for millennia. Today’s brooms offer lots of different options:

  • Corn or straw brooms: These historic classics are best for sweeping up large chunks of debris indoors. They’re also well suited for cleaning walkways or porches outdoors.
  • Synthetic bristle brooms: Modern synthetic bristles are densely packed and very flexible. They’re great for catching tiny particles on your floor, particularly those with split-tipped, poly fibered bristles. Ideal places to use synthetic bristle brooms include kitchens, bathrooms and hallways.

Brooms may be made with wood, plastic or aluminum handles. Wooden handles offer stability when cleaning, however they’re sometimes a bit heavy. Lighter brooms are easier to work with, but more likely to break. Remember when cleaning with a broom that you’ll also need a good dustpan.

In addition to choices in materials, brooms also come in a number of styles:

  • Flat brooms: These brooms have evenly trimmed, flat bottoms and often come with wooden handles. They work well in open floor areas.
  • Angled brooms: To make getting into corners easier, angled brooms have their bristles cut on an angle.
  • Push brooms: Since they’re wider and thicker than many other types of brooms, push brooms are an excellent choice for cleaning large indoor areas such as work rooms and garages.
  • Wet-dry brooms: With widely spaced, thick bristles, wet-dry brooms are used for scrubbing as well as getting rid of large pieces of debris. They’re well suited for garages and workshops as well as outdoor areas.
  • Wisk brooms: These helpful little brooms are great for sweeping dirt into a dustpan after cleaning with larger brooms.

Vacuums and Sweepers

If you’re floors are carpeted, you’ll need some type of vacuum or carpet sweeper. Luckily you’ve got lots of options:

  • Full sized vacuums: Whether you choose a bagged or bagless canister or upright model, a full-sized vacuum has the power to remove most debris from carpeted or hard floors. Full-sized vacuums are a floor-cleaning staple in almost all homes.
  • Lightweight vacuums: These smaller models are great as second vacuums or for very small homes. They’re not as powerful as full-sized models, but they’re light, easy to handle and can be stored in small spaces. Lightweight vacuums are usually bagless.
  • Stick vacuums: If you’re looking for a super lightweight vacuum for light jobs, consider a stick vacuum. These appliances have a sticklike handle and are available in corded and cordless varieties. They’re generally bagless with a dirt cup to empty after use. They don’t have the power of larger models, but are quick and easy to use for small messes.
  • Sweepers: Carpet sweepers were popular decades ago and went out of fashion for a while. Recently they’ve made a huge comeback. Sweepers work by using a rotating brush to sweep dirt into an inner chamber. They’re available in corded and cordless varieties and work well for small, quick clean ups.

When you have the right tools, keeping your floors super clean is fast and easy. You’ll be able to take pride in your floors and have lots of time to do other things.

Last Updated: November 1, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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