Updated September 2022
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Buying guide for Best hardwood floor mops

You know those beautiful, shiny hardwood floors? The ones you paid a fortune to install or first caught your eye when you saw your home? The only way to keep them looking their best is regular care. If you don’t want to end up on your hands and knees with a bucket and a rag, you will need a good mop.

Mops for hardwood floors are not the same as mops you may use on the tile or laminate of your kitchen and bath. Experts agree, you should limit the amount of water you use on your hardwoods, and you want to dry hardwood floors quickly to prevent long-term damage. You also don’t want to risk scratching your hardwood floor. This makes a traditional cotton string mop — the kind you may envision when you think “mop” — a less than ideal choice for hardwoods.  

The best hardwood floor mop for your home will be a balance of your concerns about cleaning chemicals, ease of use, waste, and long-term costs. With the right mop and cleaning plan, you can make sure your hardwood floors stay looking beautiful. 

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If you clean your microfiber mop heads in the washing machine, do not use fabric softener, which eliminates the static cling you want on a mop head. Only tumble dry on a low-heat setting.

Hardwood floor mop considerations

Mop head material

Mop heads are made from several materials. The most common are microfiber, cotton, mixed synthetic blends and disposable materials.

  • Microfiber is a polyester and nylon blend. The fabric carries a slightly positive charge, which is what helps it lift dust from a surface. This blend can clean with a fraction of the amount of water needed by a traditional mop, and has been shown to eliminate bacteria without the need for a chemical cleaner. Microfiber holds up well over time. Your investment in microfiber will generally be more at the onset, but can potentially be balanced by what you will save in additional cleaners or disposable refills.

  • Cotton is the most common material for industrial mop heads. A cotton mop head has the advantage of being all natural. It can be cleaned easily in hot water in a washing machine. Cotton mop heads are more affordable than other materials. They are also gentle and will not scratch your floors. The disadvantage of cotton is that it soaks up more water than some of the other materials. It can break down over time. If it does not have a proper place to get fully dry between uses, it can also mold.

  • Mixed fiber or synthetic fiber mop heads will have a similar function to the microfiber, but they are less expensive. Ideal for dry dusting, this style should be able to hold a lot of dust particles when dry. Some of these styles, like chenille, provide a very soft surface so you do not need to worry about scratching. These materials are machine washable and will hold up well over time. A mixed cotton/synthetic blend will absorb a lot of water, but it is able to withstand more rough use than a 100 percent cotton mop head.

  • Disposable pads are popular with a lot of people because they are so convenient and require no cleaning. These pads come in a package often pre-moistened with a cleaning solution, but sometimes you must add your own solution or water. The disposable pads wrap around your mop head and should be thrown away after each use. There are several popular variations of this product. Make sure to get pads that properly fit your mop, or they may slip off or bunch up. Disadvantages include the ongoing cost of the pads and, of course, waste.  

Expert Tip
Hardwood floor mop heads are detachable and washable, so remember to actually wash them. You can easily toss these mop heads in the washer. 
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Hardwood floor mop head style

  • Flat mops have a rectangular shape. They vary in length and width, but they should offer you good coverage over a large area. This style may make it hard to get into some corners. Flat mops are great for dust mopping, but they don't give you as much leverage for scrubbing.

  • Angled mops have a triangular shape or a more narrow pointed corner on one side. This design lets you reach into corners more easily, and can be better for small spaces than the flat mop design.

  • Looped mop heads are most often a cotton mop that must be used with a bucket system. The main advantage of this style is the soft scrubbing. The loops of fabric rub on your floor’s surface in more than one direction at the same time, giving you lifting power over dirt or dust.

  • Loose round mops allow you, like the looped mop, to attack your floor cleaning from several angles at the same time. A loose round mop is the style you find on a spin mop. These are good scrubbers. If they are made from microfiber, they can also last a long time without breaking down.

Expert Tip
To help your mop heads last longer, air dry them after you clean them.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Mop head width

Before you choose a mop length, think about how large of a hardwood area you have to mop and how much storage space you have available. The longer the mop the fewer times you will have to run it back and forth over your floor to get it clean. Industrial mops could be two feet to four feet long. A more common or practical size for most households is somewhere between 12 inches to 18 inches long — that length measurement is for a flat rectangular style mop. However, a rounded mop head will have a wiping diameter similar to these lengths.

Expert Tip
When washing your detachable mop heads, make sure you only wash them along with other dirty rags or cleaning materials.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert


Telescoping handle

A telescoping handle will give you two advantages. It will help you get the mop to a comfortable length during use, which can be particularly important for either tall or petite people. It can also help make the mop more compact for storage.

Ease of cleaning the head

The most convenient hardwood floor mops will come with cleaning heads you can put in the washing machine. Your mop will get very dirty, so you will want to clean the head of your mop after every use. Those with removable heads that can go in the laundry will get much cleaner than any effort you can make rinsing them by hand. It is advisable to get yourself a second mop head for convenience, especially if you mop more than once every few days.

Bucket system

The advantage of a bucket system is your ability to fully rinse your mop as you clean your floor. The disadvantage is that mop and bucket systems usually rely on water-based cleaning, which can put excess water on your hardwood floors and potentially damage or streak them. If you choose a bucket system, make sure you get either a mop or a bucket with a good wringer. Choose a mop head made from a material, such as microfiber, which does not hold as much water as cotton.

Expert Tip
Using the correct cleaning solutions will keep your hardwoods looking their best. 
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Cleaner sprayer

A hardwood floor mop with an attached sprayer is a convenient feature. As you mop, you will be able to press a button to spray the needed amount of cleaner in front of your mop. This feature can save both your back from pain as well as your precious time. It keeps your cleaning fluid handy and gives you a better idea of how much to use.


An electric mop can help you with scrubbing power. Make sure you choose a model that is lightweight. A cordless rechargeable model will be the most convenient; however, check on the charge time in order to make sure it will have enough power for you to complete your whole floor in one charge.  

Expert Tip
Sweeping and vacuuming your hardwoods prior to mopping helps your hardwoods look their very best. 
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Hardwood floor mop prices


You can buy a disposable mop system or a very inexpensive microfiber or cotton model between $10 to $15. These are a good starting point, but remember the disposable mop system will have added costs in refills over time. The inexpensive microfiber models will not hold up as well as their more expensive counterparts.


Starting at about $15 to $20, you should be able to find a decent microfiber mop with a strong handle. The microfiber models in this range will be a little more heavy-duty. They will do a better job of picking up dust because they have more surface area. Most available mops will be in this range.


The mops priced at $30 to $100 will offer cleaning systems. They should have added features like a telescoping handle, and an incorporated bottle to hold a spray cleaning solution. You can find electric scrubbers at the high end of this price range.

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Did you know?
Sponge mops are not ideal for cleaning hardwood floors, but if you prefer this material, look for a dry sponge that is designed to hold only small amounts of water.


  • A daily dusting of your hardwood floor is helpful for keeping the finish shiny. Use a cleaner on your floors weekly.

  • Robotic vacuums or mops can help fill the gaps between the times you scrub your floors with your mop.

  • If you are having a hard time with residue buildup, double-check the suggested dilution ratio on your cleaner. You may be using too much concentrate.

  • Do not use vinegar on hardwood. While the slightly acidic liquid can provide an eco-friendly cleaning boost on your laminates and tile, it can eat away at the finish of your hardwood flooring — causing it to dull over time.

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If your mop head cannot go in the laundry, soak it in clean hot water in the sink and rinse until the water runs clean. Make sure to hang it in a place where it can completely dry.


Q. My floor may be hardwood, but it could be laminate. How do I tell the difference?

A. A laminate product is made from a resin material over fiberboard. Much laminate is created to look like natural wood. If you are not completely sure, look for a pattern. Natural hardwood floors will have no pattern to the grain. Each board will be unique — just like the trees they came from. Laminate boards will have a pattern that repeats. If you see a pattern, you have laminate. The good news is that laminate often looks as lovely as hardwood. While it does not last as long, it is not sensitive to harsh cleaners.

Q. Should I use a steam mop for my hardwood floors?

A. Steam is not the ideal choice for hardwood floors. While these machines do limit the amount of water on your floor, they also work at high temperatures which could permanently damage natural wood flooring. Never use a steam mop on an unsealed hardwood floor.

Q. Isn’t vinegar the best natural cleaner? Why do I need to mess with an expensive cleaner?

A. You may have heard a tip to clean your floors with a vinegar and water mix. While vinegar can be a good natural choice for laminate or tile flooring, on hardwoods vinegar’s acidity can break down the finish and leave it looking dull. It is better to use straight water, or a cleaner formulated specifically for hardwood floors.

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