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Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best mop buckets

There is no such thing as the five-second rule. The instant food touches the floor, it becomes contaminated. This happens because floors are dirty. As a matter of fact, the average kitchen floor in front of the sink contains twice as much bacteria per square inch as the garbage bin. That's just one reason you need a top-quality mop bucket.

That's right, from daily maintenance to your spring deep cleaning, the secret is having the right mop bucket. If you don't have the proper one, you'll just be swirling all that dirt around the floor, not picking it up. When looking for a top-flight mop bucket, you’ll want it to be large enough to hold a sizable amount of water. You’ll also want it to have wheels so you won’t slosh water when you move the bucket.

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Sweeping or vacuuming the floor before mopping can greatly increase the effectiveness of mopping.

Key considerations

When choosing a mop bucket, there are a few features that will help you quickly zero in on the best model for you.

Size

There is no formula for how large your mop bucket should be. It's a matter of preference and convenience. There are two main factors to weigh. First, you don’t want a mop bucket that’s too large to easily move around. Also, a bucket that’s too large could lead to wasted water and cleaning solution. Second, you don’t want a mop bucket that’s too small to accomplish your task without stopping several times to dump your dirty water.

Wringers

The biggest mistake novice moppers make is using too much water. Ideally, you want a mop bucket with a durable, metal, rust-resistant wringer to keep your mop damp, not wet. Spreading too much water on the floor while mopping creates an unsafe environment for you and passersby.

A plastic mop bucket with a wringer is a good budget option. Most plastic wringer buckets also feature a squeeze lever mechanism to press out the water. A funnel-type wringer bucket is another economical choice, and it has a clever design. To use a funnel wringer, simply push your wet mop down into the funnel and twist to squeeze out the water.

Dirty water bucket

If you prefer, you can purchase a mop bucket that includes a second bucket that keeps soiled water separate from the liquid you are using to clean the floor. This is a highly efficient option that allows you to work faster because you will not need to stop as often to change the water.

Features

Before settling on the perfect mop bucket, there are a few more features to consider.

Color-coded mops

In commercial settings, mop bucket colors aren't simply a fashion choice. In an effort to improve sanitation and avoid cross-contamination, the various colors correspond to designated institutional areas where each mop bucket should be used.

  • Red: These mop buckets are for use in areas with the greatest potential for contamination, such as toilets and urinals.

  • Yellow: Yellow mop buckets are used in clinical areas as well as gyms and other places that may have moderate germs. Also, yellow is a good color because it is easy for people to see, making tripping accidents less likely.

  • Green: Restaurants' food service areas like the kitchen and behind the bar use green mop buckets.

  • Blue: These mop buckets are designated for general-purpose locations, such as hallways and office floors.

  • Black: Similar to a blue mop bucket, black mop buckets are designated for restaurant use in areas where food isn't present, such as lobbies, offices, and hallways.

Wheels

A mop bucket on sturdy wheels is much easier to move about while you work. Instead of picking it up and setting it down, it can just glide across the floor. And, because you don't want your bucket of water rolling away from you while you work, you'll want to be sure that the wheels lock.

Reinforced handle

At some point, you will need to pick up your mop bucket. Since water is very heavy, you will want to be sure you have a heavy-duty handle that won't break.

Rust- and corrosion-resistant

Metal is more durable than plastic, but it is going to be exposed to water and chemicals. If you are thinking of purchasing a wringer with metal parts, be sure they will not be adversely affected by the cleaning solutions you favor.

Graduations

Many mop buckets feature graduated measurement markings inside the bucket, so you know how much water and cleaning product you are adding.

Expert TIp
When you empty your bucket from mopping, rinse it with water to get rid of any extra dirty water residue.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Splash guard

Any feature a mop bucket has that can help reduce accidental spillage is a good thing. If the model you are considering has an effective splash guard, that should weigh heavily in its favor.

Accessories

Unless you are simply purchasing a mop bucket to use under a leaky sink, there are a few other items you may need.

  • Mop head and mop handle: To use a mop bucket for cleaning, you obviously need a mop head and handle.

  • Caution signs: You need caution signs to denote your work area if you are cleaning in a public location.

  • Safety cones: These are not a necessity, but some individuals prefer using safety cones in conjunction with caution signs to clearly define a work area that may be slippery.

  • Cleaning agent: For most cleaning jobs, you need some kind of detergent, soap, or bleach mixture to achieve the best results. Be sure what you use is safe for the type of floor, like hardwood, you are cleaning. Also, if you have small children or pets, make sure whatever you purchase is not harmful to them.

  • Floor dryer: To speed up the drying process, you may wish to use a floor dryer.
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Expert Tip
Know your mop prior to buying your bucket. Some mop heads have a ringer attached, so you won't need a bucket that includes a ringer.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Mop bucket prices

Inexpensive

A generic mop bucket, something that does little more than just hold water, will cost between $7 and $20. Some of these models may have a reinforced handle or markings inside the bucket to help you add the proper measure of cleaning fluids.

Mid-range

From about $20 to $80, you can find a wide assortment of mop buckets with features such as wheels and wringers. Some of the models at the upper end of this range would be classified as industrial mop buckets. Even though the models in this price range may include a dirty water compartment and an attachable wringer, most resemble a large single bucket on wheels.

Expensive

These models start at $80 and go much higher. The mop buckets in this price range are built to hold up under heavy-duty use and have additional bells and whistles that can make your cleaning tasks easier.

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Expert Tip
Consider your storage space. Don't get a bucket that you don't have enough space to store easily.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Tips

Mopping may seem like it is a quick and easy task: stick the mop in the bucket, get it wet, then slosh it around the floor. That's it, right? Not really. If you want to do it efficiently and safely with the least amount of waste, here are a few other things to keep in mind.

  • Pick a place to start. Decide where you will be working. Set up caution signs and safety cones to clearly define the work area to any individuals who may be passing through.

  • Clear the area. Move tables, chairs, and trash cans so the work area will be as free from obstacles as possible before starting.

  • Remove larger debris. Depending on how thorough you would like to be, this can include anything from a quick pick up of trash to a thorough sweeping or dry mopping. Some folks even vacuum before they mop.

  • Mix your solution. Follow the directions, adding the proper amount of cleaner to your water.

  • Dampen the mop. Your mop should not be sopping wet, as that will only push the dirt around the floor. A damp mop allows dirt and dust to cling to the mop so it can be removed.

  • Clean by the numbers. Use a figure-eight pattern when mopping to use the entire surface of the mop evenly.

  • Map out your mopping strategy. You only want to mop from a dry section of the floor, so plan your route before starting. Don’t mop yourself into a corner.

  • Use a clean solution. Once your mop water becomes dirty, you will no longer be cleaning the area.

  • Use a fan. If you'd like to speed up the drying process, use a floor dryer.

  • Wring out your mop. After mopping, thoroughly clean and wring out your mop so bacteria does not have a place to grow while your mop is in storage.

  • Clean your mop bucket, too. Thoroughly clean and rinse your mop bucket so there is no lingering residue present for the next cleaning session.

  • Restore the area. Move all tables, chairs, and trash cans back to their original locations, and remove the caution signs and safety cones.
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Instead of throwing out your old metal mop bucket, you can repurpose it as a fashionable planter.

FAQ

Q. Can I dump my mop water down the drain?

A. Water you dump down the drain eventually goes back into the environment. And, depending on the cleaner you use, it may be illegal to pour dirty mop water down the drain. If you determine that your cleaner is safe to dispose of, it is best to dump it into the toilet or the utility sink. You don’t want contaminated water splashing about your bathroom or kitchen sink.

Q. What kind of cleaner should I use?

A. The answer to this varies depending on the type of floor you are cleaning, so you will need to read the label to be certain it won’t harm your flooring.

Q. How do I clean my mop bucket?

A. The best answer is to fill the bucket with a gallon of water and add 3/4 cup of bleach. After letting the solution sit for five minutes, put on your cleaning gloves and use a scouring sponge to clean the bucket. Empty the bucket and rinse thoroughly.

If you clean with ammonia, you need to use a hot water and vinegar solution to clean your mop bucket. Do not mix bleach with vinegar, as this is highly dangerous!

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