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Mopping is hardly anyone's favorite chore, so it's crucial to use tools that make it as pain-free as possible. But not all mops are created equal, either in function and effectiveness. A run-of-the-mill flat mop is perfect for daily cleaning on smooth surfaces, but it won't handle textured or uneven floor well. And the classic string mop, though it may be a cleaning powerhouse, is difficult to maintain and often develops odors after extended use.
Enter the sponge mop: the sponge mop works much like a flat mop, but its flexible texture makes it the ideal choice for reaching nooks and crannies on tile or other uneven flooring. It's easier to keep clean than a string mop is too. However, there are a lot of sponge mops out there. Let us help you dig through the weeds to find the sponge mop that will work for you, and we'll show you what to look for along the way too.
Best Overall: Casabella Painted Steel Original Mop
The Casabella Original Mop is an imported Italian workhorse available in two colors: painted steel and blue. The sturdy mop has a heavy-duty lever that is made to be rust-resistant. The pole is made of steel. The mop head is super absorbent and delivers top-quality cleaning for quick pickups or for hours of deep cleaning. As mops go, this one is a beauty and it's built to last.
The original Casabella mop is more expensive than some other sponge mops but it is sold with a lifetime guarantee.
"My favorite feature is that the sponge is very dry if you wring it out all the way. I have terrazzo floors that get slippery when they’re wet, so I had avoided mopping the floors in the past. The Casabella mop is a welcome relief; it eliminates excess water." — Sage McHugh, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Libman Nitty Gritty Roller Mop with Green Cleaning Pads
Libman's Nitty Gritty Roller Mop is a handy tool for really dirty floors. With its added scrub brush, no mess stands a chance against it. The roller mechanism is controlled by a lever on the handle, and it allows you to squeeze as little or as much water as you like out of your sponge mop. The mechanism on the handle also provides an easy method to switch out the mop head without getting messy.
The steel handle is curved so more sponge surface comes into contact with the floor.
Best Budget: Superio Sponge & Go Mop
The Superio Performance Sponge & Go Mop is an easy-squeeze mop with an attachable scrubbing brush, which is handy when tackling stubborn stains. The extra long handle prevents back pain from bending over the mop. This affordable mop is small enough to fit in most buckets and is particularly handy for quick cleanups.
Best for Hardwood Floors: O-Cedar O-Cedar Wood-Matic Roller Mop
If your home is filled with wood floors, check out the O-Cedar Wood-Matic Roller Mop. As its name implies, this mop is designed specifically for cleaning hardwood floors. It uses a super-dry sponge that is designed to prevent excess water from damaging wood floors. The mop comes with a felt pad scuff eraser to gently remove marks and dried-on dirt, without scratching the floor.
Best Heavy-Duty: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Power Squeeze Mop
The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Power Squeeze Mop is all about the heavy-duty mop head with its magic erasers. Built to be 50 percent stronger than its competitors' mop heads, this mop offers Magic Eraser power to remove scuffs and dirt from the floor. The textured Magic Eraser pad is great for tough soil. The mop is lightweight and can be used on walls as well as floors.
What to Look For in a Sponge Mop
Depending on your floor, a sponge mop may not be the best choice. Sponge mops work well on uneven flooring that's full of divots or texture, like tile flooring. But the nature of sponge mops mean that they hold a lot of water—so they may not be a good mop pick if you have flooring that's extra-sensitive to moisture, like hardwood.
Comfort of Use
No one wants to use any kind of tool that's uncomfortable to use. This goes for mops too. When you're looking for sponge mops, make sure the handle is the right height for you, as a mop pole that is too tall or too short can cause discomfort. Additionally, make sure the grip is comfortable, and look for a foam or rubber ergonomic grip.
The sponges on different sponge mops are made out of different things—some are made with naturally-derived materials, like sea-sponges. If you're looking to keep your cleaning routine synthetics-free, go for this option. Other sponges are synthetically made from materials like polyurethane. These materials are often more durable than the natural option.
How do you use a sponge mop?
Before you use a sponge mop, you'll need to mix together some warm water and your preferred cleaning solution in a bucket. Once this is done, you'll dip your sponge mop into the water, then take it out, still holding it above the bucket. Next, you'll press down on the bar or lever near the handle, which will wring out excess water from the sponge. To mop, move the mop back and forth and refill the sponge with water once it starts to dry. You may need to replace your bucket of water and cleaning solution with a fresh mixture during the mopping session, depending on how dirty your floor is.
How do you clean a sponge mop?
It's important to keep sponge mops clean so they don't spread more dirt than they do soap! You'll need to clean your mop head after each use. The best way to do this is to combine 1 part hot water with 1 part vinegar and let the mop head soak in the mixture for a half-hour. Rinse the mop and let it dry before putting it away.
How do you change a sponge mop head?
Even with regular cleaning, you'll still need to replace your sponge mop head every 3-6 months, depending on use. Thankfully, new sponges are affordable and easy to install. The exact way you change out a sponge mop head will depend on the mop you're using. However, as a general rule, you'll normally press a button or lever on the mop to release its sponge head. Once it's out, you'll press the new sponge onto the mop.
Why Trust The Spruce
Sarah Aguirre is an experienced writer and cleaning expert with over 20 year of experience in the cleaning industry. Additional reporting was done by Rabekah Henderson, a freelance design and decor writer whose work has appeared on MyDomaine, Atomic Ranch, Cary Magazine and American Farmhouse Style.