“It is expensive”. This was a common reply that Clean India Journal received from consumers across segments when asked about microfibre mops. Interestingly, while microfibre mops are highly popular in the international market, the usage in India is limited. In a comparative analysis, Debtosh Chatterjee, Director of Mrinmoyee Supply Pvt. Ltd, enumerates the pros & cons of both microfibre and cotton mops.
What would be the average number of cotton mops used annually by a facility of 5000sqft?
A 5,000sqft area space can be mopped by a housekeeper with one mop in maximum one-and-a-half hours, provided it is without any area-wise hindrance. At the same time, if the space to be mopped is a critical area, for example hospitals, then area-specific mops will be required to prevent cross contamination. The area specification of the critical zone will determine the number of mops that needs to be used. In case, the same area needs to be mopped more than one time a day, a fresh and clean mop will be required each time. Hence, the number of mops to be used in a critical zone with area specification will require multiple mops to clean.
Is microfibre mop a better alternative? What is its annual consumption for a facility of 5000sqft?
Firstly, one has to be clear about the type of property to be mopped. If the floor is greasy, microfibre is not suitable. If it is a clean room (area that is mostly clean and dust-free), one should use microfibre flat mop for which the life is around 500 washes (500 days). If it is a non-greasy floor but has high footfall, then microfibre string mop could be used. This again lasts on an average up to 500 washes, provided the surface is smooth and does not damage the strip of the mop.
We must not forget that replacing cotton mops is not 100% possible. Usually, a cotton mop does not last for more than 10-15 washes (10-15 days).
Hence, if it is microfibre, one mop head / insert is enough for the whole area for each set/mop station for one year. In case of cotton mop, it is two mop heads per set/ mop station per month. Annually, it would be 24 mop heads per set /mop station.
One cannot say that the world should change completely to microfibre from cotton. It would be wise to decide on the option based on the floor condition.
One of the reasons that one should go for microfibre is to control the spread harmful bacteria which is more prone while using a cotton mop in critical areas. The cotton mop is made of natural fibres, which is food to bacteria and it grows with it. Hence, while mopping the bacteria spreads. This is precisely the reason why a cotton duster or mop at times gets smelly and leaves the surface even more unhygienic.
How much is one spending more by going with the cotton mop?
Average price of a cotton mop head of 300gm (standard size) would be around Rs 70. Annually, the cost would be approximately Rs 1,680. Now add three mop clip cost (3×40=Rs 120) and one aluminium handle (Rs 135) which is an average consumption pattern. Hence, the total cost incurred on cotton mops annually would be Rs 1,935.
For Microfibre string mop the cost would be Rs 450 for each mop head. Consumption of clip and handle will remain the same; so, the total cost would be Rs 705 annually.
For the microfibre flat mop, the mop head comes at `320 and the mop plate and the handle (easily lasts a year) would cost `575. The total cost would be `895 per year (it is costlier than the string mop but its faster and better). Correspondingly, it can lower the consumption of cleaning chemicals to a large extent. In some cases, microfibre can save around 50% of total chemical consumption.
Lastly, this calculation could go totally wrong, if we have untrained users who might break the tools by manhandling or wash/clean the tool incorrectly.
Are microfibre mops biodegradable?
No, they are made of polyester and polyamides which are not biodegradable. On the contrary, as it reduces chemical consumption to a large extent, in its lifespan it saves the environment from chemical effect.
Inventor of Wringing Mop
Thomas W. Stewart (1893-1986) was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 1893, Stewart invented a new mop that had a clamp and springs which allowed the user to press a lever that would wring out the excess water in the mop. He also designed the mop head to be detachable, making it easier to clean and replace.
Stewart described the mechanics in his abstract:
- A mop-stick, comprising a stick proper, provided with the T-head having the grooved ends, forming one portion of the clamp, the rod having a straight portion forming the other part of the clamp and from thence converging rearwardly to the sides of the stick, a lever to which the free ends of said rod are pivoted, a ring loose on the stick, to which the forked ends of the lever are pivoted, and a spring between said ring and the T-head; substantially as set forth.
- The combination of a mopstick provided with a T-head, forming one part of the clamp, a moveable rod forming the other part of the clamp, a lever to which the free ends of said rod are pivoted, said lever being fulcrum-ed to a moveable support on the stick, and a spring exerting a resistance against the lever when the latter is thrown back; substantially as set forth.