Clean Mops, Clean Floors, Healthy People




There’s much more than you might expect to mops, as proper procedures and the right equipment play a big role in preventing the spread of infection, including healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Change mop water frequently.

Infrequent water changes can be a major problem that contribute to the spread of HAIs. In hospitals, mop buckets should be cleaned daily if not more. The bucket should be rinsed of dirty water, rinsed again, and left to dry.

Hospital custodians should change their mop water after cleaning a patient’s room, especially if that patient may be experiencing an infection. Failure to do so could result in the contamination of common areas or spread infection among patients.

Mop buckets with a dirty water bucket and wringer system can keep mop water cleaner and safer for longer, but they still require frequent changes. When using this type of system, the dirty mop should be returned to the rinse water and then wringed out before placing it back into the cleaning solution.

Custodians should ensure that all debris and sedimentation is removed from the mop head before placing it into the cleaning solution. When the cleaning solution becomes visibly dirty, it’s time to change rinse out the buckets, change the mop head, and start with fresh cleaning solution.

Putting dirty water back onto the floor not only defeats the purpose of cleaning, but can also put people at risk, especially in healthcare environments.

Don’t leave mop heads to soak in buckets.

Custodians may do this to save time; however, a soaking mop head is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Wring out mop heads after each use and store them where they can continue to dry.

Clean biohazards with spill mops.

When cleaning biohazards such as blood, a best practice is to use a dedicated spill mop with highly absorbent, disposable mop heads. Spill mops should be stored near patient rooms for quick and convenient access. The mop heads should always be disposed of in containers labeled with biohazard warnings.

For best results, use microfibre mops.

In hospitals and other healthcare settings, mopping with microfibres can reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). A cleanliness study conducted at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital found that Rubbermaid Commercial Products’ microfibre line was highly effective at reducing sources of cross-contamination. Microfibre mops can be colour-coded to differentiate which areas each mop head should be used in, which can help custodial staff to remember where to use each one. Microfibre mop heads are ideal for reducing the risks associated with wet and dirty mops.

Dry mop first.

In healthcare and hospitality settings, dry and wet mopping can prevent the spread of germs and disease. Dry mopping before wet mopping can reduce the number of times the water bucket needs to be changed. Also known as dust mopping, this technique uses a dry microfiber mop head to gather dust, dirt, and other debris prior to cleaning the floor with a solution. Dry mopping is also ideal for hardwood floors that could be damaged by excess moisture. After removing dirt from the floor, custodial staff can apply hardwood cleaner to the microfiber mop head to polish the floor.

Save wet mopping for last.

Wet mopping should be the final step of the floor cleaning process. Custodians should start with clean areas and work toward dirty areas to prevent spreading contaminants around the patient’s room. Microfibre pads should be laundered and disinfected after each use.