How to Make Reusable Mop Pads

Cleaning is a never-ending battle. No matter how diligent we are with our chores, there will always be dirt and dust on the ground. Not just that, but there are other things to worry about such as spills, pet accidents, and food crumbs—all of which are bound to happen from time to time. Having said all that, cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore. Sure, you can wipe the floor on your hands and knees if you want, but there are many better options nowadays in the 21st century. For one thing, there are many tools out there that can help to make the dreary task a little bit more tolerable. Some of the ones that come to mind include vacuums, carpet cleaners, and mops.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that mops are out-of-date cleaning tools—they’re not. While it’s true that they’ve been used for hundreds of years, their design has come a long way. Nowadays, they are constructed out of a variety of materials including synthetics, sponge, lambswool, microfiber, and more. For the most parts, they also do not require a bucket; this makes the whole process that much easier. As a matter of fact, many of them nowadays function as a machine. For example, it’s not uncommon for some mops to have steaming capabilities, which allow it to sanitize the floor. If anything, these models have only been growing in popularity over the past little while.

As you might be aware, most of the ones today make use of some sort of cleaning pad. That is, one end of the mop is made out of a soft, absorbent material that works to pick up debris from the floor. One of the most common examples that you probably know about is the Swiffer—a mop that is noted for its disposable cleaning pads. Although it differs from mop to mop, these cloths generally stick on to the head via velcro; others may be clipped on using a clamp.

There’s no doubt that disposable cleaning pads are effective. However, they can be quite costly, especially if you clean on a regular basis. Not only that, but they are not that great for the environment (millions upon millions of pads are thrown away every year). For those reasons, many have started to opt for mops that use reusable pads. With those, you won’t have to keep on getting more refills. Having said that though, you will have to buy replacements every once in a while as they will eventually wear down. Hence, more and more people have started to make their own reusable mop pads. Believe it or not, you can actually create your own with some cheap and easy to find materials.

Let’s take a look at some of these methods below.

1. Making Reusable Mop Pads Out of Dish Cloths

Did you know that you can easily make your own mop pads using dishcloths? If you’re lucky, you won’t even have to cut them down to size!  

Wet Mop Pads with Dish Cloths

Prior to working with the actual dishcloth, create a cleaning solution by mixing vinegar with water (you can also add a bit of dish detergent). Once you’ve done that, submerge the cloth into the mixture, either using a large ziplock bag or a container; allow it to soak up the liquid before taking it out. When you’re ready, take it out and wring out the excess solution. From there, you can attach it onto your mop as you would with the regular cleaning pads. Generally speaking, they will not leave any streak marks on the floor; they can also be used for other surfaces such as countertops and walls.

Another great thing about dishcloths is that they are washable. After mopping the floors, you can easily throw them in the wash. From there, reattach it to the head and you’ll be ready for another cleaning session.

Dry Mop Pads with Dish Cloths

If you don’t want to use it for wet mopping, you can easily skip the vinegar and water step—this would make things even easier. Ultimately, all you have to do is just attach the dishcloth to mop. The hardest part would be to make sure that the size of the cloth fits the head.

2. Making Reusable Mop Pads Out of Old Towels

Have a bunch of old towels lying around? Don’t throw them out—you can easily repurpose them into reusable mop pads! While microfiber towels work the best, you can pretty much use any type of towel. However, using a slightly thicker one would allow it to absorb more cleaning solution.

To get started, lay out the old towel on the ground. Place your mop on the fabric so that it is centered; make sure that there is extra space on both sides. Depending on your mop, you might have to play around with different towels to see which will work size-wise. When everything is good, fold the towel over the head as you would with a regular cleaning pad (this is why you want the towel to be bigger than the head).

The next step is to add the velcro so that you can secure it to the mop. Ultimately, what you want to do is attach four velcro strips (often available at dollar stores) to each of the towel’s four corners; that will allow you to fasten it around the mop when it folds over. Prior to sewing the velcro on, however, it’s a good idea to test the position first using a few pins. Adjust accordingly if it does not fit nice and snug. The last step is to sew the velcro on. From there, you can attach it onto the mop.

Note: If you want it to be extra absorbent, you can always add another layer of towel. That is, sew them together prior to the very first step. 

3. Making Reusable Mop Pads Out of Old T-Shirts

Lay the old t-shirt on the ground (the shirt will have to be larger than the base of your mop). Place the mop head near the collar so that it is lined with the sleeves. While it isn’t necessary, you can use pins to keep the layers of the shirt together. From there, use a permanent marker to draw yourself an outline of where to cut and sew (using a ruler might be helpful). If you have one of the original cleaning pads that came with the mop, you can use it as a reference. When you’re done with that, cut the fabric along the lines using a sharp pair of scissors. The extra material can be used for other purposes such as cloths or rags. Once you’re done cutting, place the shirt over the mop. If you tuck in the corners, the fit should be quite secure.

If you want to use the new pad for wet mopping, you’ll have to first soak it in a cleaning solution (we recommend using water and vinegar). Afterwards, adjust it so that it fits nicely on the head. When you’re finished with cleaning, put it in the laundry to wash and reuse!

Note: For a “thicker” mop pad, you can always sew the t-shirt onto a thicker material prior to cutting it to size.

4. Making Reusable Mop Pads Out of Car Towels

Cloth towels—such as those designed for wiping cars—are great for mopping. Soft and thick, they are able to hold a significant amount of fluid, something that comes in handy when you’re trying to clean the floor. In this tutorial, we will be referring to the Handy Shammy, a brand of super absorbent cleaning cloths that you can get find at the Dollar Tree (usually in the auto section).

Cut the Handy Shammy to a proper size upon opening the package. For reference, you can use one of your mop’s original cleaning pads. As a general rule, you’ll want to cut it a bit larger (i.e. leave some extra space on the sides) as that will allow you to fold it in later. The extra material that you’re left with can also be saved and used for other purposes.

When you’re done cutting the cloth, attach it to your mop head by folding the sides in. Once it’s secure, you can start to mop the house! When used dry, the material picks up a significant amount of dirt, dust, and hair.

The Handy Shammy mop pad can also be used for wet mopping. All you have to do is apply a cleaning solution—either directly to the floor or to the material itself. When you’re finished, the pad can also be washed in warm water. Do not use fabric softener or put it in the dryer as that can shorten its lifespan.

5. Making Reusable Mop Pads Out of Fleece Material

Fleece is a pretty common material. But did you know that you can use it for mopping? Whether it’s fabric scrap or an old scarf, you can easily repurpose it into a cleaning pad. 

First, locate your fleece fabric. For the best results, you’ll want to get something that will not fray when it is cut. Using a permanent marker and a ruler, draw an outline of where you will be cutting. Generally speaking, you’ll want it to be the same size as your existing cleaning cloth (which you can use as a reference). If you want, you can make it a tad bigger—this will give you a bit of leeway.  If the piece of fabric is large enough, you can also fold it in half, which will allow you to cut out two at one go.

Next, place your mop on the fleece. Once it’s centered in the middle, you can attach the velcro strips (you can either sew it on or get the ones with adhesive backing). Fold the fleece over and secure it on the head. If necessary, you can repeat the above steps (i.e. use two pieces of fleece) to double the thickness of the mop pad. As far as cleaning goes, you can wash them in warm water.

Note: Fleece is typically better for dusting, as opposed to wet mopping. In general, it does not work very well with a cleaning solution (it isn’t very absorbent compared to other materials).

6. Making Reusable Mop Pads Out of Car Wash Mitts

Car wash mitts are great in that they are large, soft, and absorbent. Not only are they good for car washes, but they can be used to make DIY mop pads. In terms of where to get them, they are available in the automotive section of most department stores. Ideally, you’ll want to get something that’s larger than the base of your mop.

The first thing that you want to do is dismantle the mitts—you won’t need to put your hand in it for mopping after all. You can do this carefully with a pair of scissors or with a seam ripper. Once you’ve taken them apart, you’ll want to sew them together; this will give you a large piece of material to work with (if your mop is small, you might get away with just using one mitt).

When you’re done, lay it out on the floor. Center your mop in the middle and draw where you will be cutting with a permanent marker (remember to leave some extra space on the sides). After cutting it out, attach velcro strips to the four corners—this will allow you to secure the DIY pad to the mop head. The wonderful thing about car wash mitts is that they can be used both wet or dry. For wet mopping, simply dunk the head into a bucket of cleaning solution. Wring the excess fluid off, and you’re ready to clean the house!

As with car wash mitts, they can also be thrown in the wash. Considering that, you should get many uses out of the pad. Just remember to let it air dry.

7. Making Reusable Mop Pads Out of Old Socks

Similar to T-shirts, old socks can also be remodelled into mop pads. While cotton socks can work, those that are made out of chenille tend to work better.

Making reusable pads with socks is easy. As a matter of fact, it’s probably one of the easiest DIY mop pads that you can make! Essentially, all you have to do is fit it over the mop head. Assuming that you’re using a chenille sock, it can be used to wet or dry mop—you’ll just have to use a bit of cleaning solution for the former. When the pad gets dirty, you can toss them into the washing machine.

As you can see, it is incredibly straightforward. If anything, the hardest part will be finding a sock that’s large enough for your mop.

Note: If you happen to have small feet, your socks might not be large enough for your mop. If that’s the case, you can always dismantle a few and sew them together (as with the car wash mitts). Alternatively, you can just buy a pair of larger socks at the store for a few dollars—that will still be cheaper than buying commercial cleaning pads.

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