Microfiber Mops vs Cotton Mops

When we think of mops, we usually imagine a big cotton mop, with a bucket full of water next to it. However, during the last couple of years, there has been a new competitor, and many people claim that it is by far the superior choice. Of course, we are talking about microfiber mops. So in today’s article, we’ve decided to do the obvious things, and compare the pros and cons of both of these options. If you’re someone interested in buying a new mop and are unsure which one to get, you’re in the right place. By the end of the article, you’ll know more than enough to make your choice. Without further ado, let’s compare microfiber mops to cotton mops.

Cotton Mops – Pros and Cons

As stated, cotton mops have been in use since what it feels like, forever. And there’s a reason for that. Cotton is a natural fiber, very breathable and gentle, making it the perfect cleaning option. However, it also has a fair amount of downsides that have to be mentioned. So let’s compare all the pros and cons of a cotton mop.


You can use cotton on just about any surface, without worrying about damaging the floor.

Being such a gentle material, cotton is sure not to damage or scratch the surfaces you’re cleaning, which is very important. You don’t want to be cleaning your expensive surfaces with tools that are constantly running them.

Several experts claim that cotton is by far the superior choice when you need to use chemicals such as bleach. They claim that such chemicals can tear up microfiber cloths, making them unusable when cleaning with chemicals. These claims have been disputed by others, however, cotton is nonetheless an excellent option when cleaning with chemicals.


One of the biggest problems regarding cotton mops is the fact that they basically push the dirt and dust around, instead of collecting them. An EPA study showed that cotton removes only 30% of bacteria and 23% of viruses from the surface it’s cleaning. While this is still much better than nothing, it’s nowhere near enough to be considered a serious disinfectant.

Not only does cotton not remove that many viruses and bacteria, but it can also absorb them into the cloth itself. Because cotton mops are made out of organic materials which can absorb bacteria, it poses a big problem when it comes to cross-contamination, not to mention odor. And let’s face it, that just doesn’t sound good, especially if there are better alternatives available nowadays.

A comparison of what happens when microfiber and cotton cloth comes in contact with dirt/dust particles.

Cotton mops need at least water to be usable. But they have a downside when it comes to this – cotton dries very slowly. Not only that, but it also leaves floors wet for quite some time, which just about anyone can verify. I can’t even count the number of times when I was a kid that my grandma wouldn’t allow me to enter a room because it still hasn’t dried up. This also makes it easier for people to slip and fall on the wet surface, which has to be taken into consideration, especially if there are children around.

Another gripe that people have with cotton mops is that they leave lint behind. Combine that with the fact that cotton can absorb bacteria, and you see how this can be a serious red flag.

Microfiber Mops – Pros and Cons

Since they’ve been invented, microfiber mops have swept the scene (pun intended) when it comes to cleaning tools. Many cleaning professionals and building managers have switched to it thanks to its numerous benefits. Let’s take a look at what exactly those pros are, and then we’ll take a look at the downsides.


Microfiber mops are highly absorbent, much more than you’d expect, and definitely much more when compared to cotton. In fact, they can hold seven times their weight (in water), making them the ideal tools when sweeping and mopping. Thanks to this, microfiber pads actually absorb the dirt, dust, gunk, hair, etc., instead of pushing them around. The same EPA study found that microfiber absorbsĀ  98% of bacteria and 93% of viruses from the cleaning surfaces. That’s a serious difference when compared to cotton.

Microfiber mops usually have lots of various addons you can use, like different types of mop heads.

These fibers have a long lifespan, and with proper care, will definitely last you longer than the alternative cotton fibers. This is obviously an important distinction, especially from a financial standpoint. To add to this, microfiber is lint-free, and won’t leave a mess behind itself, no matter what.

Like cotton, microfiber isn’t going to damage your floors or any surfaces you might be cleaning. So, it’s an even score there, but an important one to note nonetheless.

Microfiber mops tend to be much more ergonomic and maneuverable, compared to traditional mops. Of course, there are a lot of both options in each pick, but the general rule is that it is easier to clean with microfiber than with cotton. Your back and arms should be thankful for that.

Speaking of options, microfiber mops, being a more modern product, come with quite the number of them. You can choose whether you want a telescopic handle, choose between various types of pads (dry mopping, wet mopping), and even between entire types of mops (regular, steam). So no matter your situation and needs are, microfiber mops are basically sure to satisfy them, provided you do your research. Or read the research we’ve prepared for you on this website.

Speaking of dry mopping, it’s an actual thing when it comes to these mops. If you are just sweeping, you don’t even need to add any water or chemicals, just grab your mop and collect all the gunk.


Washing microfiber in the washing machine, while practical, uses a lot of water.

Let’s get the biggest one out of the way first – microfiber mops have a much larger upfront cost when compared to their cotton alternatives. Now that you’ve read the benefits, you can see whether the difference is worth it for you or not. However, the fact that it is the more expensive option remains.

Taking care of microfiber pads is also a bit more tedious task. You need to pay special attention to their maintenance and cleaning. You could circumvent this by using disposable pads, however, this increases the cost even further. And not only do you need to wash them regularly, but you also need to use quite the amount of water to do so, especially when machine washing.

As mentioned, there’s the issue of chemicals. Again, special care is needed when applying them, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure not to use any chemicals that might damage the fibers, thus rendering the mop basically unusable.

Final Verdict – Microfiber vs. Cloth

It’s pretty clear if you ask me – microfiber all the way. It does need a larger upfront cost and more maintenance, but the results are more than worth it. More efficient, easier to use, offers more options and features – what more can you ask for? In fact, I suspect that in the future, microfiber will completely replace cotton when it comes to mops. The people just don’t want change to happen, as usual, but it’s bound to happen. Just about everyone recommends microfiber over cotton – it’s the obvious choice if you’re even a bit serious about your cleaning and hygiene.

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