Ergonomic Mopping

in Articles

There are two really important aspects of ergonomic mopping; matching the mop to the job and matching the mop to the person.

Matching the Mop to the Job

There are essentially two types of mopping; regular maintenance and cleaning up spills.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is most likely to cause fatigue and injury because it involves mopping a large area and it’s often done daily. If this type of mopping is done with a traditional looped end wet mop, mop handle and mop bucket & wringer, it’s not surprising that it would cause injury.Ergonomic Mopping

 

A wet looped end mop can weigh up to 8 pounds, now consider the fact that it’s being swung
around at the end of a five foot handle. No matter how ergonomic the mop handle is, or how careful the person is about keeping their back straight, elbows in, grip wide, using their lower body to swing the mop around and all the other tips we’ve learned over the years about preventing injury while mopping, it’s still a strenuous activity when performed day after day. The only way to drastically reduce the exposure to injury is to completely change the way we maintain floors.

This is where microfiber flat mops come in. People are rarely injured while dust mopping, it’s almost always from wet mopping because of the physics ofswinging a mop handle attached to a 5+ pound wet mop. Dust mopping is a completely different motion. You’re not swinging around a heavy mop; you’re also not extending the mop out away from your body as people tend to do when wet mopping. When dust mopping the weight of the mop is resting on the floor and the handle is nearly vertical, close to your body. This is a much more ergonomic method and posture. You use microfiber flat mops in exactly the same way. Plus, our microfiber mops and tools are much lighter than conventional mops. Our 24” Microfiber Mop Tool with a damp wet pad on it weighs just over two pounds. That’s a great size for an average size person (more on that later).Microfiber Mopping Method

Here’s a brief explanation of how to mop with microfiber flat mops:

  1. Adjust the mop handle so it’s just below your chin.
  2. Adjust the lower grip (available on our Heavy Duty Tools) so it’s about 12” below the top grip.
  3. Place the mop tool on the white side of the mop pad. Extend the pad end of the mop tool so it’s only between 12” and 18” out from your feet.
  4. Put one hand at the top of the handle the other hand on the lower grip. At this point the handle should be almost vertical; this will ensure that you’re keeping your back straight.
  5. Begin working the mop side to side in almost a figure eight motion while twisting the handle to keep the leading edge of the mop in front. You don’t need to extend the mop to either side very far; you shouldn’t be mopping more than a 3’ or 4’ path in any given pass. When you try to extend your path beyond that you’ll have a tendency to over exert your arms and back because you’re trying to reach further than needed with the mop.
  6. Work backward through the area your mopping so you don’t leave footprints on the still damp floor.
  7. Replace your microfiber mop pads often.

Microfiber Wet Mop Pads need to be changed often. Once they’ve become saturated with soil or dry it’s time to change them out. We recommend two different systems for having wet pads at the ready for quick replacement. Both methods are ergonomic.

  • Microfiber Mop Bucket Dolly & Charging Buckets – This method employs our charging buckets. We recommend using one for clean mops and another for soiled mops. Follow the instructions on the above linked product pages for proper use.
  • Improved Microfiber Mop Bucket – This bucket is long enough to accommodate our 20” microfiber mops, larger mops will need to be folded to be placed inside. The bucket can be wheeled around the space so clean mop pads are always close by. It also has a drain plug so the bucket doesn’t have to be lifted up to be emptied. Again, follow the instructions on the above linked product pages for proper use.

Cleaning Up Spills

When cleaning up spills it’s still best to use a traditional looped end style wet mops. They have far greater capacity to absorb liquid and soil than microfiber flat mops do. In most environments the time spent cleaning up spills will be a fraction of the time spend maintaining floors, for this reason we can safely use traditional mops without having the kind of exposure to injury that we’d have if we were using them for both types of mopping.

There are certainly best practices that need to be employed when using traditional wet mops. Among them are:

  • Keep your back straight. Posture is important to preventing injury.
  • Use the mop close to your body; avoid extending the mop or your arms out away from your body. Usually when people extend their arms when mopping the have a tendancy to arch their back.
  • Switch your grip. If possible alternate which hand is high and low on the mop handle.
  • Use a mop handle that’s comfortable in your hand. Our wood mop handle (Sure Grip, Tite Bite, Wing Nut Quick Change) have a thicker 1-1/8” diameter handle that is more comfortable to hold than a smaller diameter handle.
  •  Use a Mop Bucket and Wringer that has an ergonomic design. Bending over to wring out a mop can cause injury. We recommend our Ergonomic Mop Bucket & Wringer. A 6’ tall person can completely wring out a mop without bending over using this bucket.
  • Use floor drains to empty your mop bucket rather than lifting up to a sink. If floor drains aren’t available bail the bucket out with a smaller bucket until it’s light enough to safely lift to the height of the sink.

The mop itself is also important. If you use a mop that absorbs more than others you’ll spend less time picking up spills. We highly recommend our Microfiber Tube Mops because they are so absorbent. Watch this video that compares mops.

Matching the Mop to the Person

Making sure you or your employees are using the right tools for them is as important as making sure they’re using the right tools for the job. A person that’s small in stature shouldn’t be asked to use a large wet mop. A person that’s average size isn’t being efficient if they’re using a small wet mop. If they’re not being efficient then they’re wasting motion, taking longer to complete a task and ultimately more likely to being exposed to injury from repetitive motion. The key is to find the balance between efficiency and ergonomics.

We believe we’ve found that balance. Here are some guidelines to help you match the mop to the person:

For a person that’s of small stature:

Regular Maintenance

Cleaning Up Spills

For a person that’s of average stature:

Regular Maintenance

Cleaning Up Spills

For a person that’s of large stature

Regular Maintenance

Cleaning Up Spills

For information about choosing the right mop click here then click on “click to expand”.

 

Related Links

Microfiber Mop System
18” Microfiber Fiber Wet Mop Pad
Microfiber Cloth for Glasses
Microfiber Gloves
Microfiber Car Wash Mitt
Microfiber Car Wash Sponge
Microfiber Mitt
Microfiber Scrubbing Sponge
16×16 Ultra Plush Microfiber Towel
Microfiber Wall Wash Mop Pad
How to Wash Microfiber

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