Stop the Mop: The True Cost of Mopping

By Amy Milshtein

Stop the Mop: The True Cost of Mopping

Keeping expenses in check is crucial for a successful business. You’re probably painfully aware of your big-ticket items like labor, insurance, supplies, fuel and marketing. But what about the unseen costs? These little expenses hide in plain sight and add up quickly. For instance, take the true cost of mopping. Sure, mops are relatively inexpensive to buy, but a quick look beyond the price tag reveals hidden expenses that eat into your bottom line.


Cleaning the Cleaner

Mop heads, whether they are cotton string mops or microfiber pads, need to be   washed daily to work properly. This requires an on-site laundry or a contract with an outside facility. String mops are difficult to wash and dry as their strings get tangled and knotted in machines. Microfiber mop heads are a bit easier to launder but they are finicky. Microfiber requires a gentle detergent and low heat or they will lose efficacy. Fabric softener and dryer sheets have the same effect.


Mop heads also have to be replaced as they age. If your cotton mop is losing strings it’s time to buy another one. Microfiber lasts longer—about 250 wash cycles—but mopping ceramic tile with grout lines wears them out faster.


Working Harder Costs More

It takes a surprising amount of physical effort to mop a floor. Wet mops are heavy, between three and five pounds. Wringing them out is hard, requiring bending and applying pressure to the wringer. Dumping the solution bucket is a real workout, five gallons of water weighs over 40 pounds and that doesn’t count the weight of the bucket.


Incorrect mopping techniques compound the problem. Workers often reach away from their body and arch their back when mopping, putting their backs and shoulders at risk for a repetitive motion injury. Mopping incorrectly every day increases that risk.


And potentially decreases your bottom line by taking employees out of rotation. According to Cleaning & Maintenance Management online the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that repetitive motion injuries lead to an average of 18 lost workdays per injury.


The Price of Downtime and the Cost of Accidents

Spills happen, so it’s important to dry them up quickly. That means cordoning off the affected area, getting out the mop and bucket, cleaning the floor and then leaving wet floor signs out while everything air dries.


Sounds easy but this protocol actually costs you money.


Shoppers avoid an area with a fresh spill and stay away while it’s being cleaned. While that takes a nibble out of sales in sales, it’s actually better than the shopper accidentally slipping and falling. That kind of accident costs an average of $20,000 to business per incident, according to Business and Industry Connection. And it’s not just shoppers. Your employee can fall just as easily.


The true cost of mopping is high. Click here if you’re ready for a better way. 

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. 

Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.

She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.

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