Why You Should Be Flat Mopping

Switching to flat mopping for daily cleaning could offer a lot of benefits for your business, from saving money to improving safety. Find out how SYR are using innovation to make it easier than ever to make the switch to flat mops.

The Problem with String Mopping

Mopping takes up a major part of the average cleaning operative’s time at work – 35-40% of working time in most cleaning jobs. Particularly in larger size environments, some cleaning operatives will spend hours every day mopping floors.

In an industry that has suffered from staff shortages in recent years, and in which employees frequently have to work overtime, time-consuming mopping techniques can be costly for businesses. Injury rates for cleaning staff are also higher than for many other industries. According to the HSE, more than 3000 serious accidents involving cleaning staff are reported every year in the UK. There are many causes for this, but mopping specifically is often highlighted as a source of injury.

Musculoskeletal disorders (muscular aches, pains and discomfort) are the most common work-related ill health/ injury reported by cleaners.

A range of conditions affecting the bones, joints, tendons and muscles, the risk for musculoskeletal disorders is high in the cleaning sector. Cleaning requires a considerable amount of repetitive movements throughout the working day. Manual cleaning methods like mopping specifically are labour-intensive practices. The awkward postures of mopping and the heavy weight of the mop can cause discomfort and fatigue in the short term and more serious conditions in the short term.

Innovation is the best way of protecting cleaning staff, whilst also ensuring a high cleaning standard.

Flat mopping has been one of the biggest changes in cleaning in recent years. Flat mops are a popular alternative to string mopping, now used to clean everywhere from offices to hospitals. Comprised of a flat, rectangular frame affixed with a mop pad or cloth, flat mops come in a variety of materials to best suit the cleaning task at hand, although they are most often made of microfibre.

Although there will always be a place for traditional string mopping techniques in cleaning, switching to alternative solutions may be the best option for your business. Using innovation, flat mopping was created to offer a range of benefits for cleaning staff. As well as improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of cleaning, flat mops have an impact on the comfort of cleaning staff. Research has shown that recent developments in mopping technology, including the redesign of mop frames and handles, have had a positive effect on reducing the frequency of MSDs in cleaning staff.

Benefits of Flat Mopping

Flat mops are often a more sustainable solution.

One of the main advantages of flat mopping is the reduced environmental impact compared to traditional string mopping. Over time, switching to flat mopping for your business will create significant water and energy savings.

String Mopping

Traditional mopping techniques often accumulate into large amounts of water consumed when cleaning. When using a 5 litre dolly mop bucket with a socket mop, as much as 40 litres of water may be used on mopping alone over a standard 4 hour cleaning shift.

As well as wasting a precious resource, high water use impacts the environment in other ways. Every cubic metre of water consumed generates more than 10.5kg of carbon emissions.

The Super Drying Flat Mop, made of durable microfibre, can save even more water.

Flat Mopping

Flat mops require much less water. They are generally used damp rather than wet, yet can deliver a high standard of cleaning. As a result, flat mopping uses as much as 90% less water compared to string mops. 

Flat mops are also usually made of microfibre. This material is renowned for its absorbency, capable of holding up to 8 times its own weight in water. It requires only minimal amounts of water to effectively remove contaminants, as well as little to no chemical use. Compared to string mopping, in which water and chemical overuse is common, microfibre flat mopping is more beneficial for the environment.

Flat mops reduce the risk of injuries.

Mopping is a task that can be risky for cleaning operatives, with 63% of people who frequently mop for work reporting injury (usually musculoskeletal) as a result. Flat mops actively work to prevent this, and are designed as a more ergonomic solution for mopping.

Most flat mops are lighter in weight than traditional string mops. A string mop typically measures 16-20oz (450-570g), with a weight that can triple when wet. This, alongside the weight of the handle and heavy cleaning bucket, can make mopping very hard work.

SYR Folding Flat Mop with Microfibre Flat Mop
SYR's Folding Flat Mop is an ergonomic and efficient solution.

On the other hand, a standard 40cm flat mop frame and handle with a damp mop pad weighs about 900g. As the total weight is lighter and more operable, it decreases the risk of strain injuries. This makes flat mopping an overall easier and more comfortable cleaning experience for staff, reducing operator injury and fatigue. This in turn will improve general morale and productivity of cleaning teams, which will have many benefits for businesses.

As flat mops also use less water compared to traditional mopping, floors are also made safer from the risk of slip accidents. Floors left damp after mopping can be a hazard, causing slips and trips which may lead to serious injuries. Flat mops use significantly less water than string mops, particularly if they are made of microfibre. Surfaces that have been flat mopped dry 50% quicker than those cleaned with string mops. As a result, floors are left drier, reducing the risk and creating a safer environment for everyone.

Flat mopping is 60% more efficient than dolly mopping.

The lighter weight and user-friendly design of flat mops offers a more efficient solution compared to traditional mopping techniques. Because they are easier to use, they create time and labour savings for cleaning staff. In comparison to string mops, flat mops can clean the same size floor area in less than half the time. 

This improved cleaning efficiency is due to a number of factors. In addition to the lighter weight of flat mops, which makes them easier to operate, the design of the frame provides greater coverage of the mop to the floor surface, for a more effective cleaning performance.

Flat mops are more versatile than string mops.

The structure of flat mops provides this cleaning system with greater versatility compared to string mops. Cleaning operatives can use flat mops to clean areas that may be difficult to reach with a string mop, such as under furniture, on stairs or baseboards, and in corners.

Flat mops can even be used on safety floors, a surface that is notoriously difficult to clean. Using traditional string mops on this type of flooring will likely not achieve the cleaning standard required. Safety floors work due to their 3D textures, which provide improved grip to reduce the risk of slip-fall accidents. If the tiny grooves that make up the surface fill up with dirt and grime over time, the floor will lose much of its slip resistance.

Many mops will not be able to penetrate the textured floor, and the cotton fibres of most string mops will wear down quickly against the surface. The best solution is to use a microfibre flat mop, which will be durable enough to withstand the tough flooring. As the flat mop will offer greater contact with the floor, it can clean these uneven surfaces much more effectively. Flat mopping provides improved scrubbing action, lifting ground-in dirt from these hard-to-clean floors. 

SYR's Solution

Although the design of flat mops offers many benefits, it also presents problems when integrating flat mopping into cleaning routines. Due to the shape of the frames, flat mops usually do not fit into string mopping buckets and wringers. When introducing this type of mopping businesses must therefore purchase new equipment suitable for flat mops and dedicate time to training staff in new cleaning methods.

To combat this issue, SYR have created an integrated solution suitable for both flat mopping and string mopping. Just as flat mopping can have a number of benefits, this system works to create a more sustainable, ergonomic and efficient cleaning experience for operators.

Did you know? SYR's premium mopping solutions are compatible with flat mops.

With the inclusion of one simple tool, many of SYR’s best mopping combos, including the LTS and TC20 buckets, can be converted to flat mopping systems.

SYR Soft Touch Pad

The Soft Touch Pad is a cost-effective solution for businesses, looking to diversify their daily cleaning. With this small innovation, several of SYR’s mop buckets and wringers, usually used for Kentucky-style mopping, can now be used for flat mops.

How does it work?

The Soft Touch Pad is easy to use. Slotting into SYR’s down press wringers, it creates a dual-purpose mopping system, accepting both Kentucky and flat mops. As part of SYR’s integrated system, it works in conjunction with the innovative SYR Folding Flat Mop Frame. Activated via a handy foot switch, this frame folds to allow flat mops to fit into most mop buckets. When the Soft Touch Pad is inserted, the folded flat mop can be placed securely inside the wringer, where maximum water can be wrung out with SYR high quality construction.

SYR Folding Flat Mop folds to fit into LTS-R bucket
The Folding Flat Mop and Soft Touch Pad creates a complete flat mopping system with SYR buckets.

Which SYR buckets are compatible with the Soft Touch Pad?

  • LTS and LTS-R
  • TC20 and TC20-R
  • Duo Press Combine Mop Bucket
  • Duo Press Combine Mop Mobile Bucket

Check out the Soft Touch Pad in action with the SYR Duo Press mopping combo:

Our mopping combos are already highly innovative products, but with the Soft Touch Pad we are taking them to the next level. At SYR, we are always improving our products to help our customers achieve the best cleaning results possible. The Soft Touch Pad integrates seamlessly with our existing flat mopping system to offer a truly first-rate cleaning performance.

The Soft Touch Pad allows the same buckets to be used for multiple types of mopping. As a result, it is a simple method of streamlining your business’ cleaning strategy.  As a 2-in-1 system, it is also a more sustainable and cost-effective solution. Using the same versatile product for both flat and string mopping will save money and reduce overall plastic waste.