Swiffer vs. Wet Mop: Pros and Cons of Each

It’s surprising to think of how far the vacuum cleaner has come since its introduction in the early 1900s compared to the evolution of the mop. Although our vacuums might look futuristic to someone in 1905, the wet mop likely doesn’t. A lot of us are still pushing around droopy bits of fabric connected to a stick, dunking the bundle in a bucket of water and using it to deep-clean the floor.

But wait—haven’t you tried one of the newest advancements in mop technology? Products like Swiffers are supposedly more convenient and hygienic than the traditional mop. Is it all marketing hype, or does one product clearly win the Swiffer vs mop competition?

What is a Mop?

A traditional mop is made of absorbent fabric that’s attached to a pole. Most mops are made of a bunch of fabric loops that come together in the middle. This increases the surface area over a flat piece of fabric, meaning that the mop can hold more water and pick up more debris. However, some mops are made of sponge-like or other materials.

Most wet mops are meant to be used with a bucket system. You add a cleaning solution to a bucket of water, dip the mop in it, and wash the floor with it. 

But you need a way to wring out the mop so that you don’t apply too much water to the floor. Some buckets include a wringing tool, which allows you to squeeze out the excess water without touching the mop with your hands. The mop may also have a wringing tool incorporated into it.

You’ll also need a bucket of fresh water to rinse the floor with. If you don’t remove the cleaning solution from the flooring, you could leave behind residue and fail to get your floor really clean.

There are also dry mops, which are made of a type of fabric that attracts dust and dirt particles. These are meant to be used without water and remove surface-level dirt from your floors. However, they don’t sanitize or deep-clean flooring.

What is a Swiffer?

A Swiffer is a type of mop that’s designed to minimize some of the disadvantages of traditional mops. They’re usually made of a framework that includes a flat lower segment with a handle. You can purchase different types of cloths to wrap around the lower segment. Some cloths are reusable, while others are disposable.

A wet Swiffer-type mop has a trigger or button on the handle. When you press the button, the device squirts some cleaning solution on the surface below it. Then, you can push the mop over that area to disperse the fluid and clean the floors. 

Pros and Cons of Swiffer vs Mop

While you might assume that products that use new technology are preferable to old-fashioned ones, traditional mops have tried-and-true benefits. Still, it’s worth considering the pros and cons of a swiffer vs mop so that you can decide which one is best for your type of flooring.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Mops

Some of the pros and cons of a traditional mop are as follows.


  • Affordable – A basic mop is extremely affordable. You don’t have to purchase special supplies, other than a bucket. However, you might want to have gloves or a wringing tool available to make the job easier.
  • Durable – The fabric and handles on a basic mop are usually made of tough materials and aren’t likely to snap.
  • Customize your cleaning solution – You can combine any products to make the right cleaning solution for your flooring. Be aware of the size of your bucket so that you can accurately measure floor cleaners based on the volume of water and the instructions on the cleaning product.
  • Versatile – You can use a traditional mop in just about any situation. In a pinch, an old towel or rag serves as a mop head. You don’t even need a handle, just some elbow grease. 
  • Efficient – Many traditional mops are larger than Swiffers, which means that you can cover more flooring in a single pass. You might get the job done more quickly using a traditional mop.


  • Holds onto excess water – If your floors require low-moisture cleaning, a traditional mop may be too much. Mops hold onto excess water and can make puddles on the floor. In some cases, the moisture drips through cracks in the surface, damaging the flooring.
  • Not ideal for some surfaces – The loopy texture of a traditional mop can make washing the floor cumbersome. The material can get snagged on rough spots, damaging the floor and the mop. Sponge mops fall apart when you use them on ragged surfaces, making them better suited for smooth floors, such as marble.
  • Messy – The process of dunking the mop into a bucket of soapy water can be messy. Moreover, unless you regularly refresh your bucket of cleaning solution and use a separate container to rinse the mop, you’re likely going over the floor with dirty water. 

Pros and Cons of a Swiffer Mop

Get to know the pros and cons of a Swiffer-style mop by reading below.


  • Lightweight – Swiffers are designed to be ergonomic. They are comfortable to push around and carry from room to room. The light weight also makes Swiffers ideal to use for dusting walls, fans and ceilings.
  • Less complicated – As long as there is a fresh pad on the Swiffer, you can use it to start cleaning within minutes. You don’t have to gather buckets of water or deal with complicated cleaning solutions.
  • Cleaner – Because you can refresh the pad on a Swiffer regularly, you can avoid going over the same areas repeatedly with a dirty mop. 
  • Reduced maintenance – Whereas you have to rinse, clean and dry a traditional mop correctly to prevent microbes from growing on it, you don’t have to do much to maintain a Swiffer. In addition to disposing of the cleaning cloth, you might just have to replenish the cleaning solution regularly.


  • Not as durable – Although they’re more lightweight and maneuverable than a traditional mop, Swiffers are more likely to break. The plastic construction and moving parts provide more opportunities for damage.
  • May not be ideal for challenging messes – If you are trying to remove a sticky, built-up substance from your flooring, a swiffer may not be rugged enough. You can’t always put a lot of pressure on these devices. You might need to use a heavy-duty mop or scrub on your hands and knees to remove the mess.
  • More expensive – Swiffer mops are usually more expensive than traditional ones. Still, they’re worth the convenience.

Which Type of Mop is Best for You?

No matter what type of mop you use, you’ll need one that is gentle on your flooring. Look for a lint-free material that attracts dirt and is easy to clean or dispose of. 

If you’re looking for a product for everyday cleaning, a Swiffer is probably best. It’s convenient to grab and put away. However, if you have a high-traffic or industrial area that needs a deep cleaning, a traditional mop is likely better suited to your needs. Having both available allows you to keep your floors clean, improve their appearance and help them last as long as possible.