A mop (such as a floor mop) is a mass or bundle of coarse strings or yarn, etc., or a piece of cloth, sponge, or other absorbent material, attached to a pole or stick. It is used to soak up liquid, for cleaning floors and other surfaces, to mop up dust, or for other cleaning purposes. The word (then spelled mappe) is attested in English as early as 1496, but new refinements and variations of mop designs have been introduced, from time to time. For example, American inventor Jacob Howe received U.S. patent #241 for a mop holder in 1837 and Thomas W. Stewart (U.S. patent #499,402) in 1893. At the 1968 Miss America protest, protestors symbolically threw a number of feminine products into a "Freedom Trash Can", which included mops.
A dry mop or dust mop is designed to pick up dry, loose contamination such as dust, earth, and sand from the surface of the floor. It consists of yarn and/or microfiber and is used as a first step in cleaning a floor.
Professional dry mops consist of a flat sheet of microfiber textile or sheets with a surface of looped yarn, usually about 15 cm (6 in) wide, and comes in variable lengths (usually 30–100 cm (12–39 in)).
The dry mop can in many instances replace a broom and has the ability to hold a limited amount of dust or sand within itself. The heads of dry mops are often removable and can be washed and replaced when saturated with dust. Another option is using a vacuum cleaner to suck surface dust away from the mop; however, this is much more limited in its effectiveness.
Single-use dry mops are also available and widely sold.
Microfiber mops are constructed of a blend of polyester and polyamide fibers which are “split” and formed into a single fiber. This blend consists of 70-90% polyester that serves as the scrubbing and cleaning fiber and 10–30% polyamide which performs as the holding and quick drying fiber. This blend is usually expressed as a ratio on the label of the mop, e.g. an 80% polyester and 20% polyamide blend would be labeled as "80/20".
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