Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Sunday, 12 October 2003

# 9 PM

mop mop mop mopmopmopmopmop mooooooooop

I'm mopping down the kitchen floor and, as usual, the mop doesn't work very well. I've never had a mop that worked to my satisfaction. The big string mops with separate wringer-bucket work better than the small sponge mops with wringers built into the handle somehow, but still not well. Either way, you're using the same surface to lay down soapy water as you are to wipe the water and dirt back up. Also, you only have the one bucket, and the water in the bucket gets dirtier as you go along. If there's a lot of floor surface, by the end of it you're liable to be taking dirt out of the bucket and putting it back on the floor, especially if there's hair involved. And finally, no matter how good your mop is, it cannot get the floor completely dry, nor will it reliably pick up all gross-sized dirt particles. To get them, you have to dry-sweep the floor first, doubling the amount of work.

How might mop technology be improved? I envision a device which is not unlike a carpet steamer. It has clean and dirty water tanks, and a cleaning head with three stages. First you have a dry vacuum; this gets the gross-sized dirt particles that aren't stuck to the floor. Then you have a rotating scrub brush, through which clean soapy water is slowly pumped. Finally, there is a wet vacuum with a rubber squeegee to make sure all the water gets picked up. The water needn't be heated and you don't need nearly as much as a carpet steamer needs, which should mean that the device can be smaller and less awkward than a carpet steamer. It might even be possible to use it as a regular vacuum cleaner (just disable the water supply pump).