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When I moved into my flat late on last year it was no surprise to find amidst all of the cheaply purchased consumables and household appliances that I was left with a distinctly cheap floor mop that looked like it had seen better days despite only being used once! I'm sure you know the kinds; long straggly chequered thin foam ribbons being stapled to a long plastic pole and every once in a while when the mop is made to lay flat on the floor, you'll hear the uncomfortable sound of the nuts that hold the ribbons in, scratch the floor. Plus, are they ever clean in their white colouring? No! I kept up the pretence for a couple of weeks before going for a more trusted Addis mop, a sponge mop I've always preferred over the stringy mop style, but by no means perfect when long term endless scrubbing, wringing out and disintegration occurs whilst replacements up to the cost of £4 have to be found.
Then I discovered the E-Cloth mop. I had seen a demonstration of this mop product from Lakeland shops in Glasgow and later on in the year in Edinburgh at John Lewis and having seen what they do "without the need for detergents," on hard floors I was immediately hooked by the very idea as the microfibre cloths can be ripped off their velcro holders and whipped into a washing machine to be reused time and time again. In this respect it puts it in direct design links with Hometek's Steam upright cleaners that use similar cloths. I adore all kinds of Microfibre; they speed up cleaning, are great for polishing but most importantly, Microfibre cloth is usually re-washable and longer lasting. Sometimes I use detergents on this style of cleaning cloth and sometimes I don't - the fact that you can machine wash Microfibre generally to bring the sponges and micro-pickers back to their original state (avoid fabric conditioner though as this destroys their design) is another cost saving advantage.
In the "environmentally friendly," pack, you'll find a small cardboard sleeve that holds the actual mop and two replacement cleaning Microfibre pads. I was initially delighted to find that the pole is height adjustable to around 1.3 metres by way of a twist mechanism and even for my 6ft height; I find the pole has to be adjusted to lower it down a little when in use. Everything is made up and "ready to go" although you may need to screw in the handle and pole if purchased from Argos. The handle at the top is ribbed for extra grippiness and has a hanging hole already incorporated. The whole product is PVC and metal based, extremely durable and sturdy. The E-Cloth Mop can also be turned in a complete 360° rotational axis, which speeds up cleaning time and ensures every iota of hard flooring gets cleaned. A low flat floor head also means it is easy to get under low areas. For a while the E-Cloth Mop was only available on the high street at Lakeland and then later, John Lewis. Argos is now selling this mop, which increases popularity, and the whole product costs £19-99. Replacement pads at a cost of £6-99 with other options such as a "Deep Clean" cloth are also available.
Luckily the two mop heads are colour differentiated. The dark blue one is the wet cleaning mop head that you can simply attach (after pre-wetting of course with hot water then wringing it out) to the main mop head simply by dropping on the floor and letting the mop's velcro stitchers align with the rectangular perimeter of velcro "fluff." This also ensures the mop heads never come off in use. A white mop head that acts as the dry head also buffs hard floors after wet cleaning can similarly be installed. Both mop heads have a tab on the Velcro backing to show which one is which and both can be washed on a 90° machine wash program but not tumble dried. I'm strongly reminded here of the Karate Kid films in the "wipe on, wipe off" formula replaced by E-Cloth's "wet on, dry off," formula! Two different cloths with two different cleaning uses.
A minor problem I find is with the E-Cloth Mop's size and a major problem with its cleaning principle. Each mop head measures 45cm length by 13cm width and both my kitchen and bathroom floors have around 87cm (kitchen) to 71cm width (bathroom). This means compact cleaning at the best of times and although the E-Cloth is easy to manage thanks to its 360° rotational axis, getting into corners because of its large length isn't as easy as it sounds. Excess parts of the mop heads are exposed at the sides to help with skirting boards but it also means you can step on the mop head to rip it off without touching it and if needed, changing the mop head to the dry type. The size of the E-Cloth is one problem; cleaning with it is the next.
After the first use with the E-Cloth I was delighted with this product. The whole mop is beautifully featherweight light to lift, doesn't feel cheap and has no wheels on the product to aid gliding - all it needs is the wet pad constantly wet-damp to pick up dirt from dirty floors and the blue pad's scrubby texture is supposed to remove ingrain dirt and stubborn stains. However, that's where the problems begin - after spending a good couple of minutes washing the floor with the blue pad, it started off light to push & pull with the whole floor being left wet in minutes and with a couple of sweeps could see stubborn stains starting to shift. Eventually I felt confident in ripping the pad off and throwing it into the washing machine without actually looking at the dirt it had picked up. The wet pad leaves floors wet though and it is easy to see where streaks happen because of the associated width of the mop head at each side. The blue pad is designed to wash floors but I found it didn't pick up grains of dust easily, often sliding crumbs around instead of picking them up and letting it stick to the Microfibre cloth. The floor gleamed and shone though and for the most part I assumed my floor was clean. Next, I put the white pad on the floor and lowered the mop onto the white pad to dry the floor. What I got next, I wasn't expecting! After going over the wet floor and looking at the white "drying" cloth, the whole pad had turned completely black. If the white pad is supposed to dry the floor, what the hell has the blue one been doing?? The white mop has a softer built up fleece feel to it - in theory it should be the blue cloth that is picking up the dirt but its colour also means it is harder to see the dirt after use.
Compromised by my kitchen and bathroom floor sizing, I was adamant I was not going to chuck this mop away, especially at the cost of £20 and periodically for a couple of months I'd go again with the E-Cloth Mop only finding that despite the claim of using water only to aid cleaning, a quick spray of 151's non-toxic Elbow Grease agent got the dirt up on the blue pad far more quickly. Then having to switch the white pad over to dry the flooring otherwise my kitchen floor will sit wet for 15 minutes before it gets a chance to air dry or quicker results with the white pad began to annoy me. It is this constant change over of pads I don't like doing which adds to the drying up time aspect if the white pad isn't used. Cleaning with water is one thing but the blue pad has to be constantly warm to hot watered to ensure stubborn dirt is moved; otherwise you may be rubbing away for an hour! This is where a electric/mains powered steam mop makes a lot more sense. Although associated problems with some design and poor mop fitting elements, a steam upright brings up a lot more dirt than the E-Cloth using hot water alone that eventually goes cold. Using cold tap water on the blue E-Cloth pad makes no sense to me for example and the previous hot cloth that goes cold didn't pick up much dirt when used. For the most part, the softer white fleece pad picks up dust and hair far more efficiently even though it is supposed to dry/buff and polish floors. Things have improved but only because I now have to vacuum the hard floor areas before I go to wet mop; with my Hometek Elite steam upright, there's no need to vacuum; dirt sticks to the pads and once it's on the pad, it stays there throughout the whole cleaning session.
However as fate would allow, my E-Cloth has been given a new lease of life as a most unexpected use in the bathroom - although the mop is easy to get around the toilet and then have to change the mop to white to dry the floors and see the expected hairs and dust being picked up, my E-Cloth now gets used to clean the walled tilling that covers one half of my bathroom wall. I have no windows in my bathroom and all I have is a noisy old fan that disperses the steam (and dust builds up on the vent; Sebo vacuum time!) I have never been able to clean tiles easily until now though. The mop's height is wonderful to take advantage of in this respect as well as keeping the shower spray on hot so that the wet pad gets a better chance of cleaning the white tiles and bringing them up to a pristine condition. Having the pivotal neck on the base of the mop means that I don't have to stand in the bath to clean the tiles and I don't have to move the shower screen out of the way. The E-Cloth Mop also rules supreme for cleaning windows since its height adjustable pole can be shortened or lengthened as desired.
In all terms of cleaning above the floor line for bathroom or kitchen tiles and quick hair removal on hard floors, the E Cloth Mop is a good product to consider. A lot of claims are available on the company website although this mop will not ensure 100% optimum hygiene; it can prevent bacteria. On design alone, the pivotal neck and machine washable pads are a boon to consider (the mop heads have a 300 reusable and re-washable claim) over using detergents and traditional mops that are less hygienic and in some cases difficult to source replacement pads. However for optimum hard floor cleaning without having to change over pads, in my opinion an electric steam upright cleaner is better in this respect. Changing from one pad to the next for hard floor cleaning isn't something I cherish; one pad should do it all. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2010
I bought this mop set after reading some reviews on DooYoo for other products in the E Cloth range. For those that don't know, one of my housemates this year has three cats, and he was a bit concerned that the Flash floor mop we'd been using was making the cats sick. I was more than willing to look for an alternative because the Flash mop is next to rubbish, and is also really expensive because of the disposable floor pads and large containers of Flash it requires.
So I had a look on Amazon and was pleased to find this E Cloth Mop Set. At just under £20, it's the same price in Lakeland so off I trotted to pick one up.
The set comes in surprisingly little packaging; just a bit of plastic to keep the bottom end of the mop clean and in place, so it wasn't too difficult for me to get into. You get a mop handle with a long, slim metal head attached (it has Velcro on the underneath), a Dry mop head (white) and a Wet mop head (blue). There are instructions which tell you how to adjust the handle and take care of the heads.
I was really impressed by the quality of everything. The mop is light and has an adjustable handle, which you twist and then twist back at your desired height. It then clicks firmly into place and remains sturdy no matter how hard you push the mop.
The mop heads are very thick and have soft fleecy backing. Each has a small ribbon loop to hang it up and an embroidered label to remind you whether it's the wet one or the dry one. They are machine washable but don't use fabric softener when washing.
To use, you simply attach the fleece side to the Velcro on the bottom of the mop, and you're ready to go. If you're using the wet mop head, you need to dampen the blue head before attaching (I tend to put mine under the cold tap and then wring it out). If it's too wet or dry, it won't work properly. The fronts of the mop heads have lots of fibres, and pushing the mop across the floor picks up the dirt easily. They're actually quite similar to towel fabric, and feel nice and soft.
So, did it live up to my expectations? The answer is - yes, absolutely! I have lino in my bathroom and kitchen, laminate in the conservatory and living room, and proper wood in all the upstairs rooms. The mop was great on all of these surfaces, and picked dirt up (with fibres 1/100 width of a human hair) rather than pushing dirt around. I didn't have to go around with a cloth on my hands and knees afterwards. They pick up stains, hair - everything! The biggest challenge was the kitchen floor - it's a light colour, old and very difficult to clean. But I got tons of dirt up and I'll buying an E Cloth Deep Clean mop head to deal with it completely. Muddy footprints - and paw prints - came up easily, spilled liquids (pasta sauce maybe?) were easy to clean even when dried on. Stubborn marks will need more pushes, but will go. The white mop head is particularly good for dusting, and as the handle extends you can reach ceilings and corners easily.
Storing the mop is easy - my old Flash cleaner was big and cumbersome. There's no way I'd keep it in my small kitchen. But the E Cloth mop is so light and small, I rested it against the wall after cleaning and completely forgot about it as it takes up so little space. You can also minimise the handle for an even smaller footprint.
One of my main concerns was the washing machine aspect - I thought I'd have to buy a ton of mop heads to clean my house and then have the hassle of machine washing them. Actually I found that straight after cleaning you can rinse most of the dirt out of the mop head under the tap at least two or three times before you actually need to put it in the washing machine. I tend to throw them in with other household fabrics like the bath mats, shower curtain and cloths. The heads dry pretty quickly as well.
As I mentioned before, you can buy a Deep Clean mop head for this set, which I'm going to buy after pay day. You can also buy extra Dry and Wet heads as a pack of two for around £10, or separately for about £6 on Amazon. They do sound expensive, but remember these are optional. This cleaner will also save you money in the long run because you don't have to buy chemical cleaners and disposable mop heads or floor pads. My Flash mop cost me about £4 for a pack of five mop heads (which would do about 3-4 rooms), and then the liquid I think was about £3 a bottle, which lasted a couple of months. So far I've saved about £15 with the E Cloth mop as I've not had to buy that stuff. Plus I don't have the added cost of cloths as I always needed to clean up again after the Flash mop just pushed the dirt around.
More importantly, the cats are fine with the E Cloth mop, and it makes me feel better because I'm not putting chemicals on the floor. Their eyes go all big and starey when they see me pushing it around, and they aren't sure what to make of it yet but at least their stomachs have settled. My floors look shiny, and before I was worried about the effects chemicals might have on them over time, and effective cleaning with just water and an E Cloth is much better for both my wood and laminate. Also, I'm not throwing away endless plastic bottles (no plastic recycling in my area) and thick used floor pads. The only disadvantage in my opinion is that the blue floor pad could do with being lighter so you can see how much dirt is on it more easily.
So to summarise:
Advantages - It's an investment with a pretty big initial cost, but it will save you a lot of money in the long term. It's better for your floors and pets/children. It's more environmentally friendly than chemicals, and there's nothing to throw away after. It does the job very well. You can buy extra heads and different kinds of heads to suit you. It can be used on any indoor floor except probably carpets. It's easy to store and there are clear instructions.
Disadvantages - Initial cost may be a lot for some. There are other cheaper alternatives on the market (though I haven't tried them so can't comment). The blue mop head could do with being a lighter colour.