Dear Swiffer, I Love You, But We Have to Talk ...

Megan Van Schaick

swifferSwiffer, you know I love you. The way you glide across my floors, picking up all that dog hair and the occasional Honey Nut Cheerio. I love your WetJet. I love your duster. Your extendable arm. If it were possible, I'd jet you off to Rome for a day of limoncello and delectable gelato.

But here's the thing. You're around for a day at most, sometimes just a few minutes, and then you're gone, off to the great Swiffer-land in the sky. And you take my money with you. You haven't even bothered to offer me a partnership in the company, not a single share of stock.

I added it up, Swiffer, and I'm spending more than $150 every few months on you. I am not your sugar-mama, Swiffer, I am not.

swiffer diySo this is it. We're done. I've found other options and I'm going to tell everyone I know about it, about how you are secretly useless, about how you unnecessarily fill our landfills and about how much more I could do with the money I've been spending on you and how everyone I know can do it, too. 

Prepare for a mass break-up Swiffer, because I'm changing my tune. I'll be making my own supplies from now on. Oh, yes, WetJet, too ...

I started looking into how I could make my own Swiffer products. My first thought was (don’t laugh!) either maxi pads or disposable diapers to go in my WetJet. After all, if you take a close look at those Swiffer pads, they really look a lot like … diapers.  A bit of double-sided tape and on it went! And to my surprise ... it worked. Even better? I can get a box of 200 diapers for about $40, instead of shelling out $25 for just 48 Swiffer pads -- that’s 20 cents a diaper vs. $2 a Swiffer.

That didn’t solve my problem of the dusters and mop, so I did some creative thinking and came up with a method that worked for me (which mostly included copying Swiffer).    

The first step is to pick your fabric. I chose to hit up the fabric store and Goodwill to find fleece -- it’s super cheap in the fabric stores (and just think, you could have seasonal Swiffer covers!) and needless to say, at the thrift stores, fleece clothing is practically free.
Others have made mop heads out of old sweaters (you’ll find that wool adds a bit of abrasiveness) and old t-shirts, as well as dollar-store microfiber cloths or washcloths.

For covering the mop head, you need to have enough fabric to run the length and width of the mop head in one go – the goal is to get your clean on, not make a designer quilt.

You may also want to get some self-stick Velcro, or sew-on Velcro, if you feel like a bit of extra sewing.

Mop Head
Using one of your disposable pads for a pattern, cut the pieces of felt -- you may want to sew two or three pieces together to get that extra padding. Attach the Velcro so that it lines up with your Swiffer, stick it on and get to Swiffering!

For the mop head style that includes pockets, you’ll simply want to cut your fabric longer, then fold it over to form pockets that match your Swiffer version, and sew right up the sides (see photo at top). Because I hate to sew, I tried making these with Stitch Witchery, which is an iron-on adhesive - and not only did it hold up through use on the Swiffer but held up in the washer. (If you've ever bought Ikea curtains, it's the same stuff that comes with those for hemming.)

The best part of this is that when you are done cleaning, the felt pad just goes straight into the washer -- and when it comes out the other end, it's ready to be used again!

The technique here is almost exactly the same as above. Use one of your Swiffer brand dusters as a pattern, and cut your fleece to the right sizes, making sure to leave plenty of room outside the seams that will hold the actual dusting tool. Once you’ve sewn all the seams, use a pair of scissors to cut a fringe into the extra fabric -- you can make everything the same width or alter them.

Blogger Merwing Little Dear has a fantastic tutorial on putting one of these dusters together. (And I know it looks intimidating, but I am a non-sewer and I whipped this up in no time!) As with the mop heads, as soon as you are done, toss the head in the washer and go!

Swiffer WetJet Fluid
Little did I know that there would be so much Internet chatter on WetJet Fluid. I’ve never had any trouble refilling my bottles with the floor cleaner of my choice (usually water, vinegar and tea tree oil). If, for some reason you can’t get your Swiffer bottle open, you can try running the screw-top lid under hot water for a few minutes to loosen the adhesive. Others have gone so far as to use a bolus syringe (the big fat ones) to pour their own liquid into the container.

Unofficial word has it that the Clorox version of the Swiffer WetJet has a reusable container.

Me? I got rid of my WetJet altogether -- it was just another thing in the closet. Now, if I need WetJet action, I use a spray bottle to spritz the floor in front of me and then hit it with my fleecy Swiffer.

That's all there is to it! I'm completely broken of my dependence on the Swiffer (and without the use of a 30-day program, to boot). Give one of these a try -- if you don't want to go to the trouble of sewing, just use rubber bands to hold the fabric on the first time -- I can't wait to hear how it goes for you!


Images via, MerwingLittleDear/Flickr

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