20 - 2009

Make Swiffer WetJet And Sweeper Cheaper And Greener

Last week, I finally broke down and Swiffered. Now, I’m looking for ways to make the Swiffer process a bit greener.

At first, cheap trumps all

Mr. Cheap has been wishing for a Swiffer Wet Jet every time we slop water all around the kitchen with our mop. This month, Rite-Aid had a sale with rebates available on Swiffer. Combined with manufacturer’s coupons and a Swiffer rebate on refills (through 5/15/09), I purchased a WetJet and Sweeper at about 50 percent off.

Upstairs, I have a dust mop that is similar to a Swiffer Sweeper, but I went ahead and got a Swiffer Sweeper to have downstairs. The Sweeper wound up costing me about $3, and I’m hoping that storing it in the laundry room will motivate me to use the wet option to clean my laundry room floor more often.

Making them greener comes next

I’m not thrilled with the disposability of the refills and the chemical solutions, so for the future, I will aim to make these tools eco-friendlier. I have a box of refills to start with, because I wanted to actually use them while I get another system going.

What I did not realize is that apparently, the Swiffer designers have said that the Swiffer is an eco-friendly design as sold, because it eliminates all of the hot water used to mop, clean the mop, etc. Following the article in the previous link, the Inhabitat blog actually interviewed the designer about his claims. The comments contain several interesting points, from “I clean with old T-shirts” to “I think the Swiffer is green.”

In fact, it’s likely you *can* make either of these tools a lot greener. My first stops were these two options:

  • Make your own Swiffer pads. A friend of mine has crocheted a pad, and instructions for a crochetable wet/dry pad — or “Swiffer sock” are here. A commenter on the Inhabitat blog mentioned using rectangles of fleece. For either one, using synthetic material, washed and dried without fabric softener, will maximize static and increase dirt pickup.
  • The Swiffer Wet Jet comes with nifty little bottles that fit right on the machine — and have caps that don’t unscrew like normal lids, so that users assume you must discard the bottles and buy new ones. Fortunately, this quick Instructables tutorial shows how to remove the cap so you can refill with your own solution. (You can use plain water, vinegar and water, diluted Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap or whatever floats your boat.)

The verdict

I was sold when my daughter marched into the kitchen, grabbed some batteries (yes, the Wet Jet takes batteries — which I did not know when I purchased it — and it says you must use non-rechargeable batteries to avoid the risk of explosion!), and fired up the Wet Jet. While we were making dinner, she mopped the entire upstairs of our house and was miffed that we didn’t want her to do the kitchen while we were working in there.

Will the novelty wear off? Most likely yes. But meanwhile, things are looking good on our entry to Swiffer-land.

Do you Swiffer? Ease your guilty conscience here — and share your greenifying tips.

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