Are You Cleaning Your Floors With Dollar Bills? Great Swiffer® Alternatives!

10 Feb

ImageSwiffer®  style dry & wet mops are a great improvement over previous mop styles for cleaning most flooring, but they have their drawbacks too. Don’t throw them out just yet, I’ve got some great inexpensive, health & eco-friendly alternatives, including recipes, you can use with your existing Swiffer® equipment that you are going to love!

I first saw this style about 20 years ago on one of my trips overseas, and I though it was the greatest thing ever. At the time, sponge head roller mops were the height of technology in the US; awkward to wring and impossible to clean & dry the heads properly, not to mention the expensive replacement costs. When I first saw a Swiffer®  about 10 years ago, I ran right out and bought one, only to discover they did not have a removable cloth, but rather a chemical soaked one-use disposable pad!

My friend ran the mop over her floors every evening then just tossed the cloth in with the rest of the wash since there were no chemicals. I, on the other hand, was reduced to cleaning the floors just once a week since I had to use a different pad for each area & the cost really added up fast. You’re not really cleaning, since you are not rinsing, you are just spreading chemicals around on your floor, which then gets tracked all over your house and furniture. Can you imagine the harm you are exposing your kids & pets to as they lay on the floor and put things in their mouths?!

In fact, it is estimated that each year, US & Canadian consumers spend $800 million on cleaning wipes! If all types of disposable wipes consumed annually in North America were loaded into trucks, they will fill 9,000 18-wheel semis, stretching 68 miles! Worst of all most wipes are not biodegradable because of the synthetic fibers, not to mention impregnated with harmful chemicals that pollute our water supply & soil, and currently account for about 22% of landfill waste. See the problem?

So what’s the alternative?

First of all, you will be glad to know you can keep your Swiffer®  equipment. Since they have the pinch style attachment, you can tuck any of these refill suggestions and most are also the exact same size (you can always trim if you need to). You can find multi-packs of all the following items at your local dollar store so you do not have to buy the name brand.

swiffer alternatives dry

Dry/dust mop. Package of 16 Swiffer®  dry cloth refills will run you about $5; for $1 you can get the following generic versions at the dollar store.

  • 10 pack of disposable dry cloth refills. For the times you have to use disposables, like cleaning up after pest fumigation.
  • Handiwipes ®. Usually 6-pack; these are great especially if you need to apply a spray polish & need a flat cleaning head. You can use this as a disposable or hand-wash these.
  • Microfiber cloths. Usually 2-pack; these are best for grabbing dust bunnies & pet hair. You can rub it together to ball & remove most pet hair before tossing it the wash.

swiffer alternatives wet

Wet mop. Depending on the type you buy, a 12 pack Swiffer®  wet refills can set you back about $7. Again, we go to the dollar store to find everything needed.

  • Disposable wet refill. Depending which dollar store, you can usually find these 6-10 per pack. Again, these are for times when you  may be cleaning up something more harmful than the pads themselves.
  • Handiwipes ®. Usually 6-pack; these are usually best for washing tall windows or applying coating to a no-wax floor. Depending on the situation, you can either hand-wash or dispose after using.
  • Microfiber cloths. Usually 2-pack; these are best for almost all situation since you can use either the smooth or napped side. Just throw in the wash afterward.
  • Microfiber dishcloth. This cloth has a napped side which can be flipped over to the  nylon mesh on the back side when you need to scrub. You can throw this in washer, but hang-dry because of the mesh.

swiffer alternatives liquid

Cleaning liquid recipes. In lieu of pads soaked in chemicals or the 42oz cleaning fluid refill that runs about $7, you will be using a spray bottle from the dollar store with a homemade cleaning solution, depending on the surface. CAUTION: NEVER reuse the reservoir or cleaning fluid bottle! This can cause damage to body & property due to fumes, explosion & fire when chemical residue mixes with even natural products! Spray the floor in front of you & mop as you walk backwards. Use a free kitty litter bucket for your rinse water, since it the right size & shape, allowing you to squeeze excess water out by pressing it against the inside wall above the waterline. If you don’t have one, ask the people you know or post a request on Freecycle. Here are some great recipes using simple, inexpensive, & eco-friendly common pantry items.

So stop using dollar bills to clean your floors & use the method that is best for your flooring, health, wallet, and the planet. You’ll be so happy with the results you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!

Good news readers, you can now follow me on Facebook! Simply visit Real Penny Wise and click LIKE. Be sure to SHARE with your friends too.

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2 Responses to “Are You Cleaning Your Floors With Dollar Bills? Great Swiffer® Alternatives!”

  1. Linda February 11, 2013 at 1:34 am #

    Instead of even buying dollar store cleaning cloths, refills etc..I keep all my old stained dishcloths/washcloths…they also fit the swiffer…I use these for wet and dry floor mopping and then just rinse and then rewash them…i also use these for window washing, walls, baseboards etc..and I use them for all my cleaning..I never have to buy disposable refills again 🙂

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