Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Re-usable Swiffer inserts

The original good idea

Like most people who have wood floors, I love the original Swiffer sweeper.  Like most conservationists, I think the idea of buying a box of Swiffer sheets (to be used briefly and then discarded) is a ridiculous idea.  These days there is even an electric Swiffer out there, which uses a charger to run a little motor that sucks things into a dixie cup-sized dust container, in exactly the same way a vacuum does.  Except, unlike a vacuum, it stays plugged into its charger when not in use, and therefore uses electricity 24 hours a day.  Seems like a big price to pay to pick up Fluffy's pet hair. There is also a Swiffer mop available, which uses batteries (I think) to run something that squirts floor cleaner on the floor before you mop, so you don't have to... or something like that.

This is just one of the many times a company has found themselves with a successful product and then ruined the whole idea by taking it up a notch or two (or ten). 

Seriously, what a Swiffer floor cleaner has always been best at is removing what remains after you've given your floor a thorough sweeping with a broom.  It picks up the leftover stuff that's impossible to catch with either a broom or dustpan, like flyaway dust-bunnies (which in our house are more the size of dust mastedons), ash, fabric fluff and pet hair. 

Made better with a washable electrostatic cloth

But, if you go ahead and buy one of those old-fashioned, 10 dollar original Swiffers, you can easily attach a washable, re-usable electrostatic cloth to the Swiffer instead of their sheets, and use the same cloths over and over, shaking them out and/or washing them in between uses.  That not only saves money, but also energy and paper.  

The electrostatic cloths are available in most supermarket cleaning-supply aisles.  They're quite cheap; under $5 American for a package of three. They also work great as regular old, dustclothes, thereby eliminating the need for, you guessed it,  a Swiffer duster (which features plastic handles and non-reusable dusting attachments).

In other words, it may be a Swiffer world, but you don't necessarily have to live in it as their parent corporation would probably like you to, constantly trolling the aisles of your favorite store looking for refills of their products.

The Swiffer is a good idea...but that doesn't mean it can't be made better.

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