Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Disposable World

If you watch any amount of TV you have probably seen the Swiffer commercials. There is the Swiffer Wet Jet, Dry Cloth, even dusters and sweeper vacs.

The commercials go on and on about how much better the Swiffer is than a broom and mop. They say these traditional methods of cleaning the floor simply push dirt around but their product attracts dirt and cleans deep down. They claim it is also is better because mops harbor dirt and germs but the Swiffer has disposable cloth heads so you can throw all the dirt and germs in the trash.
These commercials drive me crazy. This product is not nearly as good as a broom and mop. If you have hard floors anywhere in house and want to use this product you will soon find that it will cost you a small fortune in these disposable cloth heads just to clean your floors once. But the thing is, you will need to keep cleaning your floors week after week, year after year. These small "dirt attracting and locking" cloths become so full of dirt so quickly that they begin to just push dirt around. The very thing they claim to be the problem with brooms and mops.
I picked up one when we were living in our house in North Carolina. The main floor was all hard floors and having never seen a Swiffer in real life I listened to the commercial claims and thought it sounded good. I had no concept of how little those cloths would hold. It took only a few seconds of use to find out that this was nothing but a huge scam and a massive waste of money and products. Since I had already purchased the item I wanted to still be able to use it as a mop. I noticed that the disposable cloths were simply pushed into 4 fastening points on top of the cleaning surface shell. I figured I could use regular washable cotton terry cloths instead of the disposable ones Swiffer sells. For years now I've been using that same Swiffer shell and washing the my own cloths every time I use them.
It's easy, it's green, it's cheap. What more do you want?
I hate that so many products on the market are like the Swiffer. They are wasteful, expensive and try so very hard to convince us that their product address a need that doesn't exist. There is nothing wrong with cleaning floors with a mop. You can go just about anywhere and purchase any kind of broom and a mop with a washable cleaning surface and your floors will be clean. Just as clean as they would get using dozens of those stupid Swiffer cloths.
I've begun to hate the word disposable and how it has invaded our world. Whenever I see it now, I see red flags and start asking myself does this need to be disposable? Often the answer is no. Though I can see how disposable diapers can be a good thing. However, it would be interesting to do a cost analysis on diaper services vs disposable. Since I don't have kids this isn't something I've looked into.


  1. I hated the Swiffer too! But I love the fact that you are still able to mop with it with your own re-useable washcloths! Great, green idea! =)

  2. My mother used regular diapers and washed them herself but says the problem new Moms have nowadays is they don't buy ENOUGH if they don't use a diaper service or disposables. She kept around 200 diapers CLEAN at any time so you aren't constantly washing the same ones.

    I use dust mops and brooms, but have to admit I do use the Swiffer wetjet mops when I don't have the energy to do a real mop job on my floors.
    It IS wasteful, but it is the best compromise I can do with my own limitations. I just can't heft the bucket of water around much anymore! But it does not substitute for really mopping your floors either.

  3. If you crochet, or know someone who does, crocheted cotton makes a great swiffer cover.