Swiffers, it’s a love hate relationship!

I think that it is safe to say that at this point, most people have tried a Swiffer of one kind or another.  I really like using my Swiffer, it’s convienient, it’s lightweight, and best of all the kids can use it with ease.  So what is the hate part of this relationship?  The cost!  I purchased a Swiffer Mop not too long after we moved into the house we live in now.  It has hard surface floors throughout more than half the house, so I rationalized that this was good investment.  It wasn’t!  The mop refill only cleaned my floors one time.  So, let’s run the numbers shall we?  (I took my pricing information from Amazon.com.) So, the mop itself cost $21.99.  Now, this is a starter kit, so it does come with one bottle of cleaning solution and 2 cleaning pads.  So, there we have the initial investment.  Now, on my floors I was using 1 pad, average replacement cost is 58 cents per pad, and an entire bottle of solution, at $3.99.  Bringing my total to $4.57, before lovely taxes.  So, aside from my initial investment, I was also spending $4.57 each time I mopped my floor, which is about 3 times per week (minimum) for a grand total $13.71, just for kicks..that’s $54.84 a month and $658.08 per year.  I can think of a lot of better things to spend $658.08!  So, lets check out an equally convientient, but less expensive alternative.  First of all, I picked up my current Swiffer (a Max even!) at my local Habitat Restore for $3.00.  So that is my initial investment.

This is the first time I’ve ever had a Swiffer Max and I think I like it. For mopping I use the regular Swiffer, not the mop.

Instead of using the disposable pads, I use rags.  I found that a washcloth fits the regular size Swiffer perfectly.  I just use my old dishrags, or cut up old, hole-ridden towels to fit.  The Swiffer Max takes a bigger rag, more like a hand towel size.  The benefit here is that I didn’t have to pay for the rags, I already had them on hand.  Also, they just go in the laundry hamper with all the other kitchen laundry and get washed up.  So there is no waste, good for me, good for the environment. 

So, I just wrap the rag around the bottom of the Swiffer, and push it down into the little groves on the top, like so…

Here’s what it looks like…..

It’s not terribly attractive, but saving money is always a beautiful thing.

Ok, cleaning solution.  I only use distilled vinegar on my floors.  Vinegar naturally kills mold, bacteria, and neutralizes odors, and is not harsh like some chemicals. It is also safe for children and pets.  Some people dislike the smell of vinegar, but it only lasts a few minutes.  Let’s talk numbers again, shall we? (Like you have a choice).  I buy vinegar in a 1 gallon jug at a cost of $1.69.  I estimate that I use about 1/4 cup of vinegar in my spray bottle, and then top it off with water, for an estimated cost of 2 cents.  I can easily mop all of my hard surface floors with one bottle of cleaner, and I usually have some left over.  So, to compare the “operating” cost of the Frugal Swiffer at 2 cents per use, to the Original Swiffer’s operating cost of $4.57.  I believe the Frugal Swiffer wins, coming in at about 6 cents per week, 24 cents per month and $24.00 per year.  Keep in mind I didn’t add in additional cost of cleaning the rags, simply becasue they go in with another load of laundry, not their own.

So, as I said I add about 1/4 cup of vinegar to a spray bottle, and top it off with water. 

Then, I spray down the pad, and give the floor a light misting, as I go.

The results are great!  Here is a before of my kitchen floor…..

and the after…

No sticky residue, no harsh chemicals, and not a ton of effort either.  Most things come right up with the vinegar, and for more stubborn spots, I spray some vinegar on and let it sit for a minute, then it wipes right up.

Mop on!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cyndi August 30, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Hey girl,
It cracks me up that you posted this I was JUST talking about this with my mom. I have a swiffer WETJET and I really like it. But not the cost..so…here is what I did today. Instead of buying the box of velcroish adhesives pads…I used……I pad…like a maxi pad..it’s totally the same thing as the “swiffer pad” it just say’s “always” on the box instead :) I know kinda of embarrassing but it did the exact same job. When the canister of the cleaning chemical empties I am just going to refill it with vinegar water with a little bleach. I;ll let you know how it goes… hee hee hee….It’s a good thing my son isn’t old enough to be embarrassed by me yet!

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Windi September 15, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Hey…you guys are cracking me up….I used to mop with a towel and a flat broom….Now I went and got the investment of the Hoover floormate…shouldnt have bought it probably…but it scrubs my floors so good…since I have 2 dogs, one husband, and pre-teen boy, and all of his friends…Oh bt the best part is we live on 5 acres of pasture land….I have not been buying any cleaners except for vinegar and bleach…works great…

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