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How to Eco-Hack Your Swiffer Mop

How to Eco-Hack Your Swiffer Mop

By Sayward Rebhal of Bonzai Aphrodite for Networx

You know which household chore sucks the most? Oh, dusting? Yeah, youíre probably right. But this one comes in a close second.


Boy howdy, is there anything more frustrating? I think not.

When I first lived on my own I used the mop that came with the house. NOT the highest quality of cleaning supplies, I probably donít have to tell you. The mop was one of those old rag-head models, with permanently-grey fibers that sort of always smelled like stale goldfish water. I would announce to my roommates, ďDonít come into the kitchen for a while, Iím going to move wet dirt around the floor!Ē It never felt like I actually cleaned the floor.

Then, in my early-20s, Swiffer released that fancy-shmancy bright and shiny new wonder mop. It was like paper towels, but for the floor! It was always clean! It had jet sprays of chemical freshness!

The lady who loathed mopping that lived inside of me Ė she was intrigued. But that dang hippie who had taken up residence in the fore of my brain? She said no way. No disposable, toxin-misting mop of eco-destruction would be entering my home. Not a chance.

So I didnít get my new mop just then. But flash forward a few years, and I found myself living as a proud new owner in my first real home, with my fiancť. And somewhere along the way – between the moving and the mixing and the hand-me-downs – we had acquired this Swiffer-style mop.

My precious.

Once I had it in my hands, it wasnít hard to imagine the green conversion. In fact it was simple, it was as if that little bugger was begging for an eco-makeover. Hereís what I did:

1. Replace the disposable pads with washable fabric. For me, this was simply a matter of cutting an old bath towel into small rectangles. The terry cloth fastens onto the mop head just exactly the same way as the paper would (see photo). Easy peasy.

2. Save the empty chemical canister; re-fill it with DIY cleanser. I fill mine up with straight white vinegar, undiluted. (Vinegar kills bacteria.) You can add essential oils or lemon juice or castile soap or fairy dust or whatever else it is you like to clean with.

I use my modified mop all the time, and now the chore doesnít feel like so much of, well, a chore! Okay, maybe it still does, but at least Iím no longer just watching dirty water sloshing around my kitchen. My bathroom tiles shine beautiful and bright, and my bamboo flooring in my Portland home looks so clean you could eat off of it. Which is what my toddler routinely does, and which is all I really care about these days. So good enough for me, I say!

Sayward Rebhal writers for Remodeling Networx. Get home & garden ideas like this on Networx.

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6:45AM PST on Feb 17, 2013

There are videos on Youtube for hacking Swiffer mops. I too switched to Rubbermaid because it is the tool which is the work horse and no gimmicky solutions, batteries, or pads. I have taken the time to make my own replaceable cloth heads/pads, I like having a good supply, as I have two Beagles, not using the same cloth for the bathroom as the kitchen and the occasional Beagle barf is a plus for me. Then there is the ability to wax the floor with the same tool with a dedicated cloth head, I find priceless. I gave my battery, pad, eating Swiffer to a new neighbor, bachelor, young and foreign...! I am so bad…

6:21PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Great idea - will tell my neighbor, who has one of those Swiffer things. Thanks to all the Care2 contributors for their suggestions too.

8:19AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Thank you Chaya, for Sharing this!

8:14AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Use any old fabric (old towels, t-shirts, flannelette nightgowns) cut into rectangles. Also use just the business end to clean bathroom tile...spray on Windex or vinegar water or ammonia water and wipe with shortened, fabric-covered pad

2:08AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

interesting thanks

1:21AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Thank you.

1:31PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

I, too have hacked my Swifter, but when it needs to be replaced I will purchase the similar one made by Rubbermaid. No need to hack it! It comes with cloth mop heads and an easily fillable solution container and instructions to make your own solutions. Neat!

6:31PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

I've been thinking of getting a Shark, don't really know how it compares to a Swiffer. Do you know if these same hacks would work for it?

10:12AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

I eco-hacked my Swiffer to the degree that I could put water in the bottle instead of that gross "cleaning" solution. But I was still throwing out the pads, which seemed SO wasteful. I ended up buying a Norwex microfiber mop, which is a really great mop but was really expensive to buy ($125!). Replacement mop pads are $40 apiece and mine were 4 years old so I was looking for something cheaper and in looking around I discovered that e-cloth has what is an essentially similar mop (same quality, minor differences in design), for $40 for the base and a wet pad. Their replacement pads are $14 apiece. What is AWESOME is that they fit on my Norwex mop base. But if I was buying a new microfiber mop, I would totally go with the e-cloth one.

6:58PM PST on Feb 12, 2012

That is so awesome!!!!!!! Thanks for the idea!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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