The Easiest Way to Make Your Own “Swiffer Cheat”
When the Swiffer first came out, I was dazzled by the commercials. They looked wonderful! They looked magical! I would tell anyone who would listen that I HAD to have a Swiffer. I rhapsodized about it so much that my sister’s boyfriend gave me one for Christmas and I was beside myself with excitement.
I’m extremely prone to marketing. (And also a huge dork.)
The thing about the Swiffer, though, is although it’s a handy thing to have, it’s not some sort of miracle tool. Not the way I wanted it to be, anyway. I wanted it to be a light-weight, non-electric vacuum and mop combined, but… it just isn’t. You can’t replicate the results of a vacuum cleaner and a good old fashioned hands-and-knees floor scrubbing without actually doing all the work. However, I positively LOATHE vacuuming and washing the floors, which is a thing that needs to be done constantly at my house with a toddler, a dog, and an outdoorsy, renovation-doing husband, but I am also abhorrently lazy and will settle for a “lick and a promise” in between the days. It is for this reason that I will keep my little Swiffer on hand.
My original Swiffer was left behind when we moved back to the east coast …and it had broken a few times and been mended, in any case. I didn’t actually have any plans to replace it, but I was at the dollar store one day and realized you could buy them in pieces for a buck a part and Frankenstein them together. This, incidentally, is the first part of your Swiffer Cheat: buy the whole contraption for $2! You can go on from there, if you like, and buy the dollar store cloths for equally cheap, since the Swiffer brand cloths are jarringly expensive (a random google tells me that you can buy 16 Swiffer dry cloths online for $6.29, and 12 wet cloths for $7.99), but my tightfisted soul refuses to fork over that kind of cash for something that is going in the garbage after one or two uses. My original Swiffer collected dust in the closet, completely incorrectly, when I ran out of the initial cloth stash, and I went back to vacuuming and mopping irregularly and scowling at the dirty floors on the off days because I was cheap.
But then one day, when I was wearing a pair of microfiber socks and lamenting the dog hair magically and liberally scattered over the just cleaned floor once again, I realized my irritated stomping was adhering the offending hair to my socks. So I started to shuffle around. And I shuffled all over the house until I had “swept” up all the tumbleweeds (tumblefurs), and then changed my socks. Easier than sweeping! (Also kind of fun, if not dancing on the edge of insanity.) Did you know you can get those socks at the dollar store? And did you know that you can slip one OVER YOUR SWIFFER SWEEPER BASE?? It doesn’t fit like a glove, or anything, but it gets the job done. (Well, to the lick and promise standards, anyway.)
So, that’s Part Two of your Swiffer Cheat: cheap, reusable swiffer cloths, $1 for a pair of socks. Sorted. You can also wrap a normal cleaning rag around your Swiffer and tuck it into the little holes, just like you would a disposable cloth, but I don’t like how it rides over the floor. You get a lot of skipping and bumping which is completely annoying when you are trying to just whip up the mess. The microfibre is nice and zippy, so you can go ahead and dance around your kitchen with it. (Told you I was a dork.)
When it comes to wet cleaning, however, I don’t like the microfiber as much. If I want to do a little spot cleaning where the dog/kid has dropped food, or where I find one of those random coffee/milk/beer splashes that have managed to be missed until they dried onto the floor, I still use my Frankenswiffer — I just also grab that spray bottle of All-Purpose Cleaner that I told you how to make on Monday — and a knitted cover. The knitted cloths are the best thing for this kind of job because if you use cotton yarn, like I always do (and like most of the patterns out there call for), you get a good scrubby texture that will absorb any excess moisture from the spray bottle. The fitted shape of most of these patterns also means that you just tuck it around your Swiffer for a good fit and a smooth ride, like the socks. Then you just spray, then scrub. No bending down, no wringing out cloths, no mop and bucket. Chuck your knitted cover in the wash when you’re done.
I was working on designing a Swiffer cover knitting pattern myself to post here this week, but alas our house was struck with a horrible epidemic and I wasn’t feeling the knitting (read: we all had colds and I got useless). Fortunately, there are about a million and two free knitting patterns out there on the web which you can find by googling “knitted Swiffer cover”. My favorite pattern is Zoom by Erica Brembos. It’s really easy so any of you knitting newbies need not be afraid to give it a go. Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Yarn
is available in almost every dollar store and certainly at Michael’s, and you don’t need to pay more than $2 for a ball of it. You can definitely knit it up in a weekend. And there you have Part Final of your Swiffer Cheat: knitted covers and a spray bottle!
So there it is, your Swiffer Cheat in three pretty simple steps and for less than $10! Still with me? Not bored to death yet?
Wow. It’s good to know I’m not alone in Dorkville.
Have you already created your own Swiffer cheat or floor cleaning shortcuts? We’d love to hear about it!