Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Keeping House

Having a reasonably clean house is really important to me. I am just one of those people who can’t function when the house is dirty. I am not obsessed with it and it doesn’t have to be spotless, but it has to be neat. The kitchen is really the hub of our home, and if the counter tops are cleared off, the dishes are done and the floor is clean, I am happy.

Now, if you live in the country, as we do, have a lot of dogs, as we do, and visiting grandchildren, as we do, keeping the floors clean can be a challenge. One thing that does make this chore easier is the Swiffer® – I have to tell you, I LOVE the concept of the Swiffer® .Unfortunately, disposable Swiffer® pads just don’t mean my criteria for frugality – they are expensive and add to the clutter in the landfill, something we try to avoid. Swiffer® fluid is expensive and, at least on my floors, leaves a filmy residue.

So I decided that I would go back to my old way of damp mopping with a string mop and a squirt bottle of my preferred cleaning solution. The string mop head is removable and therefore washable, which is wonderful. However, it doesn’t get into the corners very well, it picks up little twigs and sticks which are impossible to remove and it tends to leave little bits of the cotton on the floor after it’s been used a while, which means you have to sweep again after you mop.

This was unsatisfactory to me, also. I like to get my work done in the best way possible, with as little effort as possible. This means I have more energy to use on the projects where a lot of effort is necessary. And that started me thinking about how to get my floors clean with the least amount of time, money and effort and still have nice, clean, shiny floors.

That chain of thought brought me back to the Swiffer®. I started looking for ways to make covers for the Swiffer® instead of using the disposable pads. Looking online, I found several links for handmade, re-useable, washable Swiffer® covers. You can sew, knit or crochet covers or you can even buy re-useable covers for the Swiffer® Wet-Jet (the one with the batteries) or the regular Swiffer® which is mostly just a handled stick with a head for the cover. This is a great option of you don’t want to be using batteries to run the Swiffer® You would just squirt your cleaning fluid of choice out of a bottle. An old dish soap or shampoo bottle would work well for this. Here are some links to get you started –

Zoom Swiffer Cover (pdf)

Biffer Shrug (pdf)

Old Socks as Swiffer Covers 

Swiffer Cover Sewing Pattern

These are all great, easy, fast patterns. Personally, I lean toward sewing the covers, since I like to reserve my knitting time for socks, sweaters, etc. I use old, stained terry cloth dishcloths or washclothes and I use velcro to attach the sewn cover, rather than using buttons.

For those of you who still prefer the battery powered Swiffer® Wt-Jet, even if we save money on the hand-made covers, there is still the issue of the Swiffer® cleaning fluid. How do you get the top off the bottle to refill the bottle with your preferred cleaning solution, and still get the cap back on right so you can mount the bottle on the handle properly? This stumped me, since the bottle cap does not just come off and I thought there had to be some magical combination to make it work. Or worse, they just did not come off and you always had to buy a new one. Period.

After searching online, I found an great “instructable” video on how to remove the bottle caps and make those Swiffer® bottles reusable! It is simple and very do-able. BTW, this site has a ton of other “instructable” videos – be careful you don’t get lured into spending a couple hours looking at all the great ideas!

How to remove the cap on a Swiffer Wet-Jet cleaner bottle. - More DIY How To Projects

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