What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

02 March 2012

Take That, Swiffer!

In case you didn't have the privilege of growing up with excessively frugal parents, Depression-era grandparents, or (like me) both, I'm going to tell you the first rule of life with cheapskates:

If you throw away anything that still has some life left in it, you're in BIG trouble.

More on that in a minute. First, let me give you a brief rundown on the mop situation at Chez Cheeky. After working our way through a variety of really flimsy, really useless sponge mops through the years, we finally broke down about two years ago and got a Swiffer starter set to see what all the fuss was about.

The rag crate and the Swiffer at the
beginning of the process. And my
washing machine, which was the
scene of the crazy.
I have to say: Swiffer makes a great product. It really works. And the mop frame itself holds together better than any Wal-Mart special that I've ever bought. But, my cheapskate frugal self refuses to buy the proper refills of anything they sell-- once the little bottle of cleaner that came with it ran out, I mixed up Pine-Sol and water in a spray bottle to pre-spray the floor before mopping. (I wanted to put the solution directly back into the little bottle, but the directions say that can cause leaks.) Our starter kit also came with a massive box of the cleaning pads, and my plan was just to use rags once those ran out. Which took two years.

Here's where the never-throw-away thing finally paid off: I pulled out my crate of rags to find one that would work. The bottom surface of a Swiffer is Velcro-y, so things will stick to it a bit, but I was looking for something that wouldn't get too bunched up or slide off while I was mopping. I tried a long-sleeved t-shirt:

And I think that would work, but I would want to cut off the cuffs and probably use two sleeves, one covering each end of the mop head, with some overlap in the middle. But I was not done experimenting yet, so next I tried the a leg from a pair of Chad's old sweats.

Because this was the lower end of the leg, the entire thing wrapped round the mop head without the handle getting in the way. Plus, the Velcro stuck to the fleecy material really well. I cut it off and repositioned it on the mop head:

And then clipped it into place. All ready to go!

And if you've been keeping an eye on my washing machine timer, yes, it took me less than four minutes to do this. It's a good thing I recorded it for posterity, because I would have sworn it took longer.

So, did it work? Happily, yes. The material stayed in place, it picked up the dirt, and when one side got saturated with cleaner I slid it off, flipped it around, and then re-clipped it to finish mopping. Perfect! I'm sure the good people at Swiffer would prefer that I buy their approved refill sets, but I'm even more sure that my parents and grandparents will be very happy that I managed to learn something about reusing.

Do you have a Swiffer? Or, even better: Do you have a clever reusing story to share? I'm always looking for ideas!


Kathy Orr said...

Don't know if this is what your parents/grandparents told you, but this was one of my mother's favorites...

Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or do without!!

Anonymous said...

Reusing story....yes..... you know all those odd socks you end up with after one gets a hole in it or the dryer eats its brother....they make great dusters. Just stick your hand in the sock, give it a shot of pledge or endust or whatever you use and away you go..just remember not to wash them with the socks you can still wear..lol...then you have to resort the lot all over again.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Su
I was always looking to save. But now arthritis rules my life and I'm looking for ease. Sorry I haven't been around much. I'm recovering from a long illness.

erica and christy said...

You made me remember my grandma, who would wash and reuse aluminum foil. :)

mshatch said...

that is a great idea! I hate having things that require you to buy other throw away things to keep the first things working. I may just buy a swiffer now :)

Liz said...

I found a knitting pattern for a Swiffer mop cover. If I ever get a Swiffer (not much point as the house is mostly carpeted), I'll have to knit one.

Su said...

@Kathy: I actually never heard that until I was an adult, but it's one of my favourite expressions now.

@Delores: Yes! I only put ones with holes in the rag bag, though, for that reason... I'd forget which socks were which otherwise!

@NR: Oh, no! I'm glad you're on the road to recovery!

@erica: I have tried SO HARD to wash foil, but I do not seem to have the knack. I have to recycle it, because I can never get it clean without tearing it.

@mshatch: I hear you! I had to make the whole plan up in the store before I would buy it. :)

@Liz: That's brilliant! I'm might just look for one, if the sweatpants route doesn't work out for me.

Will said...

Holy crap, I never thought of that! We just try to use the Swiffer for urgent jobe (usually toddler-related), and regular mop for the average cleaning.

Su said...

Ah, toddler-related jobs. That sounds like quite a long list.

Laraine Eddington said...

I am always on a quest for the perfect mop. I think what I really need is the perfect person to mop for me.

Su said...

I like the way you're thinking.