Saturday, April 30, 2011

Greening the Home

This is supposed to be a knitting blog, right? Well, part of the reason that I knit is because I use cloth diapers and need wool covers for them (but we do lots of other green things). So from now on my blog posts will be peppered with information about environmental issues and other related topics. Of course, I will still post about knitting. 

Our household is pretty eco-friendly in its current state. However, I am always looking for new ways to integrate more environmentally sustainable ideas into our family routine. Our two biggest concerns are conservation of resources, and using products that are safe for both the environment and ourselves.

The recent approval for a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Walmart reaffirmed my belief in our use of safe products. We are label readers, and we try to avoid products that contain SLS, phthalates and BPA (to name a few).

I've modified most of our household cleaning routines to include vinegar, baking soda, water, elbow grease, and a smattering of essential oils like tea tree and rosemary (both have antibacterial properties). I also have on hand some great green products by Naturally It's Clean

However, I have to admit that I've been challenged in the floor cleaning department. I have had an unhealthy love affair with my Swiffer WetJet, it's disposable pads and noxious solution. I use it almost daily for touch ups in the entry way, kitchen and playroom. For deeper cleaning, which is once a week, I get out the bucket and scrub brush with the Floors concentrate from NIC. 

With the passing of Earth Day I made the decision to conquer the psychological hold that the conventional floor products have had on me, and find out what I could do to modify my Swiffer routine.

If you search the web you can find a dozen or more websites with information about how to convert your Swiffer WetJet into a more eco-friendly tool. The do-it-yourself intensity varies, and you can choose which route to go depending upon your own technical skills. I knew that I did not have time to mess around with trying to sew my own reusable pads, so I started hunting Etsy to see what I could find. 

There are several shops on Etsy that sell pads or covers for both the Swiffer WetJet and the dry Sweeper. Most of the ones I found were either knit or crocheted. However, I knew I wanted microfiber, I just had to find what I had in mind. I finally came across MicroMops' shop, and they had exactly what I was looking for. I purchased the Set of 4 Reusable Eco Friendly Swiffer WetJet Pads in Green. Under this listing they also had some great information about the proper care and use of microfiber.

Not only did I receive my MicroMops microfiber pads quickly, they were beautifully packaged and very well made.

Now I had to find a way to modify the empty solution bottles that I had been collecting. I wanted to find a way to refill them, but more importantly, fill them with eco-friendly products. If you've ever tried to remove the cap from one of these bottles, you'd known that they are conveniently immobile. As luck would have it, the lovely ladies at MicroMops had a link in their shop that provided instructions on how to do this, along with some recipes for green cleaners. It's listed under PIF--Cleaning Tips and How to Refill your Swiffer Bottle. 

I also presented this information to my husband, who decided it would be easier to modify the solution bottles by drilling a hole in the bottom of one and plugging the hole with a rubber stopper (which he apparently has hundreds of). We modified the bottles using both methods. With the first method you can actually store the bottles without fear of them leaking. With the second method the bottle has to remain upside down, or engaged in the mop.

One of our modified solution bottles, using a rubber cork.

 I was able to test my Swiffer modifications about one week after I had made my mind up to do so. I must say, I am very happy with the results, and a bit ashamed that I had not done this sooner. The microfiber pads from MicroMops clean much better than the paper disposable pads. It takes a bit more effort to push the WetJet across the floor, but it also picks up more grime. I have also found that the microfiber pads do a much better job of getting into the grout lines in my entry way and bathroom floors since they are more plush than the disposable pads. The modified solution bottles have also worked well. I no longer have to worry about the chemical content of my floor cleaner. And we've eliminated the noxious perfume smell that comes with the conventional cleaner, something that my allergen-sensitive husband and I are very happy about.

Our new and improved WetJet.


  1. Thank you so much for writing about our shop!! It was quite a wonderful surprise at the end of my very busy, tiring day!! On the days I wonder WHY I stay up so late working...these posts tell me why!!! Yeah for green cleaning and handmade!!! THANK YOU! :)
    ~~Amy of MicroMops

  2. we use a spray bottle of vinegar/water (about 1 oz. white vinegar to every cup of water) rather than modifying the swiffer solution bottles. it's faster prep-wise, but slightly more work when using it. BUT since we keep a spray bottle of vinegar-water on hand anyways, it seemed to be the best/easiest solution for us.

  3. I bought the Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop (same idea) its the one with the washable micro pads and refillable tank - so I make my own solution :) but love that you posted a way to convert your existing mop!!