Below is a question from a reader about Swiffer.
I just got the latest issue of Vermont Country Store catalog and inside is an old-fashioned wool dust mop, which up to 10 years ago I used and used to shake outside like my Mom used to do!
This made me think about all the Swiffer products I use. Hmmm – I’m wondering if anyone has compared cleaning efficiency of an old-fashioned dust mop vs Swiffer – certainly one is more economical. The Swiffer products are expensive! Thanks –
Great question! I don’t know of any actual studies about the cleaning efficiency of an old-fashioned dust mop vs. Swiffer, but I know I prefer an old fashioned dust mop. Swiffer disposable dry cloths are made of polyester and polypropylene and work well to pick up dust and grime from most surfaces, but so does an old-fashioned wool dust mop. The natural lanolin in wool attracts and holds dust. Wool won’t scratch floors and gets better every time you wash it. I try to avoid single use products that go directly into the landfill, as well as petroleum-based products like polypropylene.
The Swiffer wet cloths are treated with propylene glycol and though categorized by the FDA as “generally regarded as safe”, that’s not assurance enough for me. According to Swiffer, the wet cloths may irritate skin and aggravate known skin conditions.” Considering that concentrations of toxic compounds are higher inside than outside, it’s best to avoid them when you can. Indoor air pollution, partially caused by the use of chemical based cleaners, is a much more serious problem than people realize and one of the reasons for increased cases of asthma and allergies. Additionally, the chemically treated, single use wet cloths end up in the landfill leaching toxic chemicals into the soil and water table.
There is no question that Swiffer is easier than an old-fashioned mop, but what happened to cleaning with natural and safe ingredients like soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax? All it takes is a little elbow grease and a good sponge mop.
If you insist on the convenience of a Swiffer, there are similar, more eco-friendly options.
- Method Home floor cleaning mop with non-toxic compostable sweeping cloths.
- Gaiam’s Spray Mop Kit where you add your own cleaner or nontoxic vinegar and water, spray the fine mist and mop up with a microfiber cleaning cloth (the eco-friendly cleaning rage today). The set includes five washable MicroTech Cleaning Cloths.
- Amazon also sells a microfiber mop called E-cloth microfiber mop, as do Bed, Bath and Beyond and Whole Foods.
I hope this helps Jennifer– let me know what you decide. Safe cleaning!