One of the toughest things about going zero waste is that sometimes you feel like in order to get less waste, you need to create waste. Take my Swiffer for example. This is a cleaning product I bought a year before I decided to go zero waste, but the Swiffer itself is quite wasteful. Between the disposable pads and the disposable cleaning solutions it's far from the best solution when trying to reduce waste. But my dilemma is if I throw out the whole Swiffer and buy a more "zero waste" floor cleaner is that not also creating waste? I could give the Swiffer away but then I know it's also going to someone who will continue to buy disposable pads and solution! It really felt like a lose-lose situation until I figured out that I could make my Swiffer zero waste.
First, when I was shopping in Lowe's one day a wall of floor cleaning products caught my eye. These reusable pads from a brand called Bona were being sold for $7 and I knew I needed to buy one and try it out. They seemed like the perfect solution to the disposable pads from Swiffer. I was right, they work perfectly. And by the way, $7 is the price for a refill of disposable Swiffer pads so after this one purchase I'm saving money! The pad itself is a little bigger than our Swiffer mop head but it sticks right on so it's not an issue. I also tie it up with elastics too to make it fit but it's not necessary at all either. As a side note, you can also use any type of reusable cloth on your Swiffer and you don't need to buy anything to make it work! I just didn't have anything on hand at home that would have worked but definitely take a look through your home and see if you have anything.
With the pads now taken care of I just needed to find a way to make my own floor cleaner at home and get it in the Swiffer bottle. For this I went to the internet! I saw that if you put the top of the bottle face down in extremely hot water for several minutes it will loosen the cap enough allowing you to take it off. I put some water in my tea kettle and took it off before it started making any noise. I then poured the water into a mug and put the Swiffer bottle in it for 5 minutes.
When it came time to twist the cap off though I will say it was not as easy as it was made out to be. I grabbed a towel and tried for several minutes to twist this cap off. That's when Kyle came up with the idea to tie a rubber band around the top and then twist. It worked like magic! With the top taken off, I now could make the floor solution. I found a recipe online as follows:
I didn't use any essential oils because our dish soap is a very pungent peppermint smell. I felt that adding other scents to the mix might make it smell really weird but if you have anything on hand go for it!
My Swiffer bottle is on the small side so I actually ended up with too much, I just put the excess into a jar so next time I need a refill I don't need to make any more cleaner!
In the end, I'm really happy that I'm both able to use what I have from before going zero waste, and making it truly zero waste with a $7 cloth and a DIY floor cleaner. Not to mention the money I save too on both the disposable pads and cleaning solution.
Join me as I document my journey to becoming zero-waste through this blog as a resource to others.