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Cheap refills for Swiffer Sweepers

The cost of Swiffer refills can really add up.

By Karen Datko Oct 28, 2009 11:19AM

When we had our hardwood floors refinished, our floor guy finished the job by cleaning with a Swiffer Sweeper, a product he heartily endorsed.


Yes, it's great -- until you have to spring for new cloths. A box of the wet pads can cost about $11.50.

Knowing we're exposing ourself to potential ridicule from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice, who has poked fun at this and similar pursuits in a weekly post called "Frugal Friday," we've researched cheap alternatives to the very efficient but costly Swiffer cloths.


Readers of ThriftyFun came up with these suggestions:

  • Some stores sell a washable, reusable microfiber pad.
  • Reuse the Swiffer cloths. A reader said one pad can be used seven times.
  • Make your own with a "super-absorbent" cloth, which you can find at fabric or hardware stores.
  • Buy a cheap version of the Swiffer refills at the dollar store

Melissa at ThrifyFun had this suggestion:

Simply take washcloths or flannel cut to size to fit your Swiffer. Wash in a solution of 1 quart water to 1/2 cup fabric softener and line dry. Store in a Ziploc bag. Use wet or dry. When soiled, simply wash in the washing machine and reuse again and again.

Another reader uses fabric-softener sheets in place of the pads. But, we have to wonder, do these two methods leave a residue on the floor?


Jenn at Frugal Upstate searched the Web to find options specifically for those who don't like buying disposable products. Jenn is one of those folks. She said that "the idea of buying a Swiffer and committing to a 'lifetime' of disposable pads really irks me."


She found:

  • Knitting patterns, including a pattern from Green Mountain Mama.
  • Crocheted covers like this one (.pdf file) from Gherkin's Bucket and a reversible "Swiffer sock" from Craftstylish.
  • A cover you can sew from fleece or microfiber cloth.

That last one sounds most promising. The beauty of the Swiffer cloths is that they seem to pick up even the most miniscule dust particles.


What do you think? Do these alternatives work? Which one works best? What's been your experience?


Published June 24, 2009

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