Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kermit might have gotten it wrong...

...because it CAN be easy being green!

The tutorial I chose to try this past week (cough cough TODAY cough cough PROCRASTINATOR cough cough) was a Swiffer WetJet Cleaning Pad Tutorial.

My house has hardwood floors throughout. I lurve them. But I do not lurve mopping. I'd rather watch the History Channel than mop the house. Haha, no offense to the History Channel.

Of course, this means I am the proud owner of one of those fantastical Swiffer devices, one of the most popular inventions of the last decade, I would guess. But talk about not good for the environment -- those disposable Swiffer cleaning pads are not helping out in the ol' landfill problem we've got. And it's not the cheapest option either, since those boxes of refill pads and bottles of cleaning solution can really add up.

So what's a girl who's trying to turn green to do? Make her own! That's right, ladies! Who needs China and it's plastic exports and all of the bad-for-the-environment-toxic-cleaning-solutions? Not us!!!

I used this tutorial to start out with, but then I made quite a few changes. Being "green", I wanted to use materials I already had around the house, so I first grabbed an old white bath towel to cut up. (Note to self: now would be a great time to renew the ol' marriage vows and register for some new towels. Just sayin'.)

*If you're planning on making some yourself, don't follow the instructions in this first little paragraph. Skip on down to the second attempt because it worked out a lot better. I don't want you cursing my name, that's all.

I cut out two pieces, 11.5" x 5.5" and sewed them together (.5" seam allowance), leaving an opening. When I turned it inside out (don't forget to clip those corners before you turn it) and was topstitching around the entire thing, my sewing machine was having FITS. It was way too thick to sew through. And then, when I held it up to my Swiffer, it wasn't bigger than the Swiffer bottom (like the cleaning pads are), so I figured it would be best to rethink this and make it a little bit different.

So let's try this again...

This time I cut out one piece of the towel measuring 12.5" x 6", and one piece of cotton fabric the same size. I sewed them right sides together, leaving a generous opening to pull it through, clipped my corners and turned it right-side out, making sure to push all the corners out with the eraser side of a pencil to make it look nice. I then folded in the edges where the opening was, ironed them down and pinned it right there, and then topstitched around the whole thing to close it up. This time the topstitching was much easier since it wasn't two thick layers of towel like before. Plus, my version is a little bit cuter with fun fabric on one side, and we all know that cute matters when it comes to cleaning. I ran down to the basement and found my velcro stash and picked out the "soft side" (not the grippy loopy side of the velcro) and cut two 10" pieces (approximately). I stitched each of those on approximately .5" away from the edges (on the fabric side, the side that will stick to the bottom of the Swiffer WetJet).

The terry cloth side (you can see the stitching where the velcro is on the other side):

The CUTE side where the velcro goes:

And guess what? It totally works! I will be able to clean away with my beloved Swiffer, and then simply toss the pads in the wash when they get dirty to use again and again and again.

My Swiffer looked like this with the Swiffer cleaning pad...

...and now it looks LIKE THIS with the new reusable CUTE pad!

For me, these cost absolutely NADA since I had an old towel to use and plenty of fabric (yipes, I am a fabric addict) and even some velcro to use. I may have to go out and buy some more velcro if I make many more of these, but with a 40% off coupon at JoAnn's, I can't imagine it costing very much. Using my one towel and extra scraps of fabric, I will have enough to make 10 Swiffer cleaning pads total (it would have been 12 total if I hadn't made that first attempt). This should give me more than enough to work with, especially if I want to change out the pad every time I switch rooms. And judging on how dirty our floors tend to get (3 people + 4 dogs + 2 cats = DIIIIIIIIIIIIRTY), I think I'm going to need that many.

Wouldn't this be a cute housewarming gift idea? You could buy a Swiffer kit (there are always $5 off coupons to be found, it seems), make several of these up, and get your friends on the right path to keeping our Earth (and their floors) beautiful.

Next up, finding an online "recipe" to make non-toxic floor cleaner to use with my Swiffer. Then it will be a GREEN Swiffer fo' sho'! This site was the link provided on the tutorial, but I might do a little searchin' around to see what else I can come up with.

*A big thanks to all the crafters out there who post such awesome tutorials. Even though I ended up changing this one up some, it still gave me a great launching off point of how to construct them since I wouldn't have had a clue otherwise.


LauraJ said...

I use vinegar and water with a little dish soap added. It cleans the floors nicely.
I've never had a problem with it and there's no need for rinsing.
Good luck!
Your swiffer is cute!

The Busters said...

What a fabulous idea!!! Damon and I have been talking about how some our cleaning habits around the house are wasteful and ways we want to improve. We actually don't have a swiffer but use one of those spongy mops and a bucket but I am really bad about using those cleaning wipes on surfaces and then just tossing them. Wasteful!! Thanks for the push to get creative and be more green (like Kermit!). :)

Phyllis said...

Wow, so creative and talented...I can NOT sew at all, other than maybe sewing a button on something. What a great idea...and SO cute!

tag's team said...

Awesome, I wish I was talented like you. I ordered some that look pretty much like that on Etsy a few months ago... I found a tutorial and bought fleece for the duster refills, BUT of course I am not good at sewing like you so it is quite the hurdle to get them made. Maybe someday soon...