Make Your Own Swiffer

by Jenn @ Frugal Upstate on April 28, 2009

When we moved into our house, I was thrilled to have beautiful hardwood floors. They are so classy and warm looking. However they do take a little bit of upkeep. My mom gave me a stickvac that doesn’t work well in her plush carpeted house. It works great for quick pickups of dust and kid created debris.

But what if I didn’t have that? I’ve asked several other friends what they have used on their hardwood, tile & linoleum floors. The overwhelming majority say “a swiffer”. Folks just love these light easy to maneuver floor cleaners with their disposable electrostatic “non woven fiber” pads.

Ever since “becoming frugal” have disliked anything marketed as being disposable. It just seems so wasteful to purchase something knowing that I am going to throw it out. I use cloth napkins. We use washcloths instead of paper towel. I admit to purchasing plastic zippered baggies, but I wash them out and use them several times before they are thrown out. So the idea of buying a Swiffer and committing to a “lifetime” of disposable pads really irks me. Enough that I hit the internet to see what other solutions I could find.

Green Mountain Mama has a knit Swiffer pattern that uses buttons to attach. Hakucho created a knit ball band style Swiffer pattern that uses a drawstring to stay on. Candian Crafter even has a pattern that you can make on the Knifty Knitter Loom!

Are you a crocheter? I’ve got some patterns for you too! Gerhkins bucket created a “Biffer Shrug” as well as a cover for the hand held duster. Or there is this cool reversible crochet pattern at Craftstylish.

Don’t play with sticks or hooks? How about sewing your own out of fleece (or maybe microfiber cloth?) Although she doesn’t give directions, for anyone who can sew this picture by Merwing tells all the tale you need to make your own fleece swiffer cover. She’s also got some pictoral directions for making a fleece swiffer duster.


Then again, if you really, really want to do the cheap charlie, no crafting involved version, you could just wrap a microfiber cloth around the thing and secure it with some rubber bands. Viola-it’s the ghetto version.

Photos by Merwing & Drift Word

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Leanne April 28, 2009 at 5:09 am

I’ve already started making the sewn handheld duster cover. I don’t have hardwood floors but I do have a ton of surfaces (put their by a previous owner of the house to collect dust and annoy me). I’m just using a pack of microfibre clothes and a cheapy handheld duster to make mine. I picked them both up at my local £ shop.

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Meredith April 28, 2009 at 5:40 am

If you are buying something new, you can always consider an alternative to a Swiffer, pre-made to be reusable.

I have a Vileda flat mop, similar to
http://international.vileda.com/uk/categories/show/386

I love it because the surface area is MUCH bigger than a Swiffer, but it works in much the same way. The cloth comes off easily to throw in the wash, just like a homemade one would.

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Amanda April 28, 2009 at 7:27 am

Couldn’t you just cut a length of no-sew fleece and tuck it into the ‘grabbers’ on the swiffer? Or a cheap hand towel?

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Disco Jess April 28, 2009 at 7:29 am

THe super lazy way is to just take fleece or even a wash cloth, wrap on the swiffer deal and shove the ends in those little grippers. It’ll hold.

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Genevieve April 28, 2009 at 8:03 am

I just recently started following and *love* your site already! I like all of these ideas and, if nothing else, they help get the creative juices flowing to come up with non-disposable alternatives; thanks so much!

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Together We Save April 28, 2009 at 8:35 am

Great idea. Thanks.

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Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 8:36 am

Yes but some of us cannot sew a thing nor knit or crochet or even cross stitch. And frankly while I know my swiffer is not very frugal, it gets me to clean when I otherwise would not. So for me if my choice is cleaning and disposing or simply not cleaning becasue I despise the work, I will have to tkae the cleaning and disposing.

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Amanda April 28, 2009 at 10:04 am

@Anonymous – See mine & Jess' comments above. You can use fleece, towelling (old hand towels or washcloths), heck, any old rag that will wrap around your swiffer aughta work. Just chuck 'em in the laundry and re-use, which really isn't adding extra work to your life–just be sure to have enough to use between laundry days.

I actually have one swiffer (the wet kind) fitted with a velcro-on machine-washable pad that I keep for drying the floor after damp mop. I don't bother washing that every time because it stays clean enough for 2-3 uses before washing.

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Hollyberryelf April 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Not the most frugal … but I use the Flylady’s cloth floor pads … I have a dozen of them. Got them when we lived in San Diego and had wood floors …. they come in really handy now that we are in Sicily and we have marble floors. Damp they pick up just about everything … and we have a longhair Spanish Siamese who sheds a LOT of fur all the time

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Amanda May 1, 2009 at 7:18 am

I agree with Disco Jess and Amanda… I just use washcloths and tuck them into the grippers. works like a charm, and you can rinse them out and continue using them until you’re done. I bought a pack of cheap washcloths at Big Lots for $3.

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Melissa May 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm

FWIW, infant-sized cloth prefold diapers (CPFs) fit perfectly onto a Swiffer. :)

Though I admit being annoyed that the newer spray Swiffers don’t have the grippers and work on a velcro-like system. I bet the realized that too many people were using washable cloths instead. ;)

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