Creative Substitutions Save Money

When Swiffer WetJet® hit the market several years ago, consumers went wild for it. I loved my Swiffer, but did not like the price of the cleaning pads. And my readers didn’t like it either. They sent me their tips on what they used instead. Some were clever, some too complicated, and some I just can’t repeat. I like Brenda’s idea, as it saves money and recycles, too.

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SECOND LIFE FOR FLANNEL. My old flannel lounge pants have a second life as cleaning pads for my Swiffer. I cut pieces 8 x 20-inches (cut to fit your mop head of choice), and dampen with water just before attaching it to the mop head. When I’m done mopping, I toss these in the wash along with the rags. Brenda, Michigan

FILLING UP ON VEGGIES. My mother always said that veggies taste better when you’re hungry. At mealtime I give my children their veggies first, and wait as long as possible to serve the main course. For some reason the veggies are gone before the main course. Go figure! Diane, email

PASTRY BLENDER MASHUP. I don’t have a potato masher, but I do have a pastry blender. I rarely use it for making pastry, but I do use it to mash bananas for banana bread, beans for black bean burgers and avocados for guacamole. It does a great job. Staci, email

TOASTY LOTION. I solved the discomfort of applying cold body lotion in the winter. My bathroom is heated, but when I rub in lotion after a shower I freeze. I found that if I lay the bottle of lotion in the shower the hot water warms it up. No more cold lotion. Audrey, email

FITTED SHEETS NEED DIRECTIONS. Fitted sheets can be a problem because it’s hard to tell which are the sides and which are the ends. I solved that problem by putting a little double mark in permanent marker on the elastic band at the top-end and bottom-end of my sheets. George, Oregon

CLINGY CLEANER CLEANS GROUT. I hate cleaning grout in the shower. I haven’t found anything that will stick on the grout and clean. One day I realized that toilet bowl cleaner is thick and it clings. I poured it on the grout, left it there about 15 minutes then washed it away with the shower head. Not one speck of mildew was left and the grout looked brand new. Gwynn. Florida

TAB THAT LICENSE. Where I work, customers are required to show their drivers license. Many people have difficulty getting their license out of their wallets, but one customer did a very clever thing. She took a piece of scotch tape, folded it over and made a tab on one end of her drivers license. She just pulled on the tab and the license slid right out of her wallet. I have done this for many people and they are amazed at how much easier it is for them, men included. Susan, Florida

Question: If you own a Swiffer®, what’s the most effective substitute you’ve used in place of the official Swiffer Cleaning Pads? Share your tip here


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  • Jill

    I’ve used old towels cut to size with my swiffer for years. For mopping, I use a spray bottle filled with water and a tablespoon of Murphy’s Oil Soap. I spray small areas and mop as I go. The floor dries very quickly, too!

    • scwlady

      Good idea to use Murphy’s Oil Soap. It’s a great cleaner. I will try your method.

  • Beck

    I have used a microfiber cloth you can buy at Dollar Tree wash and reuse they fit the Swiffer pretty well. I have also used a shammy to replace the Swiffer pad. My floor looks great when I dry it with two shammys one under both feet walk around the floor until it is dry. They absorb a lot of water! I read on a janitor site a long time ago that if you dry the floor after mopping it looks cleaner.

  • Lisa

    I got rid of my Swiffer & purchased the Flylady’s mop. It looks kind of like a Swiffer but it comes with mop heads that you can toss in the washer. You can also get a dust mop head which works great, too.

    • Kim

      I am a FLYbaby and am looking forward to getting her mop. I have resisted, but the more I read the testimonials, the more convinced of they value in her items.

      • Lisa

        I can understand the resistance, becauae I was that way at first. So far I’ve loved every thing I’ve purchased from the Flylady Shop. Mop, purple rags, water bottle, rubba scrubba. They’ve ALL been worth the money to me.

        • Shelbarr52

          The fly lady mop was too heavy for me to use so I went back to swiffers. We use both sides of the swiffer dust cloth and use the rubba scrubba to “clean off” the dust and crud into the garbage can. They can be reused many times by this method.

  • Mary

    O’Cedar makes a mop like Swiffer that you can refil the bottle with whatever you want and the mop head you can throw in the washer. It works great.

  • Jonboy

    I bought a Dirt Devil steam mop from a local dollar/discount store. The cord is really long and it heats up almost instantly. I bought some extra pads on Amazon and they are machine washable. The best part is that it uses good ole tap water. And it cleans better than anything else I’ve tried short of Cinderella style scrubbing.

  • Jerry

    We wash the pads and use them over and over again.

  • Kim

    I use the pads to a Shark Floor Steamer that bit the dust. They are the correct size and reusable. I hated using my Swiffer before that because the pads were expensive and I hated adding more to the landfills than necessary.

  • allie

    CVS has its own brand of wet pads. I recently learned about this after running out of the original Swiffers. I buy the plain (non-lemon scented) ones from when has its 40% off housebrand sale once in a while. It’ll cost you around $2.99 a box for around 15 wet pads. I stocked up for the year and bought several. That’s less than half than u’ll pay for the original. I also make my own nonchemical floor cleaner because it’s healthier but also that cuts down on the overall maintenance cost of it.

  • Hilbilydot

    I’ve used the swiffer for years. I don’t like the expense of their cleaning pads, however. A few years ago, I ran out, and decided to try used dryer sheets. Voila ! They work very well for dust-mopping, and it makes the dryer sheet do double-duty!

  • ruthie

    leftover batting from trimming quilt projects works great as a cloth on mops that require disposable cloths.

  • Doris

    I use the Swifter mop and just wash the pads after every floor mopping, I tried another brand which had a bottle you could refill but it didn’t work as well so I look for the mopping fluid on sale when I can. The swifter floor duster-I use my dryer sheets on that and don’t buy the swifter sheets anymore, My dryer sheets get double duty that way.

  • SRW

    I bought a couple of pair of the “microfiber” soft fuzzy socks. I use them with my wet and dry swiffers. The fuzziness grabs pet hair and dust and then I can throw them in the washer/dryer! Great buy on clearance and at the dollar stores!

  • Pyewacket’s servant

    white rags from the home improvement store folded in half have 4 clean areas to use if you flip once then fold over for two new sides. You must be gentle while mopping to keep it in place. Then wash w other rags.
    I am going to try to refill bottle next week. Has anyone done that with the “pine scented ” cleaner successfully? Must it be diluted? Thanks!

  • Fonda

    I use all of my old towels and washcloths for something. The washcloths fit perfectly on the swiffer. Just throw them in the washer. Since I am retiring previously good towels with the same pattern of some that are still good, I cut off the corner so I can keep the personal ones separate from the “junk towels”. No more trying to guess or using a floor cleaning cloth on my face.

  • Dottie Peters

    I’ve heard of using the used fabric softener sheets for mopping wood floors.

  • I crocheted a fitted cover with left over yarn. Just throw in wash each time

  • Sandie

    I use micro fiber mop pads that I got from Don Aslett’s website. I’ve used them for years and they are not wearing out!

  • vicki

    Old cloth diapers work great. What I hate is the expensive cleaner fluid refill. I drilled a hole in the top of the refill bottle (which is actually the bottom) and just refill with vinegar/water using a funnel. I put a small cork or place a piece of duct tape over the hole. You never even have to remove the bottle again, no more expensive refills!

  • marakj47

    I have started to knit my swiffer covers. I have done several in cotton yarn, using a pattern I found for free on the Internet. I also knit washcloths scrubbies and baby bibs with the cotton yarn and I always end up with leftover yarn.I use the leftovers for the swiffer covers for my house (I also sell the above items so I only use the scrap yarn covers for home) and they work great!

  • JM

    I have cut up an old stained sweatshirt. They work great and I also just wash them with all of the other rags and old towels.

  • Brenda

    Love my crocheted cover! Use cotton rug yard to get a more absorbent pad.

  • Betsy Taylor

    I buy cheap washcloths at Walmart by the dozen. I dampen one, fold it in half, and lay it over the Swiffer pad. Then I dampen another one, leave it whole, and lay it across the first pad, tucking it into the holes of the Swiffer tightly. I then squirt the pad lightly with Pledge floor cleaner (blue bottle) and start mopping. I turn the outside washcloth over and use the other side. I do a little area at a time and then change the outside washcloth. They are so dirty! I may use as many as 10 washcloths for my hard floors, but the floors are clean. I then wash all the dirty cloths with a little bleach and they are ready for the next mopping. I have had my same washcloths to use in my same Swiffer for about 5 years. Only cost is the floor cleaner. When cloths get too thin, buy another package. Works great and is cheap!

    • scwgal

      Wonderful idea. Instead of Pledge, I use a ratio of 1:1 of white vinegar and water and spray it on my tile floor.

  • Pat

    Microfiber cleaning cloths work great for wet or damp cleaning. For dry mopping (dusting), I have made crochet covers that work wonderfully. Just throw either in washer.

  • Katie

    On the swiffer thing, Rubbermaid makes a mop like the swiffer with two HUGE improvements – washable pads (just throw them in the washer) & a bottle you can add your own cleaner too. I think the initial investment was a little more (I think $40), but the long term savings more than make up for it and it’s way less wasteful.

  • neta

    I use a microtex cloth for my swifter mop – cleans & dries fast. Great for dust cloths & dishcloths also.

  • Linda

    I use cheap or old terry washcloths with my Swiffer and microfiber works too, just more expensive. The steam dirt devil sounds terrific as that would kill germs without soap film being left behind.

  • I’ve used diaper wipes but I like the old flannel idea better. Saves throwing the pants or shirt away & is reusable!

  • redsue

    I like flannel idea. I have tried used dryer sheets because 2 ladies in house (lots of hair) as well as a black lab. Works great on the hair and dust. I go behind and sweep the little sand pile.