Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions – What’s Your Take on the Mop and Bucket?

March 8, 2012
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Now that Scott and I have settled into the new apartment, I just have to say – I had forgotten how expensive aluminum foil is. And there will be not Swiffer anything in my household. Not only is it too expensive, but SO not eco-friendly.
Libman Freedom Spray Mop from Amazon

My ex took the Swiffer with him when we split. I figured I could always buy a new one. However, when it came time to buy new cleaning supplies for the new apartment, I found I didn’t want a new Swiffer mop. Not only are the cleaning solution and pads too pricey for my new budget, but it’s a lot of waste going back into the environment. So I really gave a look at the available mops when trying to choose an alternative solution. I first tried the Libman Freedom Spray Mop as it was the closet to what I had become accustomed to after using Swiffer products for so many years. The concept seemed great – washable, re-usable pads and a canister to fill with your own cleaning solution – however, the sprayer on mine didn’t work at all and I ended up returning it. Plus, my boyfriend Scott wasn’t that fond of it for cleaning the nitty gritty and getting into corners. What he wanted was a commercial, standard run of the mill mop and bucket like they use in the restaurant where he works. So I ended up buying him a Clorox Cotton Twist Mop instead which was the closet thing I could find at Target. (Which, btw, he also hates and says would take forever to clean any kind of floor space. Guess I’ll have to find a “real” mop at Home Depot.)

Swiffer Re-Usable Pads from The Herb Companion

However, for quick cleanings lugging out a mop and bucket isn’t always the best solution. Therefore I’m kind of digging the DIY Washable Swiffer alternative from The Herb Companion. Basically you can take a Swiffer Sweeper or any similar type of sweeper or mop and create your own re-usable, washable pads with an old towel, some minor sewing and some ribbon. Then make your own Herbal Floor Cleaner by combining some liquid soap, distilled white vinegar, water, and some lavender essential oil. (The full instructions and recipe can be found at The Herb Companion.) If you’re sweetie is like mine, however, and just cannot stand the smell of lavender, try substituting the lavender essential oil with other essential oils known for their cleaning and disinfecting power such as lemon, orange, lime and tea tree oil. (Note that tea tree oil is toxic to cats if ingested.) You can find bulk, organic essential oils at Mountain Rose Herbs.

So, what solutions do you use to stay green, stay clean, and save money?

Here are some of the ideas suggested to me by friends and fans on facebook. (But I’d love to hear more so feel free to comment!)

Amazing Uses for Household Products

Books are some of the best resources. Amanda recommended to me the Amazing Uses for Household Products, 5-Book Library: Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, Lemon Juice, Salt, Vinegar.

Jennifer recommended making my own laundry soap. Now this something I have done in the past, but I really hate grating soap. Maybe I can assign this duty to my son.

Laura uses a Shark Steam Mop with washable pads. Apparently these go on sale down to about $30 around Christmas. Megzy also uses a steam mop and makes her own diy vinegar/baking soda cleaners.

Aubrey uses washcloths instead of paper towels. I actually have washable, re-usable napkins that I bought from KenilworthPlace on etsy back in 2009. (The problem is getting people to use them because “they’re so pretty.”)

I also like the diy gunk remover recipe found on Rosy Blu’s blog – it contains nothing but coconut oil and baking soda and works like Goo Gone but without the toxic irritants.

For more great tips, check out my DIY Lifestyles Tips Board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to comment with your own suggestions. I’d love to hear what you use to clean your own floors!


  • Cece Hudson

    March 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I have a great friend from Costa Rica. Their culture really strives to be eco friendly and all natural. She taught me years ago to use an old folded terry cloth towel as a replacement head on a traditional mop handle, the kind with the spring loaded clip. (hardware & janitorial stores carry them)The towel can be used for wet mopping or dry for dusting & polishing. Just toss in the washer & reuse.

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