Monday, November 30, 2009

The Swiffer Wars

DIY Mom and DIY Dad have a serious disagreement. DIY Mom wants to eliminate nasty toxic chemicals from the household cleaning regimen and replace them with natural, homemade products. DIY Dad is very skeptical as to whether or not:

1. DIY Mom will actually keep up with making her own products, and,

2. They really work as well as commercial cleaners.

I grant you, valid concerns both.

I've only been experimenting with homemade cleaners for a few weeks now, and I'll be posting more about them in the coming weeks--recipes, cost of homemade vs. store-bought, and effectiveness. Overall, I've been impressed. Impressed that baking soda and water (and some elbow grease) could clean out my horrific oven. Impressed that vinegar, distilled water, and essential oils cleans everything from my kitchen countertops to my sinks to my mirrors. Impressed that it's soooo quick and easy and cheap to mix these concoctions up myself. (I even love working with my growing shelf of supplies--natural soaps, essential oils, baking soda, borax, washing soda, and distilled water--like some fledgling domestic chemist.)

DIY Dad; however, remains skeptical. The main bone of contention: The Swiffer Wet Jet.

DIY Dad is passionate about his Swiffer Wet Jet. DIY Mom is just as passionate about getting rid of it. (Disclaimer: DIY Mom does realize she is a very lucky woman in that her husband actually cleans--quite a lot, in fact. She just wishes he'd come around on the natural cleaning front. Chemicals = bad, natural stuff = good.)

The Swiffer Wars started about a week ago. DIY Mom told DIY Dad the overwhelming chemical smell bothered her and to please not use it anymore. DIY Dad said there was no way in h$#$ he was going to clean the floors with a rag and bucket. DIY Dad went out on an emergency ice cream run. DIY Mom left the kids in bed with their stories and ran downstairs to go guerilla on the Swiffer bottle before DIY Dad got back. She hastily dug the plastic out of the Swiffer bottle opening with a kitchen knife, until she was able to empty out the toxic potion and replace it with her own "green" vinegar-and water-solution. She slapped a piece of duct tape on and put the bottle back in the Swiffer. It didn't leak, and seemed to work fine! Then, as if that weren't enough, she went and cut soft rag pieces to size,which fit perfectly and performed well in DIY Mom's test run. She was triumphant: Swiffer could stay, but had become both greener and a ton more cost-efficient.

DIY Dad found rigged-up Swiffer, and after about 2 minutes, proclaimed it a resounding failure. He furthermore claimed said rags didn't pick up dirt and the vinegar/water solution didn't clean. DIY Mom was not deterred. She said she would come up with something that worked.

So, last night, it was time to Swiffer again. DIY Mom had made up a nice batch for All-Purpose Cleaner #1 (see previous blog post) for DIY Dad to demo.

It wasn't pretty. DIY Dad hated the cleaner. The bottle leaked (but a new piece of duct tape affixed more securely took care of that), the cleaner left streaks (alas, it did), and it didn't clean (DIY Mom still isn't sure about DIY Dad's anal-retentive "clean" standards, which would even make people who pass white-glove tests nervous.)

DIY Mom and Dad had words. It got even less pretty. DIY Mom emptied the bottle and refilled it with Murphy's Oil Soap and warm water. She Swiffered the whole kitchen with the solution and the store-bought pads, which DIY Dad still insisted on. She got lots of dirt on the pad, which, evidently, according to DIY Dad is the point of the whole exercise. DIY Dad still wasn't convinced. DIY Mom went upstairs to put the kids to bed. She can't be sure, but she thinks she heard the sounds of DIY Dad rewashing the entire tiled hallway and powder room, as well as the linoleum-floored kitchen with a rag and bucket.

DIY Mom hid from DIY Dad for the rest of the night.

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