Saturday, August 16, 2008

throwaway - Part 2

Continuing my train of thought on wastefulness... (Part One here)


Yes, you read that right. Dust.

Back when I was young, every Saturday was cleaning day. With a parental unit as taskmaster, we'd use the feather duster to send dust off of the shelves into the air to fall back onto the shelves and perhaps onto the floor, which we then swept with crappy brooms that let as much dust escape as it actually swept, into a pile that was then brushed into the hand-held pan, again liberating clouds of dust back into the air, then dumped into the rubbish bag, again with the dust liberation. Cough cough! The only real way to "tame" it all was by mopping the floors. What a battle, one that was fought and lost every single weekend for *how* many years of my life??

A "cure" to all that - a dustmop! You wield it like a mop, but it's for dust! No more dust flying around! w00t!

I'd owned one for a brief period of time in Malaysia, and found it excellent: the only drawback was that of course you'd need to clean off the mop head every so often by taking off the shaggy cloth and tossing it in the washing machine. My parents inherited it when I moved back in with them, but my parent(s) didn't seem keen on it, so it stayed hidden behind a door for a few years, then disappeared when the moved to their new place. Oh well...

Moving on... Back in 2006, when Kosh and I moved in to an apartment with hardwood floors rather than carpet, whoohooo, time for a dustmop to tackle all them dust bunnies, cat hair, and my own shedding hair!!

Unfortunately I didn't give it enough thought while shopping: swayed by advertising, not wanting to deal with cleaning the mop head like before, but not thinking about the implication of buying two types of DISPOSABLE cloths, I grabbed me a Swiffer Starter Kit and a box each of dry & wet cloths.

Can you imagine my dismay when I realised just how wasteful it actually is?

There's this piece of textured cloth you fix to the flat "mop" and then do your thing, and "... when you're done cleaning, throw the cloth and all that dirt away!" Ummmm after just the one use? No frikkin' way! Seriously! No way would I be party to such wastage!!

So I used same cloth a few times rather than disposing of it after one round of Swiffering the apartment, using the dustbuster to then suck the dust off of the cloth in order to be able to continue using it.

Of course, the effectiveness of the cloth plummets after one use... so once it gets real bad, I turn the cloth over and use the other side! Not as effective as a pristine cloth, but still provides a relatively decent performance.

As a result, a box of 16 dry cloths has lasted us two years, and it's still not finished! How's that for being frugal? :) It helps that Kosh and I are, ummm, not *slobs* per se, but we're certainly not hung up about needing the place spick and span and dust-free at all times :)

On a less positive note, we had also bought a 12-count box of WET cloths for the same Swiffer mop, so that we could, you know, actually MOP the floors: now that was an utter waste! The cloth seems to run out of moisture after only a small surface area gets "mopped" ... I'm tempted to see if I can "reactivate" it by spraying water on the target floor, but I don't care enough to try; instead I just make sure I limit the wet mopping to smaller areas (just bathroom, or just kitchen, or just entryway, etc etc).

We ended up having to buy an actual mop (easy-squeeze sponge type) so that the entire apartment could get a proper moppage without going through like three of those swiffer wet cloths. So much for a 2-in-1 product!

.. .. now the question becomes: once the wet and dry cloths run out ... am I going to replace them? If nothing else, I would get another round of the dry ones, certainly not the wet ones. And if I decide to forgo the Swiffer entirely, umm, we'd have that thing sitting in a corner gathering dust on its own. Sigh. So, might as well use it, right?

... ... if I could go back to that fateful day when Kosh and I were doing our new household shopping, I'm wondering what I would decide, knowing what I know now... perhaps I would have voted to just make do with the crummy vacuum cleaner instead of a dustmop/broom to deal with the dust? (ugh noise! ugh emptying the dust bag/container!). Because the bottom line for me no brooms - i know all too well how they don't work!!

One positive thing out of the debacle? We're sticking to using Pledge (or equivalent) and a small dustcloth which we throw in with the laundry, to take dust off of stuff, rather than falling for the Swiffer Duster product!

We take the small victories where we can... :D

... the REAL reason for this series on wastage coming up next ... stay tuned!

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