Marketing, Microfiber, and Math – Why I said “NO!” to Swiffer Dusters

Swiffer alternatives: The Swiffer/microfiber comparison test.

I love a good TV commercial. You know, the ones that pull on your heartstrings. Like the Clydesdales that save the Labrador puppy from the wolf. Or the son that surprises his mom on Christmas morning with a pot of coffee. Or the disabled vet who is now able to clean his home because a HUGE box of Swiffer products was mysteriously left on his doorstep! I don’t drink Budweiser or Folgers but I did try the Swiffer dusters and here’s what I discovered….

Swiffer is great at marketing but their dust collecting prowess and ease of use leaves something to be desired. Their main claim is that their dusters trap and lock twice as much dust as a feather duster. Feather dusters do not trap and lock dust. Let’s do the math… two times zero is still zero. Like and old fashioned feather duster, I found that the Swiffer was actually just relocating dust. Yes, the top of my book shelf was less dusty after using it, but the edge of the shelf had a line of dust that had just been pushed there. It didn’t appear that much got trapped within the duster itself. It was just resettling the dust elsewhere.

Next, I used the duster extender to get the blades of a ceiling fan. The dust and dirt was removed from the fan blades and much of it was relocated to the floor under the fan and the top of my head. Maybe I was using it incorrectly or the disposable pad (more on that later), was already too dirty.

 

I decided to switch out the used duster head with a new one, which wasn’t as simple as it would seem.  Removing it took some finagling and as I was trying to get it off of the handle, the minimal dust I just “captured” was not having any trouble escaping back to the freedom of my living room. I was sure it would be easier with more practice. Trying to find the correct sleeves for the duster prongs was a bit of a challenge too. And then you have to spend the time to fluff out the fibers of the pad – annoying.

The amount of time it took to switch out and fluff up the pad gave me some time to think. The Swiffer duster kit, extender and a box of 16 refills cost just under $24. I had gone through 2 refills in my living/dining room alone. If I were to dust only this area once a week, my supplies would last for 2 months. Refills cost about $11.50. More math… If I kept this up, I would spend $115 more this year, just in refills; just for the living room. $139 just to dust. And, aside from the plastic dust handles, all of those dusters would wind up in the landfill.

Finding Swiffer alternatives isn’t hard when your brother owns an ecommerce company that specializes in supplying high-quality microfiber products to cleaning professionals. Samples are
pretty easy to come by. I asked my dear brother if he had any dusters I could try. I already knew that I could just throw microfiber in the washing machine and reuse it because I use the cloths as dish towels and to dry my car after the car wash.

He gave me the Mini Duster and the Chenille High Duster. The mini duster is about the size of a regular Swiffer.
It actually did attract and capture dust! No more lines of dust on the edges of the shelves and I wasn’t just sweeping it onto the floor either. It stayed on the duster. The same thing happened with the Chenille High Duster. The foam core handle was super flexible and there weren’t any dust bunnies in my hair when I was finished with the fan and hanging light fixtures. The Swiffer/microfiber comparison showed microfiber dusters to be the wiser Swiffer alternatives.


With the microfiber, I didn’t have to stop midway through to switch the duster covers. Once I was finished, the sleeves were easy to pull off and toss into the laundry and I would be able to re-wash them hundreds of times, according to my brother, who is strangely passionate about microfiber.

 

Let’s do a little more math…. The retail for the mini duster, Chenille High Duster, and one extra cover for each is $30.37. That’s all. More than $100 less than keeping me in Swiffer refills for a year. And, if I truly dusted, then laundered once a week, that $30 investment would stretch out at least over two years, probably closer to four before I had to replace them. Overall, the microfiber dusters are far superior as Swiffer alternatives – financially, environmentally, and for better cleaning and hey, keeping my head dust-free too.

While it’s true that Microfiber Wholesale doesn’t have wonderfully produced TV spots to elicit genuine emotion from me, they do have products that work better and will save a nice chunk of change year over year. I suppose it’s best to leave the commercials to Swiffer and the cleaning to microfiber.

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