It’s probably not a very nice thing to say, though I think it’s a fairly accurate one: my cats are to blame for every problem in my house.

Well, alright then, not every problem---I suppose they’re not responsible for the outdated dishwasher, really, or the closet door that doesn’t properly shut---but certainly every problem regarding the floor. My cats are large, they’re fluffy, and their hair gets everywhere. And the few places their hair doesn’t end up? Well, their kitty litter ends up there instead. In order to keep my apartment sanitary enough to avoid a concerned phone call from the San Francisco Department of Health, I find myself constantly sweeping up grit and fur, grit and fur, grit and fur. And while I like to think I do a decent job of it, anyone who’s ever owned a pet before will agree: just like you can’t please all the people all the time, you can never really get rid of all the cat hair all the time either.

"Hello! I'm Charlie! I weigh seventeen pounds! That's not even a joke, because Holly weighed me once on her bathroom scale out of curiosity. Do you know how much cat hair a seventeen pound cat can produce? A lot!"

So when the folks at BlogHer offered to send me a free Swiffer to try out as part of a review program, I mentally high-fived myself. Wait, no, that’s not the first thing I did: the first thing I did was panic that the offer wasn’t really part of a review program, but merely some sort of intervention to get me to clean my floors better. Which of my friends had been so disturbed by my (lack of) housekeeping that she’d tattled to BlogHer about it, I wondered. (“Do something! She lives in a den of cat hair! Do anything!”) After that particular paranoia had passed, though, then I really did high-five myself. Woo-hoo! Free cleaning products! The perfect gift for the blogger with a mild case of OCD!

Now, I’ve owned Swiffers before: two or three of them, in fact. I’ve always thought they did a pretty good job, but I’ve certainly found that they had their flaws: often the little cleaning pad would come unstuck while I was mopping, for example, or the handle wouldn’t turn the way I wanted it to. When my new Swiffer came in the mail, however, it seemed to be a new model, or at least one I hadn’t seen before. Curiously, it also came in a surprisingly small box for a tall mop.

Once I opened the box, however, I realized that the Swiffer merely came in five pieces---five very diminutive, very easy-to-put-together pieces, and hey, if I say something’s easy to put together, then you know it really has to be. I assembled it quicker than you can say “hey, hairball on the floor!” and got to work.

My Swiffer came with two packs of cleaning pads: dry ones for dusting and wet ones for mopping. I started with the dry ones, which were pleasingly easy to affix to the bottom of the implement---you just tuck them into the little “teeth” on the bottom of the rubber cleaning pad---and started Swiffering. Because yes---just like Googling and Facebooking and Yelping---Swiffer has now become a verb.

Now this is the point where I was going to show you a picture of everything the dry cleaning pad picked up, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured you probably wouldn’t respect me in the morning if I did. There was a lot of cat hair on that pad, I’m ashamed to say, cat hair I never would have seen with the naked eye. It was slightly mortifying, really, to discover that I’d been coexisting with that much cat hair. Honestly, I could have knitted a small blanket with all that cat hair the dry Swiffer pad picked up. Or at least a very warm pair of gloves.

Once I’d dusted---I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could get away with just one dry pad for my entire 700-square-foot apartment---I decided to give the wet ones a go. I mean, why not, right? I was on a cleaning roll!

Eh, this is actually a picture of Sean on a cleaning roll. But he wanted a go too!

After a wee bit of confusion that involved both me and Sean turning the Swiffer over and over with furrowed expressions on our brows, we figured out that the wet cloths attach in exactly the same way as the dry cloths do. If I did have a complaint, it would be that the directions on the boxes of cleaning pads aren’t exactly clear---but then again, one might argue you don’t exactly have to be a paid-up member of MENSA to mop your kitchen floors, so maybe my complaint is unwarranted. (Psssst, Swiffer: perhaps you could just provide me with some more comprehensive instructions. Because I, apparently, need them.)

I mean, there are THREE STEPS. Where was I going wrong?

I had thought, after going over the floors with the dry cloth, that there wouldn’t be anything left to pick up with the wet one, but boy howdy, was I wrong. I used one wet one in my kitchen, one in my bathroom, and one each in my living room and bedroom---they don’t seem to stay wet for long enough to use for a greater radius than that, which is something of a shame---and in the process picked up a whole bunch more dust and cat hair and general detritus I’d rather not think about. And as a rather nice bonus, my whole house smelled like “fresh window scent” when I was done.

Speaking of being done, the whole ordeal was happily, painlessly quick: five minutes for dusting, six or seven for mopping, and that was the end of it. This bodes well for a) my general laziness, and b) my propensity to invite people over at the last minute when the house hasn’t seen the business end of a cleaning implement in several days. I also liked the way the mop head twisted and turned with my every move, fitting into awkward spaces. You know, like the one between the toilet and the sink.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with my free Swiffer, though I do wish the wet cloths had lasted for larger surface areas; it seemed a little wasteful to use so many, especially in my tiny apartment, and particularly since I usually use Method’s OMop, which has a washable cloth pad that you just throw into the laundry basket when you’re done. That said, I was very impressed with Swiffer’s dry dusting cloth---so much more effective than just sliding about the hardwoods in your socks---and will definitely be using that to “pre-clean” from now on, since it picked up cat hair like a dream.

In fact, that’s given me an awesome idea: hey Swiffer, now you’ve got my floors sorted out, how about making one for my favorite pair of black pants?

Look! In case you don't believe me, here is a Before and After!



Well, okay, maybe you had to be walking around barefoot on my living room floor to really tell the difference. But trust me, it worked.


Feb 17, 2009

Oh, I completely feel your pain! I have a very sheddy cat and a dog, and there are literally no places in my house where the hair can't be found! It finds its way into the fridge, the bathtub, and even the walls! I currently have carpet (which I loathe!), but the hair on the non-carpeted surfaces just turns into giant tumbleweeds.

I just bought a Swiffer myself (and I am liking the new design after having a few in the past that were less helpful) and it's great for my tiny kitchen and bathroom. Now all I need is a Dyson for the carpeted areas. Or, you know, a new apartment that doesn't have nasty carpet in it, period.

Feb 17, 2009

Ohhh, I can definitely relate. Husband has a 17-year old cat (that has to weigh...well, I don't want to know what it weighs, we feel that since it's made it to the grand age of 17 it can eat all day if it wants. If I make it to the age of 90, I just want to eat all the time, thanks) that sheds much more than both of our long haired chihuahuas. And it's a short hair cat! I found a clump of fur in the hallway earlier today that made me believe the cat had sneezed and, much like a cartoon, had completely exploded and I'd round the corner to find a hairless cat sitting in the cat bed. Nope, the cat still had all of its hair (sans the ridiculously huge clump). Oh goodie.

I shudder to think of the cat hair in this house. That cat is gonna die and it'll take decades to get all of the hair out. Don't even get me started on the pieces of litter I find anywhere and everywhere. Cry.

Swiffers are awesome. And if we don't get hardwood floors soon, I'm going out and buying myself a Dyson Animal. Wee!

Feb 18, 2009

Try having an 80 pound dog that is a Collie mix. There are tumbleweeds under our bed if I don't Swiffer every week.

Feb 18, 2009

This is apropos of nothing and not Swiffer related, but I had to say - Holly, I bought my first pair of gold shoes! I've never even considered gold shoes before but having seen some pictures of the pairs you own, and knowing your fondess for them, when I was in TK Maxx the other day (I assume it's the British name for TJ Maxx?) and I saw a really nice pair, I thought, what the heck, let's give it a shot! They are sparkly and pretty and I can't wait for the weather to be warmer so I can wear them. So thank you for broadening my shoe horizons.

Feb 18, 2009

Ok if this works as well as you say it does I am going out to buy a Swiffer stat! this evening after work!
I have 2 cats as well and the constant battle with hair and litter is one I appear to be losing at the moment, much to my horror.
I've had Swiffers in the past and didn't really notice them picking up much cat hair, but if they've changed it, I will give it a go!

Oh and speaking of cat/dirty issues, how did the top opening litter box work out in the end? I am still deciding whether to splash out or not and if the cats would adapt to it?

Feb 18, 2009

I have a Pekingese, and am beginning to think I should join one of those warehouse places for the sole purpose of buying wet & dry swiffer refills in bulk! I use them nearly daily.

The O mop makes me crazy. Does it not stick on your hardwoods? I always end up with blisters on my hands because of the sheer brute force necessary to move it across the floor. I must be doing something wrong!

Feb 18, 2009

Big Swiffer Fan here..
been so for years !!!

Why does this sound mildly obscene???
anyway.. Swiffer Two thumbs up.

Feb 18, 2009

Three words:
Furminator. Furminator. Furminator.
(No, I'm not suggesting you invite Arnold to deal with the problem, although I'm sure he'd be quite a help. It's some sort of pet brush thingy.)

It won't solve all your pet-hair problems, but it WILL make a difference. And then the Swiffer can take care of the rest.

Feb 18, 2009

i use the dry swiffer which i LOVE.
however for mopping i use a regular mop (one that come with a thing attached to wring it) and an eco friendly cleaning product. i do not like the wet swiffer mop for the same reason you stated, it takes so many of them, and that's not good for my wallet or the landfills.

Feb 18, 2009

Even better, the swiffer vac, which has all the benefits of the dry pad, and sucks up (some) of the grit that sometimes just gets pushed around with the regular swiffer. Also, the handle is sturdier and doesn't snap as easily as the regular one...or maybe I am just a scary Amazon who breaks swiffer handles left and right, and no one else really needs to worry about that...

Feb 18, 2009

I used to use the swiffer wet jet mop (which lasts longer per pad, although because of its thickness you feel like you are mopping with a feminine hygiene product) but I switched to the OMop because I felt guilty about the waste. Now I feel guilty about all the excess water I use washing the pad because I need to wash it more often than I have laundry to throw it in with.

It's quite the quandary.

Feb 18, 2009

I Swiffer (verb!) regularly, but can anyone explain how the dust bunnies reappear again the day after I do?! I know they are called dust bunnies because they reproduce so often and so quickly, but shouldn't my diligence matter?! We don't even have a 17-pound cat!

Feb 18, 2009

Is it dorky that I'm more excited about your free Swiffer stuff than that video game thing you got?? I have a cat and hardwood floors as well, so the Swiffer has become my BFF.

Feb 18, 2009

Have you ever tried Feline Pine or something similar? Litter that doesn't track!

Feb 18, 2009

Five cats (the heaviest being 25 pounds :-o), three gigantico litter boxes, and a 1300 sq. ft. house, means we have the very same problem . We've thought about buying a Roomba but I'm afraid it will choke and burn out in a week from all the hair (seriously, sweeping once a week yields enough hair to make another cat).

We use the Swiffers but my only complaint is the handle. It's not strong enough for me to "scrub" the floors with any pressure.

Anyone used one of those vacuum/wet vacuum contraptions (I think Hoover makes one)? And if so, how well does it work?

Feb 18, 2009

Have you tried the Swiffer Dusters? Love them.

And I've also had problems with the Swiffer mop handle being too weak. It's like mopping with a limp spaghetti noodle.

Feb 18, 2009

They are supposed to be very very bad for the environment though. You know what I do? I use the swiffer stick, but use the microfiber cloth (it picks up dust/hair) instead of the throwable paper cloths. And then I reuse them. But you have to wear rubber gloves to rinse them. They can get pretty nasty.

Vampy Varnish
Feb 18, 2009

I feel your fur & litter pain. I have 3 cats (including 1 16 pound Maine Coon) and a Border Collie so we have TONS and TONS of fur in our house. In fact every single meal we eat contains at least 5 hairs of some sort. It's really horrific. What makes it worse is that I only have wood floors in 1 room, the rest is carpet so I can't really Swiffer. I vacuum instead and fill an entire canister with fur every single week. Hmm, maybe I should start knitting sweaters out of it and sell them?

Feb 18, 2009

Sorry to be debbie-downer, but my (thin-coated) dog is allergic to the swiffer wet products. She would break out in a rash and/or hives whenever we "wet-jetted" the hardwood floors. Stopped using the product, she didn't have another outbreak. Did an spot test on her belly, and it was definitely the swiffer product. It may be generally safe for pets, but that doesn't mean an individual pet couldn't have allergies to it. So be mindful, owners of sensitive skin pets.

Feb 18, 2009

YES! The swiffer. I have 4 cats, 2 dogs, and am not a hoarder. I just feel like I can't walk into a shelter without rescuing an animal. (I'm at the point now where I'm pretty sure my husband is going to call it quits if I bring home one more, so I avoid shelters all together). Anywayyyy. The swiffer is wonderful. This weekend, in fact, we just stumbled upon a new swiffer product for upholstery. Color me excited! Works like a dream. It just comes with these little velcro-y pads and an ergonomically correct handle that's easy to fit even husband "monster" hands into. You swipe down your furniture once (well, twice in our special circumstance) and tada! No more fur. Get them to send you one of those doodads. They're lovely even when their name escapes me.

Feb 18, 2009

I think this is why some evil person invented hairless cats.

I think I've developed situational pet-hair-blindness-syndrome. If I don't see it, it isn't there, right?

Feb 20, 2009

Swiffer products are like deodorant that works; every now and then you have to take a break, try something different, just so you don't overdo the using so much that it stops working, you know? This also seems to happen with shampoo and conditioner. But then, after you've spread your wings and tasted the town for a bit, you so graciously return to the glory of your favorite, and because you've set it free and took the personal time to realize just how much you appreciate it's help, it works just perfectly, time and time again. But if you use it continuously over and over, it's magic tends to fade away as quickly as your cats can fuzz up your brand new occasional chairs.

I've been using the Swiffer Wet Jet for a while now, and it's about that time to let it go for the moment and try something new.

Have you seen that crazy new pet hair cleaner for fabrics and furniture? I think it's by Pledge...um...it looks pretty amazing!

Feb 20, 2009

Swiffers are well and good, but I have two words that will change your life (well, your cleaning life anyway): Room. Ba. You may think it's silly and overpriced - I did too, once upon a time - but ours gets the floors (particularly the hardwood) clean like nobody's business. We run it every weekend, and have pleasantly grit-free floors (even under the couch and the beds!) for at least four or five days. There are very few electronic items which I would immediately run out and replace if they broke, but my Roomba is right up there with my Ipod - I consider both absolutely essential.

Feb 20, 2009

i second the furminator! it's works sooo much better than other cat brushes in getting loose fur out. that means less on my clothes, dining, chairs, bed, floor. the furminator plus jumbo lint remover is my strategy. the litter on the floor is a daily battle tho...