Belated Ranting


I forgot to mention something yesterday pertaining to last weekend’s shopping escapades. I want to talk about the cost of ownership of the Swiffer.

The Swiffer seems like a marvelous idea, and I’ll be the first to admit that it works just spectacularly, at least on the ‘dry’ side of things. The wet Swiffer, not really designed as a substitute for mopping, I don’t think. But yeah, dry Swiffer: it beats the crap out of sweeping, you can trust me there. The dust, it sticks to the cloth, whatever, and the thing pivots around whatever you need to get under, etc, it’s a nice cleaning tool, especially for someone like me who has 900 square feet and no carpeting.

The problem with the Swiffer is cost of ownership. You use ONE of these Swiffer pad things per ‘sweep,’ which, I mean, to keep your place looking like humans live there, you need to take care of once a week, and the “refill pack” of 16 of these things costs SEVEN AND A HALF DOLLARS.

Let’s break this down.

The initial investment of the Swiffer broom apparatus and 2 dry cloths was 9.88. 16 replacement cloths are 7.50, so that means they’re about $0.47 apiece. $0.47 * 2 = $0.94, 9.88 – 0.94 = 8.94. So the ‘broom,’ which does nothing without the cloths, is 8.94. Just to offer some perspective, you can get a sort of “home-sized” dust mop for 10 bucks. So we might as well compare there.

Over the course of a year, you need to sweep the floor at least 52 times. That means you have to spend $24.44 per year on replacement cloths for the Swiffer. Add your 8.94 for the broom, and in the first year of Swiffering you’ve spent 33.38 on stage one of floor maintenance. Or, you pony up the one-time cost of 10 bucks for the dust mop (which also has the pivoting head but which may not clean the floor as effectively over time).

OK, so let’s say you need to get a new dust mop, because this one wears out… wha’d’ya think? Every 18 months or so? Lets say 18 months for the sake of argument. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Swiffer broom lasts twice as long as that. What are you looking at as a cost of floor cleaning over the next 10 years?

10 years is 120 months, and in 120 months, we’re figuring we’ll need to buy 6-and-two-thirds new dust mops, at 10 dollars apiece, plus the initial mop at 10 bucks, so that means 76.66 over that amount of time. If we’re going to assume that the Swiffer broom lasts for 36 months (or three years), then in 10 years we’d need to purchase 4-and-one-thirds new Swiffer brooms, which, at 8.94 apiece, is 47.68, plus the first one, we’re at 56.62. Of course, we can’t forget out annual Swiffer cloth cost (24.44), which, relative to the brooms themselves, is simply outrageous: 244.40 for ten years of cloths.

76.66 to dust mop for ten years, 301.02 for ten years of Swiffering. And we didn’t even bother to calculate inflation (current annual rate of inflation, by the way, is about 3.2%, so if we apply that figure annually over the next ten years, the 76.66 will actually be 79.11, and the 301.02 would be 310.66).

Clearly, if you can be satisfied with the job done by a dust mop (and it’s not that bad) you are the thriftier person to pass the Swiffer by. Had I just thought this all through while I was there in the cleaning aisle at Wal-Mart?, I could have avoided the issue altogether.

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