Hacking the Wet Jet

You might remember that I wrote a review about the swiffer Wet Jet not too long ago – about how it was highly awesome in that it worked, but even more highly not-awesome by virtue of being completely not environmentally friendly (too many disposable parts, requires batteries).

I’ve tried to hack it in a couple ways to make that less true, and it almost worked.

First off, the cleaning pads. They’re disposable. Like diapers (plastic coatings and all). I don’t have the facts, but I don’t think they’re even biodegradable. Feel free to correct me on that one.

Anyhow, it’s easy to get around those, since they attach with velcro. If you happen to have a Method o-Mop pad kicking around, it sticks on just fine (since the o-Mop also uses velcro). If you don’t have one of those, any cloth you can fashion with the “soft side” of velcro on the top for attaching to the Wet-Jet, and a soft cleaning surface on the bottom will work like a hot damn. The Microfiber doesn’t glide over the floor quite as well as the Swiffer cleaning pads do (it sticks a little), but it’s still effective at the actual cleaning part.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky with the cleaning solution.

Once it ran out, I removed the container from the Wet-Jet, drilled a hole in the bottom of the solution container and filled it with my own cleaner. I used a bit of paper-towel and tape to secure the hole, and re-attached it. And… success! It admittedly didn’t have the same spraying power (I think the consistency of the different cleaner was to blame there), but it was a viable option.

That was a month ago. Then I didn’t wash the floor for a few weeks. When I went to retrieve the hacked Wet-Jet from the broom area, I found it was a bit gunky with leaked cleaner. When I went to use it, it gave me two lacklustre sprays, and gave up.

I checked the batteries, that wasn’t it. I tried reattaching the bottle a couple times, that wasn’t it. Rinsed it off, checked the batteries again, nada.

Without going to buy another bottle of cleaning solution, my troubleshooting abilities end there. And considering the fact that if the Wet-Jet is actually dead, thanks to the form-factor it’ll be useless to me, not to mention the fact that the intent of the hacking was to avoid buying more of their solution in the first place, I’m going to call the experiment closed.

My attempt at speculation is that the bottles of cleaner lose their integrity if they are attached and dis-engaged multiple times, along with some special consistency of the Swiffer cleaning fluid that’s optimized for their device.

So, there you go. Hack the Wet-Jet’s solution-holder-thingie at your own risk.

While I loved how well the Wet-Jet worked while I used it as designed, I’m not going to replace it, or recommend it heartily to anyone else. The cleaning pads are still crap for the planet. It uses batteries, which are also crap for the planet (I suppose you could get rechargeables, but really, when everyone’s saying “use less energy” do you really need it for a device that’s been, until now, entirely manual?). And it seems to only work with the Swiffer-brand super duper grease-fighting, dirt-busting cleaner. Which makes no claims to be anything near environmentally friendly.

So yes, I went back to my old mop and bucket. Which, when I did wash my floor this weekend, worked just fine. And the only thing I threw away (along with the Wet-Jet) was the dirty mop water with a tablespoon of diluted green cleaner in it.

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