A lot of you have been asking if it's safe to use your Swiffer WetJet on your wood floors so I thought it was about time to write an article on this topic.
The Swiffer WetJet is a mop that has received a lot of press and mixed reviews. The Swiffer WetJet is a mop that can be used on many floor coverings. The Swiffer is not recommended for wood floors even though many people do use it on their wood floors. The Swiffer company says that it is not recommended for wood floors. In fact, on their web site http://www.swiffer.com/en_US/mopping.do they say,"Do not use on unfinished, oiled or waxed wooden boards... because they may be water sensitive." Many home owners do not do their research and try the Swiffer WetJet mop on their hardwood floors.
Often, homeowners do not actually know about their wood floors finish. They do not know when or if their floors were finished. Homeowners usually don't know what kind of floor finish was used. Often people purchase their homes with wood floors already in them. Because they came with the home and they seem to look okay, many people will clean their wood floors just as they would clean their tiled or linoleum floors.
There are a few serious problems with using the Swiffer WetJet on any type of wood floor covering.
The Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution is water based. Simply using the Swiffer WetJet product will void your wood floor warranty in almost all cases. When you put water on any wood floor, the water will absorb into the wood. It will make laminate and engineered floors swell especially fast because all they have is a veneer with several layers of relatively low grade wood underneath the surface. With hardwood floors, it may take a little longer to notice that they are water logged. However, allowing your floors to penetrate moisture invites the growth of potential mould and also causes permanent water damage. As much as people think water is a good cleaner, it will ruin your wood floors permanently.
The Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution leaves white cloudy streaks on most wood floors. This dull film is caused by a build-up of the cleaning solution that is left behind on your wood floors. Once you have streaks on your floor, you have created more work for yourself because now you have to get rid of the streaks! Even if you try and pick up the cleaning solution or if you just let the cleaning solution dry on your floors, the white streaks will almost always occur. White streaks often make a floor appear dirtier than it was before.
The Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution contains toxic chemicals. A lot of cleaning products pose health risks because they use toxic chemicals as their active ingredients. Unfortunately, often times even trace amounts of toxic ingredients are not safe to use especially for little children and pets. The Swiffer WetJet has had a lot of negative reviews regarding its safety. Some people are saying its a hoax but it is still an ongoing debate.
There has been a lot of press on the health and safety of the Swiffer. The active ingredients in this water-based cleaning solution are propylene glycol n-propyl ether or propylene glycol n-butyl ether and isopropyl alcohol (1-4%). The Swiffer cleaning solution is supposed to have about 90% water. Many people will argue that 4% isn't that much. What is the 6 to 9% difference? What else are they putting in the cleaning solution that they are not telling us? The active ingredients are known to be only slightly toxic to animals. This is unclear too.
However, there is a common mistake that people make when talking about the ingredients in the cleaning product. Often people mix up the active ingredients in the Swiffer cleaning solution with ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is harmful. It is the active ingredient in anti-freeze. It is also known to cause renal failure (kidney failure) in dogs. The chemical in the Swiffer WetJet is one molecule away from the toxic stuff they use in antifreeze. Because this dog died suddenly, many people tried to pin its death on the Swiffer WetJet. The problem is that most people don't review the ingredients properly and don't know that propylene glycol n-propyl ether or propylene glycol n-butyl ether and isopropyl alcohol are fairly safe.
Despite this common ingredient mix-up, the sudden death of a perfectly healthy dog may be rightfully pinned on the Swiffer product. Dogs walk on the floor and the lick their paws after. Also, if food spills on the floor, they often run to lick it up. Dogs are always in direct contact with the floor. It seems possible that if the dog had no health problems previously and experienced a sudden death, it could be related to a household cleaning product.
Because of the incident with this dog, the Swiffer WetJet carries a negative stigma. Even though many people call it a hoax, it does seem suspicious. The molecule chain is slightly different than ethylene glycol. Yet, this person's German shepherd was the first to die followed by the two cats. There was never any necropsies done to see how the cats died but it seems that it was liver failure. Because the cause of the cats' deaths was never certain, a lawsuit was never filed. Had a lawsuit been filed, we would know everything there is to know about the safety of the Swiffer WetJet. Obviously, there could be other factors that caused sudden liver failure in all three pets but it is always important to be cautious.
The cleaning solution has no ingredient list anywhere on the packaging. This seems pretty suspicious too. Sadly, North American standards for labeling are far behind the times. Manufacturers don't need to list much for their products to reach store shelves. In Europe, labeling products is much clearer. Maybe there is a reason why the Swiffer WetJet never made it to the European market!
Considering that the Swiffer WetJet was not designed for wood floors, it shouldn't be used for wood floors. There are other products on the market that are safe for wood floors that clean in a similar way. The Bona Mop by Bona Kemi is similar to the Swiffer but it has been designed for use on wood floors. Hopefully, now you know the dangers of using a Swiffer WetJet mop on your wood floors and will think twice next time you are going to do a cleaning.