Make Your Own Wet and Dry Mops Using Common Household Items

You don't have to spend a fortune for the convenience of disposable floor mops and cleaners. Find out how to save money and do it yourself!

Light-weight mops with the changeable pads and solution bottles make mopping a breeze. But there’s a price to pay for convenience, namely, the ongoing expense of disposable pads and bottles of cleaning product. Save money by making your own solution and washable or disposable mop pads. In addition, you’ll gain an effective, yet gentle, natural cleaning product for hard surface floors.

If you have a discontinued Clorox® Ready Mop on hand like me, you know that the pads and cleaning solutions are no longer available. Making your own pads and floor cleaner allows you to continue using your current flat mop as long as you want to, regardless of marketing trends. The following options also work with the currently popular Swiffer® Wet-Jet.

Make your own cleaning solution
Homemade cleaning concoctions can be used to refill an empty solution bottle. If it is difficult to remove the lid from the empty bottle, use a vice grip to twist the cap off, being carefully not to damage the cap. Once the cap has been removed, snip off the prongs inside the cap using finger nail clippers to make the cap reusable.

If you no longer have a bottle on hand, the cleaning solution can be stored in a spray bottle and sprayed directly on the floor or pad when mopping.

Try either of these liquid, floor cleaning recipes:

  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil soap to two quarts of water and stir to combine. Using a funnel, fill an empty solution bottle with the mixture and recap. Store extra solution in a jug and refill as needed to clean no-wax, vinyl and wood floors. Rinse no-wax and wood floors after mopping to avoid slipperiness.
  • Mix 1-1/2 teaspoons of Dr. Bonner’s Sal Suds or liquid Castile soap into a gallon jug of water. Refill the mop bottle with solution as needed. This cleaner is effective whether you have hard or soft water, and can be rinsed as needed using hot or cold water. Use to clean any washable floors, including wood.

Make your own reusable pads
When deciding what to repurpose into swift, floor cleaning pads, select towels, cloths or socks that are durable and absorbent.

  • Chenille socks are thick, absorbent and fit over the rectangular mop head like a glove. Slip one sock over the flat mop head and use to dry or wet mop: tile, stone or hardwood floors. Just toss the dirty mop sock into the washing machine.
  • There’s no need to run out and buy new socks for your mop. If you have a stray, athletic, cotton sock in your laundry basket, give it a try. Launder after each use.
  • Bar mop towels or kitchen dish cloths can be cut to fit around your flat mop head and tucked into the grooves on the back. Wash after each use.
  • Flannel fabric can be affordably purchased locally by the yard and cut to fit around your mop head and tucked into the grooves on the back. If you have an old flannel, baby blanket on hand, cut it to size to provide a supply of reusable pads.

Inexpensive, disposable mop pads
If you prefer the convenience of disposable mop pads, here is an inexpensive version. Look to the box of blue towels sitting on your work bench in the garage. Shop towels may be the hand towel used primarily by auto mechanics, plumbers and builders, but it can also be used to clean floors. It works like a cloth and is the right size to fit flat mop heads without trimming. They are affordably priced at home improvement centers, and come packaged 200 to a box. They can be used dry to dust the floor, or as a wet mop using the solutions noted above. Change and discard shop towel pads as needed.

Do you make your own cleaning products that save you money? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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I use an O-Cedar ProMist Max spray mop with my homemade floor/window/kitchen/bathroom cleaning solution: add 1/4 apple cider vinegar and 1/4 rubbing alcohol to one gallon of water. Instead of buying expensive cleaning pads, I simply cut up old towels, bind the edges on my sewing machine so they won’t fray, and clip the “pads” together on the mop. When they get soiled, I toss them in the wash with bleach and extra homemade laundry detergent.

helen smith

I forgot to give my mop -Microfiber Spray Mop for Floor Cleaning – Wet and Dry, 360 Degree Spin Microfiber Dust Kitchen Mop with 410ML Water Tank Sprayer Include 3 Microfiber Reusable Pads and 1 Scrubber – About $29

helen smith

I have a mop similar to these, with a nice little spray handle on it, no fancy electric, just push spray handle, then mop over it, and a bottle that can be refilled and popped in the mop.

All my life ( and I am 88 years young) I have used vinegar for mopping. My recipe for cleaning any floor, including wood and laminate is 1/3 plain vinegar and 2/3 water, and that’s it. Cleans great. I try to use home products and find vinegar has tons of usage.


I use an old Clorox Wet Jet mop. I fill almost full with tap water. Then add about 1/4 cup white vinegar. Replace cover on handle. Shake to mix.

For the pad, I use old washcloths. . They are the perfect size and the terrycloth scrubs well. Just throw in wash when done.


Forgot to say for the dry Swiffer mop just just use clean (old) washcloth.

I also sometimes use a small microfiber cleaning cloth for either wet or dry mopping but washcloths seem to work as well.

I think it is crazy to buy stuff you already have or can make.


Oh and two more things.

1). My Wet Jet mop instructions said do not refill with anything else. Hah!

2). I use plain tap water. It has no bacteria, , being chlorinated. The vinegar keeps anything new from growing in it. Like pickles. 🙂


GREAT idea, I never thought of that or if they would fit.


I’ve tired so many different cleaners and new cleaning gadgets and finally(and when prices got outrageous) I went back to what my mom,granny and ancestors used; vinegar and baking soda.

Elaine @

That’s rubbing alcohol.

Elaine @

I use a solution of half rubbing and water in a spray bottle. I use it everywhere. From glass, degreaser, to clean my floors (except wood). One bonus is it makes a great indoor fly spray. Just spray and wipe up to a nice clean surface.


in addition to socks for the swifter, I use my sons’ old t-shirts & sweatshirts cut to swifter size and tuck in the corner slots. Also, instead of buying dryer sheets anymore, I use 2 tblspns liquid softener on a sock or t-shirt remnant and toss in the dryer with clothes. works like a charm for static cling and fresh smelling.


i purchased the swifter yesterday along with a 3 pack of microfiber cloths and a large box of wet disposables that were on sale. I live in a one story home and decided to clean all of the windows. I attached a microfiber cloth, poured window cleaner in a small dishpan, walked around my home easily cleaning each window and glass door, rinsing with a garden hose, then letting drip dry. I also cleaned the screens with the swifter + window cleaner. I even cleaned the windows of my car as I passed by. The results? Sparkling clean! I decided to try the wet disposables for quick clean ups in my small kitchen area where I cook but know that the microfiber cloths would work there as well. A clerk in the grocery store remarked on how she loved the Swifter and uses her tool to easily wash the walls of her home.

Kay Rohde

For some years now, I have used the microfiber cloths sold in the automotive department for my Swifter. I take about 10-12, wet them with water and my favorite cleaning solution, wring out the excess and put them in a small bucket. I then start the damp mop routine, and remove the cloth as it becomes soiled and immediately replace it with a fresh one from the bucket. When the task is done, the cloths are laundered. Microfiber cloths clean far better than the original wipes designed for the mop, and are far more sanitary than using the traditional mop bucket with cleaning water and wringing mop or sponge mop.

Helen Smith

Great Idea Kay – I am on a fixed income, so I use the home made EVERYTHING, cleaning, cooking, etc. This is a great place to share anything homemade ( except for me, sewing:-) . I have saved a lot of money last few years by checking on the web to find anything. Tonight I am making my own sauce for Halibut, and found out that if you don’t have black bean from Asian store, why buy something you use once, so I searched and found out I could use a product I keep in my fridge for a year!

Mary Lou Holmes

Super ideas! These ideas are so terrific I can’t wait to try any of these! Thank you so very much! I go through cleaning supplies like crazy 🙁

Nana Dee West

I have a shark mop that says not to put in it without bottle. Love it but the initial cost was a 100 bucks. The pads looked sturdier and I have cleaned and reused them.


The chenille socks are the best! I use a sock once then I turn it inside out use it again, then I wash it.


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
(Front or top load machine-best value)

4 Cups – hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar*
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda**
½ Cup Borax


-Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Renee Sireci

I just discovered Velcro cloth pads that fit the Swiffer. I used one yesterday for the first time. It got the floor cleaner AND it is washable. I look forward to trying the homemade cleaning solutions the next time I run out!


Renee, I have used vinegar all my 88 years of cleaning, etc. the best cleaner I find is
1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 water, mix and fill your swiffer if it can be opened:)


A solution of white vinegar and water works well too and requires no rinsing. Natural and no toxins to harm your pets paws.

Cut a roll of paper towels in half (sharp knife) and soak them in the solution in a Tupperware container.


I know what I’ll be doing with all those old hospital socks I’ve accumulated through the years!


Don’t forget that thrift stores also offer all kinds of materials and bottles/containers that can be re-purposed into items you can use for, usually, very cheap.

Jean Floyd

I think the micro dusting clothes that you can buy at the dollar stores would work well, also.


Going to try these. They sound great for low income families.

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