Post 68: A New New Stuff Sucks!

This post will be a little different, for a couple reasons:

One: I lost more than a week due to illness—not Covid, but a debilitating infection. I’m okay now, though. I’m so thankful we still have antibiotics!

Two: With this post we’re kicking off a new feature of the blog: Each post will feature a single practical idea: A Rebel Hack. There may be text in addition, of the kind you’ve read so far—or not. We’ll see how it unfolds.

Here’s your first rebellious hack:

Is Your Floor Mop Gross?

Of course it is! Floors are disgusting!

For a while I kept trying different mops. They all looked so sparkly and colorful in the store. But one after another, they all soon became loathsome. It seemed like they’d make the floor even dirtier.

Sanitation companies know about this experience. They know we don’t want to even touch a mop part that’s turned gray or brown from dirt. They have a couple “solutions.” A bucket with a wringer, and a mop head you can wash or throw out.

With the bucket you’re still dealing with filthy water, hauling its weight and trying to avoid splashback. And where will you store the bulky thing? Will you wash it out or stick it in some dirty closet with residue still clinging to it? None of this works for me.

With the changeable mop strings or heads, you just remove those parts and install new ones. Easy, right? But where do you get the replacement parts? From a company that’s screwing you, asking you to spend your time shopping with them, and your coin. One source sells replacement mop heads the size of basketballs. They say you can use them fifty times (really?), then wash them. But what other laundry are you gonna spin that vile thing with?

You already know these represent cruelties to the planet. The resources to make them. The fuels to transport them. The pollution they produce. The beautiful varieties of life they kill.

What I Did … and It Worked!

I found a used mop with the absorbent part gone. It was pretty easy to understand the way the flap went on, and to measure the size it had been—so I just cut it out of some old towel material I’d saved for rags and poked its corners in the grabber holes. I dribbled some of my favorite soapy water on the floor and scrubbed. When the cloth got dirty enough, I grabbed a handy gripping tool (a pair of pliers—sturdy tongs will also work), took the mop outside, yanked off the rag, and threw it into the trash. Yeah, the rag went to the landfill. But I gave that mop a longer life. It’s something. And it works.

This stack took me less than an hour to make. The podcast I got through while making it was good, too!

Dirty enough for the trash? Yes, and there’s no need to touch the cloth at all if you have tongs or pliers.

Other types of mops will present themselves in thrift stores and alleys. They’re waiting for someone creative to notice and transform them into a prouder, greener tool.

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