this thing's incredible

The Swedish Mop Used at Nike Headquarters Makes Cleaning Almost Fun

Photo: Esther Bubley/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

I recently moved into a three-bedroom house in Minneapolis. Aside from one unfortunately carpeted room, the floors in my new place are original hardwood, with tile in the kitchen and bathroom. Dream come true, right? Yes, except because it’s Minnesota, we’ve found ourselves battling a slushy, mucky film of salt, sand, snow, and ice. Back in our old New York apartment, we were slaves to the Swiffer. The dry pads were never very good at picking up dirt or pet hair; the wet pads were fine at wiping up a spill here and there, but we’d go through three disposable pads just to mop one room. Now that we’re in a larger space, I wanted to find a more ecofriendly and cost-effective alternative to my old Swiffer habit.

The Bona mop that comes as part of the multi-care kit covers way more ground than a Swiffer.

Enter Bona. The family-owned company was founded in 1919 and has its headquarters in Sweden. When I started researching it, I was surprised to learn that a number of prominent janitorial staffs are loyal to Bona: Nike World Headquarters in Oregon, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Singapore Art Museum. Bona bonus: The formula is nontoxic and pet-friendly — good news for my licks-everything Chihuahua.

I sprang for the Bona Multi-Surface Floor Care Kit, which came with everything I needed: an easy-to-assemble mop, microfibre cleaning pad, full-size spray bottle of Bona’s signature hardwood floor cleaner, a separate cleaner for stone, tile, and laminate, and two concentrate refills. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but the Bona made mopping kinda fun. The flat-head mop is wider than a Swiffer, covering more ground faster while still swiveling under furniture and into hard-to-reach corners. The microfibre pad gripped the mop firmly and didn’t get filthy as fast as the Swiffer pads do: I mopped both the living and dining rooms before stopping to clean the pad and reattach it. That action alone addressed my biggest beef with the Swiffer. Instead of tossing the dirty pad like a dryer sheet and pulling out a new one every 3 to 4.5 meters, I rinse it in the sink and use it again. Or, if it gets super-grungy, I can throw it in the laundry. (It’s good for up to 300 washes.)

Of course, none of this would matter if the Bona did a crap job cleaning the floors. But the Bona scoured my floors as well as any traditional string mop or sponge mop with a built-in wringer, and definitely better than a Swiffer. No streaking or sticky residue either. I doubt I’ll ever be domesticated enough to mop regularly (once a week, Martha — really?), but at least the Bona makes it a little less painful.

A Swiffer replacement for upholstery

If you’re looking for something to remove pet hair or dust on sofas and rugs, writer Hilary Reid discovered a ‘broom’ that’s essentially a giant sticky roller: “The jumbo lint roller on a long stick quickly became the essential cleaning tool I never knew I needed. Here’s how it works: Extend the handle to a comfortable length, and then roll the sticky adhesive part across the rug, so that it picks up hair, dirt, and whatever else is lurking within. Once the adhesive sheet is covered, tear it off and begin again. Roll and repeat, until you’ve finished its surface area.”

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The Swedish Mop Used at Nike HQ Makes Cleaning Almost Fun