Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by my pals at Swiffer. But, as it will soon become plainly obvious, the opinions written here are 100% my own.
Sponsored posts: for a blogger, they are pretty commonplace. I suppose because of both that and the fact that there are lots of bloggers who do a great job of sharing blog biz info in a competent way (like here and here), I tend to just focus on the stories I’d rather tell than explaining how and why I choose the sponsors I do. But I also really, really enjoy this little hobby-turned-job o’ mine (well, one of them, anyway), so it can certainly take up lots of time on my weekly to-do list to handle the behind-the-scenes stuff, and I thought you guys might like a little info on that, too.
I would say that in an average month, I turn down about 90-99% of the offers related to blog reviews, sponsors, etc. that I usually get. That’s not to say that most of them are good offers, or that I’m trying to brag about the ones I receive — in fact, on days when I’m overdue for making a mess in the garage and instead spend it working indoors managing expenses, reviewing analytics, or answering calls and emails, I can be downright ungrateful for this wonderful opportunity I usually feel very lucky to have. Still, business-y related activities are practically part of my DNA now, and I can’t help but feel obligated to at least pretend to be a professional when that little red alert bubble goes off on my phone (within reason, of course — this blog still sees its share of f-bombs when I get a chance to write).
Most of the business side of blogging is just spent saying no (and no, and no) and trying in vain to get down to an inbox that doesn’t keep me awake at night (I’m almost compulsive about inbox zero, and it can sometimes impact my sleep if there’s an urgent one I forgot to answer). Hundreds and even thousands of emails are sent to bloggers just like me from brands I don’t want to work with, haven’t used before, don’t believe in for whatever reason (poor customer service, they don’t fit what I blog about, bad/cheap products, etc.), or just plain give me a weird vibe (without getting too technical, there are lots of sketchy companies out there that deliberately ask for things that are considered pretty big no-nos for how blogs share info online). And then of course, there’s all of you guys: my badass readers, who I spend so much time thinking about what to share with you next, wanting to sit down and chat like we’re old friends, updating you on life events, etc. So, when it comes time to actually choosing a brand to be a brand ambassador for, it’s almost hard to put into words all the little boxes I check off before I consider actually representing one for an entire year.
In this particular case, it was Charlie who made a very convincing argument… with her aggressive, furry butt. Right around the time that she murdered a healthy indoor plant I’ve had growing in the living room for a while (and you know how long it took me to learn to keep those suckers alive).
And when she’s not busy murdering plants, she’s still making various other messes across my dark floors that show every little speck of dirt that has ever existed (I still love them when they’re clean, but dark floors and Charlie’s insane amount of shedding just don’t mix well).
When I was first contacted by the Swiffer team about becoming a brand ambassador, I pretty much had the first few boxes already checked. It was a brand I knew well, used (very!) often, and just plain liked already. And once I realized that they are eager supporters of Habitat for Humanity (they’re a P&G brand), I was even more pleased to get involved.
Every now and then, they send me new boxes of various products (the Swiffer Sweep + Vac being their most recent, which I really like for how quickly it lets me pick up after Charlie’s shedding), along with other boxes that aren’t intended for me. Instead, they ask me to give these boxes away: to pet adoption centers, to my local Habitat center, or to a friend or family member who could use it (more on that in a future post). One of the more interesting things they sent in this latest box, however, was a package of a store brand’s version of their dry and wet refills.
I’m no stranger to figuring out how to save a buck or two. Knockoffs don’t make me feel cheap for not buying a name brand when I can’t really tell the difference. I even like the challenge of DIYing something I’m inspired by but simply can’t afford, like the kitchen light fixture I created earlier this year. But when it comes to substitutes, there’s a pretty big difference between “I can totally make that myself” and “I’m going to sacrifice a lot of quality just to save a few cents.” When I traveled up to Cincinnati last year to check out the P&G headquarters and get schooled on how much time and effort they put into studying and designing their Swiffer products (seriously, they have like ten different classifications for “dirt”), it was no surprise to me to then see that even at a cursory glance, there was a pretty big difference between Swiffer (on the left) and the store brand they shipped me:
It may look (at first) like I’m comparing four of the Swiffer sheets to only two of the other, but that’s actually four on the right as well; they just come stacked two at a time and then folded in half, to make them look thicker inside the box. I know this trick, too: it comes in handy when trying to make towels look fluffier when photographing bathrooms. The Swiffer wet refills compared to the store brand weren’t as significantly different when I stacked them side by side (they were still thicker, just visually not as noticeable as the dry ones), but the — I dunno, sponginess? — of the pads were different to the touch, and the texture was very different, too.
But, all of that doesn’t really matter unless it makes an actual difference on my floors. Luckily (?), I had a pretty good spot to test things out in. The plant massacre in the living room left soil, bits of plant material, lots of dog hair, and some kind of dried mud on the floor and baseboards. Yuck.
Swiffer never even asked me to talk about their actual sweeper vac (they just sent it in the box like “hey, how about this for Charlie?”), but I really, really like this thing. My favorite feature might have been how the little vac part is flexible enough to go up on my shoe molding and get super close to the edge of the floors (yeah, I still need to caulk between the baseboard and shoe molding in some spots, but keep reading).
I tried out the store brand first, which left a lot to be desired. The main thing was just that it was kind of like putting a facial tissue onto the vac when I was used to something a lot thicker. Almost immediately, the wipe just pushed around the dirt rather than picking it up. Charlie’s shedding is no joke, so I need all the help I can get in the dog hair department.
When I put the Swiffer dry cloths on instead, I didn’t even have to push the thing around yet before it started picking up the dirt the other one left behind. This is the part where Swiffer wants me to get all science-y and tell you it’s their textured ridges that are making this magic happen, but my “lab” is less about measuring 4X more effectiveness and more about creating 4X more dirt (thanks, Charlie!).
With most of the dry stuff now gone, it was time to switch to the Swiffer WetJet. I was running short on time and patience, so I didn’t even bother to do much comparison here. The WetJet pads have a differently-textured strip down the middle where the other version didn’t, and the nice, thick pads picked up everything really quickly.
The only gripe I’d probably say about the WetJet is that on my laminate floors, it can take quite a while before the streakiness of the solution disappears. It’s not enough to stop me from using them (the convenience far outweighs leaving dirt on my floor), but I also have super dark floors and I haven’t really tried alternatives yet (Swiffer has some other refill types — with lots of different scents, too — but this is the standard one that comes with the WetJet out of the box). Since I had a few minutes to kill before I had to leave the house, I also went ahead and caulked the gap between the baseboards and shoe molding. I need to paint the shoe (it has yellowed over time for whatever reason), but I’m giving myself a high five whenever I manage to tick one more item off my to do list (especially when it’s those finishing touches I never seem to make time for).
There you have it. I doubt it will be long before I need to do another “test” on the floors, but at least the little furball is cute, right?
P.S. Speaking of Habitat, I’m heading up to New York with Swiffer later this month for an event with Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott and later volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as part of Swiffer’s New Mover program. I’m really looking forward to it, so be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for live updates when that all goes down!