Six months ago, I fell asleep on my livingroom couch. Upon awakening around 4 A.M., I discovered two things;1) Sleeping on the couch, unlike sleeping in
bed,induces copious drooling on one’s self, one’s clothing, and one’s sofa cushions. 2) At 4 A.M., many television stations air a lot of infomercials, which are rather annoying extended commercials complete with studio audience and repetitive huckstering by one or more overly perky emcees.
This one had managed to incorporate itself into my dream just before I woke up, causing me to stare stupidly at the TV for a good ten minutes. How did these people get into my mind, man? Once fully awake, I started to make some sense out of what was happening . Some people were using a funny-looking mop on a filthy floor and getting it clean and dry without using a bucket. Hmm. I sure could use something like..wait a minute! I groped frantically for the remote to turn it off before it caught my interest, but it was too late; I’d already been sucked in to watching.
The next day, some TV-induced impulse made me google the name I’d heard mentioned. The Wagtail, as it’s called, is an Australian invention that is stunning in its ingenuity and simplicity. The website has a video demo and some descriptive ad copy, but what got me was the clever design. As a person who has tile floors throughout the house, I have tried too many floor cleaning tools to count. From the good old-fashioned string mops (excellent for growing your own little mildew garden and spreading dirt in an even film over the floor) to sponge mops (great for pushing dirty water around; when you need more dirty water, slight pressure on the handle will yield another pint or so) to a glaringly inefficient “mop vac” that ran for a grand total of 20 minutes after an overnight charge, required special cleaning fluid and was heavy and a pain to store. I was a bitter, hardened veteran of the clean floor wars.
The ad copy read that the Wagtail is used in Australian hospitals as an efficient and versatile multi-use tool for cleaning surfaces, floors and windows, and for dusting and sweeping as well. They had my full attention now! One tool that can be used for 3 different jobs–for twenty bucks I’d try it out.
It was fantastic! It has a telescoping handle that locks into whatever length you’re comfortable with, for starters. At 5′ 9″, I found myself having to stoop over to use the standard sponge and string mops. After half an hour or so, my back would be singing “Ave Maria” and threatening to snap in two. The swiveling head of the Wagtail has velcro on one side and a squeegee on the other. You simply attach one of the three different cleaning pads to the velcro head, clean your floor or counters or windows, then flip your wrist to turn the head to the squeegee side to dry the area. All of the cleaning pads are washable instead of disposable: how smart is that? Instead of having to replace mop heads, you wash them. Instead of throwing away disposable electrostatic cloths after one use, you wash them. Instead of throwing away chemical-laden Swiffer cloths after one use and creating yet more landfill, you wash the cleaning pad. Ever wish you had a good scrubber pad instead of that wimpy little strip you get on sponge mops? The Wagtail has one–also washable.
You don’t have to lug a bucket around with you while using the Wagtail, either. You wet and wring the detachable cleaning pad under your faucet, add a drop of dish soap (Dawn works very well) and reattach to the velcro head. When the pad gets dirty, you simply rip the pad off of the velcro, rinse and wring under the faucet, add another drop of dishsoap, reattach and you’re off.
The idea is to clean one small area at a time, flip the head over, and squeegee the area dry. The swivel head moves with your motions in an efficient “S” pattern. The Wagtail was originally invented by an Australian professional window cleaner who wanted to invent a tool that caused less strain and stress on his back and shoulders while cleaning all day. It really does reduce the amount of motion you’d normally use to mop a floor.
What you get for $19.99 plus $6.00 shipping:
1 telescoping handle
1 “gooseneck” detachable part for cleaning floors
2 cleaning heads with velcro and squeegee attached; 1 large (floors) 1 small (windows, dusting, counters)
3 large and 3 small velcro-backed cleaning cloths; two microfiber cloths for floors, counters and
windows/mirrors, two electrostatic cloths for dusting and sweeping, two scrubber surfaces.
3 microfiber cloths that they throw in as a little extra gift.
Advantages over Swiffer mops, sponge mops and string mops:
-Multi-use tool for mopping floors, dusting, sweeping floors, washing windows.
-All cleaning cloths washable; no expensive “refills” at $7-$8 a pop.
-Doesn’t create waste; instead of throwing out a chemical-loaded cloth every time you clean, you wash the
cleaning cloth instead.
-Handle adjusts to longer length for dusting in high places (i.e. ceiling fans) and for tall people.
-Once a section of floor is mopped, you flip the head over by flicking your wrist and squeegee the floor dry!
No waiting for wet floors! Yay!
-No special cleaner needed. Use a drop of dish soap (Dawn works well) for floors and counters and vinegar and
water for windows/mirrors. Squeegee after wash and blot excess.
I have been using my Wagtail for half a year now and still think it’s great. The only downside I had in the whole experience was the amount of time it took for the company to ship my Wagtail; 8 weeks. I think the distributor here in the U.S. must order them from Australia as needed. On the upside of that, though,I got a prompt response when I emailed their customer service site.
I use my Wagtail to clean my tile floors, my sliding glass doors and big windows (super easy with the extension rod and squeegee), counters, ceiling fans, air conditioning vents, and mirrors.
I’ve saved over $50.00 since I switched from the Swiffer system, plus I’m creating a lot less trash than I used to. Wish I could say I’m also keeping a spotless house every day now, but I’d be lying.
That’s not the Wagtail’s fault, though.