Let’s Play a Game: What’s THAT For?!

HELLOOOOO America!  I’m Vax Muucav and welcome back to the hottest new Game Show on VacTV where we ask you….

Our three challengers have raced the clock and each to guess what today’s “Mystery Items” are used for. Can YOU guess?


This is our final round. Tina, you’re in the lead. Contestants, are you ready?

Here’s today’s Mystery Item…

Now tell me, “WHAT’S – THAT – FOR?!”



Vax: Yes, Rick?

Rick: That clearly is for spreading frosting on icecream cake.
Vax: Oh, I’m sorry, that is incorrect.



Vax: Stan! Tell us, what’s that for?

Stan: That is for raking patterns in Japanese ornamental rock gardens.

Vax: Oh no, that too is incorrect, Stan.



Vax: Tina! For the win, can you tell us – what’s that for?

Tina: Um, like, I think that is for sucking the cat fur and dust off the furniture?



Vax: Now Tina, for 10 Bonus points, can you tell us what’s it CALLED?

Tina: Um, a “couchy suckmeister?”

Vax: Oh, good try, but that is incorrect.

That, America, is an upholstery tool! One of three typically-standard attachments that come with most vacuum cleaners, this flat, somewhat wide tool may come with or without bristles. Either way, it is designed to maintain a gentle amount of suction over a wide, relatively flat area. It is perfect for pulling dust and allergens out of soft surfaces like upholstered couches or car seats, carpeted stairs or even your mattress. Equipped with short, stiff bristles or flocking (like a lint brush) it will pull up stubborn lint and pet hair. Do YOU have one at home? If so – and now that you know what it’s for – are you using it?!

Vax: Congratulations Tina, you are today’s big winner!  

Let’s show America the amazing prizes you’ve earned today…

(Curtain Draws Back)

A lifetime supply of premium Vacuum Cleaner Bags!

Tina:  Um, wow. Thanks. But there are only 10 bags there…how will that last a lifetime? I have 2 hairy dogs.

Vax: Knew you’d ask…..

(Curtain #2 draws back)  

That’s because you’ve also won a Brand New… Hairless Cat! 

Get rid of those tired, hairy mutts and bask in the love and easy upkeep of this designer feline. With no fur, it’ll take forever to fill those bags!

Thanks for watching, America! And remember, the next time you encounter a peculiar object, ask yourself WHAT’S THAT FOR?!

HELP Helpers to Help You Better…

Crystal Ball with vacuum stuffWith Mind Readers in short supply – Arm yourself with the right info to get exactly what you need! 

What do PSYCHICS have to do with getting you the correct type of printer ink, brake pads or vacuum cleaner bags? NOTHING!  (And that’s precisely why you wouldn’t want to rely on one to get the products you seek!)

Let’s take a light-hearted look at an issue that drives consumers, retailers and service people equally nuts…We call it “Crystal Ball Syndrome,” CBS for short. It all has to do with expecting others – specifically those we do business with – to be mind readers!    

With our lives as busy as they are, we all need HELP! Thus, we employ the services of a wide variety of “helpers”(i.e. repair people, hairdressers, cleaning ladies, etc.) to do things for which we don’t have the time and/or expertise.  We also need stuff (i.e. food, clothing, electronics, household supplies and replacement parts.) With so much to wade through and so many variants, we often rely on salespeople to point us to the right aisle, or to select the correct product for our needs.
But have you ever gotten all the way to the store to pick up something like an ink cartridge, only to realize that you have no idea which type (of the 100 choices on the wall) that you need! Perhaps a nearby sales clerk takes pity, trying his best to jog your memory for details that can help him figure out what style your machine takes. But you can’t even offer him the brand….All you know is that “it’s blackish/grayish, square-ish, about yea big…”  Both of you are frustrated. He makes no sale and you go home empty-handed.

Crystal Ball Syndrome strikes consumers and retailers alike…no one is immune. Parties on either side of the sales counter become understandably feverish over wasted money, effort and disappointing results. The good news is that this affliction can be prevented by executing two simple measures: Homework and Communication.

As a consumer, your HOMEWORK should be to always take a little time in advance to collect your thoughts about what you want, for what purpose, and why. Be confident and secure in what you seek, up-front. If you’re undecided it will be equally helpful to tell your salesperson exactly where you need clarification or tailored advice. Details are key! Here are some examples specific to our business…    

Let’s say you need a replacement part for your vacuum cleaner:

  • Learn the NAME of the part you need of (i.e. Drive Belt)
  • Write down PART/STYLE NUMBER if you can find it (i.e. Style 4/5)
  • Write down the BRAND and MODEL number of the machine in case (i.e. Dirt Devil, #M085590)
  • If you’re not sure what type of info you need to bring – or don’t know where to find it – Call first to ask.

If you want to buy a new vacuum cleaner, come in having considered:

  • Your budget (up front and annual)
  • Size of your house and number of levels
  • Types of hard flooring and types of carpeting
  • Pets? Kids? Cleaning service?
  • Family health issues or physical limitations like allergies or back problems
  • Vacuums you’ve liked or disliked in the past and why

COMMUNICATION: This, of course, works both ways. In other words, although service/sales people are not psychics, they should of course be skilled, listen carefully, and have a strong command of their responsibilities and products. They must also be clear to you, their customer, about what info they need in order to give you the product or result you seek.  However, their ability to help you to the fullest relies on your ability to clearly communicate your needs, likes, dislikes, budget, deadline, other expectations or questions. Try to use the right terminology if you can, but don’t be ashamed to ask what things are called – We can all work together better when we speak the same language!

We’ve all been victims and inflictors of CBS. So remember that “helpers” can’t read your mind (and neither can customers.)  Just like your husband that can’t guess why you’re upset – your cleaning lady can’t know you are allergic to PineSol if you don’t tell her.  And although you shouldn’t expect us to remember the belt style for the vacuum your Mom bought from our store in 1984 – we need to be able to help you find the model number we need to look it up and get it for you! 

In spite of the mental fog and lack of patience caused by our hectic lives, we can take steps to prevent further suffering…  Since it’s easier to do something right from the start, vow to be prepared: Know what you have, know what you want, and learn the right terminology to use to enable someone to help you to get what you need!

Enjoy a GREENER, Cleaner Home in 3 Easy Steps! (and give the planet a break too!)

The red and gold colors of fall are creeping in – but GREEN is always in season! Doing our part to help the planet starts at home. But guess what? Being environmentally responsible also has great benefits for your home and family!

Here are 3 easy (yet commonly overlooked) things you can do to make cleaning more fun, effective, and environmentally friendly:

1. Use an efficient vacuum cleaner
A good, efficient vacuum like the Miele U1 upright (pictured above) C1 Compact or C3 Complete Canister-style vacuum can pick up more dirt in less time, with great ease and agility. Most importantly, it will trap that dust so that is doesn’t spew back into your breathing air and settle on surfaces like your walls and furniture (yuck!) The production of electricity can be a big strain on our environment. With Miele- very little time, effort, and electrical energy is wasted running the vacuum unnecessarily!

2. Use a quality vacuum cleaner
Did you know that quality vacuum brands like Miele are designed to last up to 20 years?! Instead of buying multiple cheap, “throw away” vacuums – be responsible by investing in one good machine! Not only will your cleaning chores be done faster and better – but think how much energy, natural resources, money and space in the landfill will be SAVED!!

3. Use natural, plant-based household cleaning products
This is an easy one…The next time you run out of Windex® glass cleaner, or your favorite conventional, toxic all-purpose cleaner – REPLACE IT with a more responsible choice! Our favorite is Caldrea® brand aromatherapeutic household cleaners. Caldrea® offers earth-friendly, plant-based, biodegradable, cruelty-free products that smell absolutely heavenly and REALLY WORK!! We’ve personally replaced all of our products at home including window spray, dish soap, even our laundry detergent with Caldrea®! It’s made cleaning a lot more fun. And to reduce our technician’s repeated exposure to harsh chemicals, we even use Caldrea® to clean the vacuums we service! Come into Queen Vacuum to try it for yourself! FREE SAMPLES AVAILABLE!

By: Rachel Decker

Good vacuums are not hard to find – you just need to know where to look! Learn more about better choices of vacuums on our website, www.queenvacuum.com/bestvacs. Call or stop in our shop any time for more explanation, information, or schedule a personalized DEMO!

It’s “Vac” to School Time!

The A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s of vacuuming…

Ahh…the kiddos are finally going back to school and hitting the books! Personally, I’m glad to no longer be legally obligated to attend an educational institution. However, I still love to learn! My favorite stuff to learn about is that which helps me accomplish something fun, or makes my life easier/better


So we put our heads together and compiled a short list outlining some of the most important, overlooked and misunderstood concepts in vacuuming. So while we’re in the “school” spirit, I implore you to take a minute to study the tips we outline below. No, we’re not going to try to turn you into total vacuum-geeks like us. But if you find vacuuming to be a giant pain in the neck (literally or figuratively) that’s your first clue that something’s wrong! Following our guidelines just might relieve you of a lifetime of needlessly confusing and frustrating vacuum headaches!




A – It’s all about AIR FLOW!  The first vacuum cleaner began as a fan and a pillowcase on wheels: Something to move air in a specific direction, and something to separate the collected dirt from clean air. Vacs are much more advanced these days, but the principle is the same: If anything impedes the air flowing IN or OUT of your vacuum, it will not “work.” So the next time your vacuum doesn’t suck, check  to see (1) if something is clogging any of the pipes leading in to the vacuum or (2) if your bag is full, or the pores of the bag or other filter material are clogged (as clean air will not be able to pass through.) In other words, if air can’t get out of the vacuum, new air can’t get in!

B – BREAKAGE Happens. Remember that your vacuum is a mechanical device; a machine with moving parts. So don’t get discouraged when its performance mysteriously declines, or if an accident happens. Much like your car, your vacuum is comprised of parts that can get out of alignment, or wear out over time and need replacing. The good news is that much breakage is preventable! User error is a common cause, so take time to learn how to use your vacuum correctly.  Also, always provide your vacuum with the basic maintenance it requires at the appropriate intervals (like bags, belts, filters and regular cleanings). Lastly, consider getting the vacuum fixed when it doesn’t work right, before throwing it out. Most often the problem is not as catastrophic or expensive as you fear. (And hey, at least here estimates are FREE!)

C – CHOOSE Wisely. As I’ve discussed in previous articles, your vacuum is a toolChoose your brand and model of vacuum wisely, as the wrong type will not perform as desired on the surfaces you are cleaning, or meet other expectations you may have. Choose the right attachments for specific tasks (like using a soft dusting brush for vacuuming baseboard molding, instead of a stiff crevice tool.) Also, selecting the correct bags and filters for your model is imperative: Improper fit means leakage of dirt into your vacuum’s motor and your house! When in doubt, seek professional advice.

1 – You should vacuum your floors at least ONCE per week: Above-floor surfaces, ONCE per month.  Some households require greater frequency than this, especially if there are pets. But do your carpets a favor by thoroughly vacuuming the hair and dust weekly before it imbeds too deeply in the carpet fibers. This also will bring the nap of the carpet back to a raised position, helping prevent that ugly matted look in high-traffic areas. You’ll also reduce the need to “wash” the carpets with water-extraction machines. This concept also applies to your couches, drapes and mattresses! You can avoid the formation of dust-bunnies (who are born of neglect) by vacuuming your hard floors more frequently.  Eliminating the rough, sandy particles by vacuuming (instead of “Swiffer-ing”) prevents scratching and dullness in the finish of your wood floors.

2 – Every TWO years, get your vacuum serviced.  You know to change your car’s oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles, and that your brakes only last so long. Your vacuum has moving parts too. Every couple of years get your vacuum a “tune-up” which includes cleaning and lubricating the brushroller and bearings, checking the electrical system, unclogging and washing, etc. (Because you can’t keep your house clean with a dirty, smelly, busted-up vacuum!)

3 – Every THREE months check your belt and filters. Over time, fine dust clogs the pores of the material that comprises your vacuum’s filtration system. If your machine uses bags, most of the vac-choking dust gets removed with the bag (once per month on average.) But if your vacuum is bagless, it is IMPERATIVE to keep its filters very clean, very regularly. Otherwise, the vacuum will suffocate causing a sharp decline in performance and overall lifespan!  Lastly, most regular upright vacuum cleaners use a stretchy, rubber drive belt than can last up to a year. However, if you have ever had an “accident” in which something got caught/stuck in the brushroller, the belt has been subjected to excessive friction that may have caused it to break or stretch too much. Without proper tension, the brush can’t spin aggressively enough to pick up debris well on your carpets. Get a new belt on there, STAT!

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Our job is to make your life easier…but communication is the key. When you have a solid understanding of your cleaning needs and equipment and can convey the right information to us – we can provide you with the correct solutions.  In other words, the more you understand about your vacuum, the better we can help you! And when you have the right tools for the job and the know-how to follow through…the frustration stops and the savings of time and money starts! “Knowledge is power,” baby!


Bed Bugs…BUSTED!

Send the kiddies safely off to school, and SLEEP more soundly… 

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”  GET REAL! Who can sleep after even mentioning BED BUGS? If you have just sent your kids packin’ to college, you may not be sleeping very well as it is. And worrying about their living conditions states away certainly doesn’t help. COLLEGE KIDS PRACTICALLY LIVE OFF OF THEIR BEDS, in close quarters with a high level of social interaction, and are not known for their cleanliness. So you can imagine how easily bug problems can be missed and spread. But don’t freak out…Knowledge is power!

Let’s review some common-sense tips on how to detect, and potentially avoid bed bugs with just your wits and the tools you already have! (If you already know a lot, skip to the summary.) 

(Excerpted from CDC Website, about Bed Bugs)

 What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, flat, nocturnal insects that feed on the blood of sleeping people and animals. They are reddish-brown in color, wingless, and range from 1 to 7 millimeters in length. They can live several months without a blood meal. Infestations of these insects usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep or spend a significant period of time. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms.

They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, and under any clutter or objects around a bed.  They tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep. Bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they can transport stow-away bed bugs as they travel potentially infesting new areas, including their homes, as they relocate.

How to Identify a Bed Bug Infestation:

One of the most noticed signs are bite marks that appear on the face, neck, arms, hands, and any other body parts. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea – a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from feeling the bite. These bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These other signs may include:

  • the exoskeletons of bed bugs after molting
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets
  • a sweet musty odor
  • rusty-colored blood spots from their blood-filled fecal material that is often excreted on the mattress or nearby furniture

A comprehensive Integrated Pest Management program  to control bed bugs may include methods such as:

  • using monitoring devices
  • removing clutter where bed bugs can hide
  • applying heat treatment
  • vacuuming
  • sealing cracks and crevices to remove hiding places
  • using non-chemical pesticides (such as diatomaceous earth) and
  • judicious use of effective chemical pesticides
  • bed bug infestations will not go away without intervention, and intervention is most effective when populations are low

The Huffington Post printed a great article specifically on the issue of bed bugs in college dorms.  Here are some highlights… (FULL Article)

Ways students can protect themselves:

  • When going on vacation, place luggage on luggage racks rather than a bed. And if you have to use a bed, vacuum your suitcases upon return from a vacation.
  • If you’re purchasing used furniture for your apartment, make sure you thoroughly investigate it before you bring it into your home. The last thing you want to do is PAY for bugs!
  • If a bed is provided in your room, thoroughly inspect it for signs before you move in, and periodically check your mattress and surrounding areas for signs of bugs. (see below)

WHAT TO DO if you discover (or suspect) a bed bug infestation:

  • DON’T PANIC! While bed bugs are not thought to transmit disease, infestations decrease the quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness and embarrassment. Please don’t start rumors until an infestation is confirmed. Also, skin allergies or other bug bites can be mistaken bed bug bites….
  • Yet be on the safe side – watch where you place your clothes, shoes, bags, etc. and limit sharing of belongings.
  • If at school, tell your R.A. you suspect a problem, so that they may arrange for proper, professional diagnosis and extermination if needed. Do not try to exterminate on your own.
  • Seek medical attention if your bites are causing you distress.
vacuum mattressSummarySo, use your smarts (as well as a flashlight and good vacuum) to check out your sleeping quarters regularly!   Change your bed sheets often and look at the mattress for signs of bugs. And one of the best things you can do to keep your MATTRESS fresh and free of allergens, dust mites, and to nip bugs in the bud – is to VACUUM it!

Utilize a powerful, sealed-HEPA vacuum cleaner with disposable HEPA bags to do this job correctly. Your goal is to pull out fine, creepy particles like dead skin cells, dust mite eggs and excrement, as well as bed bugs, their eggs and fecal matter. The vacuum must be of the highest quality so as not to expel those particles back out into the air! Dispose of your bag immediately to eliminate the contamination. Miele vacuum cleaners are the best choice for this task, and they even produce the SBD10 Mattress cleaning attachment (pictured above) to reach the awkward crevices where dust and bugs accumulate.

Now that you’re in the know don’t neglect your mattress and don’t send your kids off to school without an education about bed bugs and a good vacuum to keep their dorm clean! But DO get a good night’s sleep!

The Dirt on DUST…

What’s in that stuff, and you do you really want to touch it?

bagless vacuum survival kit

Summertime, the beach, vacations…Just can’t get enough of them, can you? Well, you have to come HOME eventually, and I’m sure your dustbunnies are eagerly awaiting your return! You may even add to their family as you bring back piles of sand, fur from overheated/shedding pets, weird bugs, not to mention your own “sheddings” as your exotic sunburn peels away. Eeeeewww! 

Dustbunnies are curious creatures. Made up of all kinds of questionable substances they seem to have a mind of their own, and they multiply – well, like rabbits! The only good thing about them is that they are clearly visible, which makes them easier to hunt. Dust on its own can be much more difficult to tackle – and that’s no good because it’s creepy stuff! Not only does dust migrate into hard-to-reach places, it is easily made airborne again so you have to be sneaky!

“Oh, who cares about capturing every speck of dust? And what’s the big deal if you touch it?” you ask. If you doubt dust’s creepiness, read this
Time Magazine online article entitled What’s In Household Dust?
In a nutshell, dust is made of: 

–       shed bits of human skin

–       animal fur and dander

–       decomposing insects and their fecal matter

–       food debris

–       lint and organic fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics

–       tracked-in and/or airborne soil particles

–       pollen

–       meteorite particles & volcanic ash

–       soot

–       particulate matter from smoking and cooking

–       scant amounts of lead, arsenic, DDT, etc.
(from sources like volcanoes and industrial processes)

Although household dust will not harm most people, it doesn’t take much of these allergenic particles to make some people miserable. Therefore it makes sense to eliminate as much dust as you can (without driving yourself crazy.)


Top Tips to Minimize Dust:

  1. Take off your shoes in the house!
  2. Eat only at the table and clean the floor promptly when done
  3. Don’t smoke in the house
  4. Clean regularly and vacuum everything possible

The most effective tool in your arsenal for this task is your vacuum cleaner! A properly equipped model will remove dust from hard surfaces; floor and above. It will also pull up the deeply embedded dust from carpets, upholstered furniture, curtains and mattresses: These “soft” surfaces are where some of the most allergenic materials “live.” Using dusting attachments and the correct carpet nozzle is imperative! Furthermore only a “true-sealed HEPA” vacuum has the ability to pick up these particles without releasing them back out as exhaust, or leaking out of body seams. Bagged machines are the most hygienic choice as they minimize your exposure to the captured dust.

Bagless vacuums may pick up a lot of dust, but most leak, or spew, out an unsightly amount as well. Furthermore, they require an incredible amount of maintenance to keeping running optimally, having to becleaned out, by hand, monthly. This is a messy task that can make an allergic person very sick. If you own a bagless machine – we recommend assembling a simple BAGLESS VACUUM SURVIVAL KIT: mask, gloves, apron, drop cloth and bagged vacuum. (see top image)


Steps to maintain your BAGLESS vacuum at home:

  1. Line floor with newspaper or drop-cloth
  2. Plug in a spare bagged vacuum
  3. Put on: dust mask or respirator, elbow-length gloves and apron or smock
  4. Unplug bagless vacuum and position on drop cloth
  5. Carefully remove dust bin then empty into large, empty garbage bag
  6. Take bagged vacuum and vacuum out the bagless’ main housing, ducts, cyclone chambers, filters and exterior. Wipe down with cloth dampened with mild detergent spray.
  7. Replace primary and exhaust filters if older than 1 year OR wash washable filters then let dry for 24 hours
  8. Once dry, re-install all filters and reassemble unit.

 *OR*  Give up and bring it in to Queen Vacuum for cleaning/service!

If your machine is bagged, simply remove and replace your bag monthly. Replace your filters annually.

Ewww-AhhhSo if dust is getting on your nerves and/or in your nose – don’t freak out! It may kill your electronics, but is not likely to kill you. It yucky and sneezy, but can easily be tackled if you equip yourself with the right tools! So kick off your shoes, use a good bagged vacuum (often), then take a deep breath (of cleaner air!)   

Top Tops for Summer Trips

How a Vacuum and other clever products can save your sanity!

Summer is going sooooo fast! But many of you may still have some fantastic plans for what’s left. Maybe you’re packing up the family truckster and venturing cross-country to camp. Perhaps you prefer sunbathing pool-side at the beach club or are the “stay-cation” type. Whatever the case, the last thing you want is for messy mishaps or post-trip cleanup to suck the fun out of your precious family time!

How often had you said that “you need a vacation from your vacation?” Catching up on missed work is one thing…But spending spending too much time shaking sand (out of everything you own) or searching for “that funny smell” in the car is just infuriating. Spend more time sipping pina coladas or gawking at the Grand Canyon by following a few simple rules and keeping a few clever products on hand!


1) Plan ahead to deal with messes, then tackle them right away

2) Use multi-tasking products

3) If you smell something, say something

* Available at Queen Vacuum

*1) Small Vacuum Cleaners

– If you have the luxury of electrical hookup, keep a smaller-sized (plug-in) vacuum with extension hose vacuum in your cabana, cabin or RV. Use it to tackle excessive sand, creepy bugs and to suck out the air in space-saving bags (see below)

– Use a battery powered handheld wet/dry vac (even better with a car-charging adaptor) to gather dirt and food crumbs in these same places, plus the car! These little leftovers can really leave a post-vaca vehicle smelling funky fast – so tidy up periodically through your trip.


*2) Moso Natural charcoal sachets
– Odors are not meant to be just covered up. Since they are often indicative of an unhealthy situation, the source and/or gaseous byproduct ought to be removed. Made only of odor-absorbing charcoal, Moso sachets are perfect to keep inside duffel bags of camping gear or cabins to get rid of dampness, musty odors and unhealthy mildew. Adding no additional scent or chemicals they work wonders in a hot, stuffy car (especially if a dog is riding along.) Just place them out in the sun for a couple of hours to refresh. 


3) “Space Bags”, multiple sizes
– Using these vacuum-sealing plastic bags consolidate bulky items like sleeping bags, eve, coats and other clothes. They’ll seal out dust, water and bugs as well in the months/year between their next use.


4) Old Washcloth and Towel
– Keep a couple of these in the car. Paper towels are good too, but the wring-able fabric helps more on a big spill. They’re also great for brushing off sandy feet and beach chairs before loading in.

 5) Natural face/body wipes– Make sure they’re gentle enough for your face. But don’t worry they’ll work great on the rest of you – or even sticky spills on inanimate objects too!

*6) Organic alcohol + essential oil spray (preferrably lavender)
– I know, thinks sounds a little odd. But I keep a little spray bottle in my purse, beach bag, desk, car – everywhere! Why? Although this product is typically labeled as natural “deodorant” the two lonesome (yet amazing)

ingredients allow this spray to morph into hand sanitizer, antiseptic, bug repellant, air/fabric deodorizer, and cleaner for dozens of surfaces!

7) Used plastic grocery bags
– If your’re packing snacks for the car ride (or on the beach with carry-out garbage) pack some of these to corral apple cores, wrappers, recycling and the like. They’ll also keep wet bathing suits, muddy sneakers or “accidents” quarantined.

Maybe one day we’ll be able to take the cross-country road trip of our dreams or a really exotic vacation. Until then, we’ll be living vicariously through you! We can’t wait to hear your feedback about how YOU used these tips to make your trips more suck-cessful (and any other cool tricks you’ve discovered!) 

A Little R & R… How YOU benefit from US taking a vacation!

In this edition of Queen Vacuum’s blog, we’re going to take a break from talking specifically about vacuums, and talk about taking a BREAK!  

Nope, there will be no reviews of the best vacuums or how to hunt down dust bunnies today! I can assure you that you’ll still be left with thought-provoking tidbits of advice. We are not claiming to be shrinks or life coaches, but we’ve learned a few things during our 16+ years as small business owners, and it wouldn’t be right to keep it all to ourselves!

Remember; this blog is for you, our readers/customers. The subject matter is up to you as well. We write stories to answer the questions you have, whether asked explicitly or inferred through general conversation. So how could we ignore one of the most commonly-asked questions of this past year? Albeit unrelated to vacuums or cleaning, we are happy to discuss why we are closed on Saturdays and other random dates throughout the year. And as is always our goal, we hope that you can take what you learn here and apply it to improve your own life!

I encourage you to read the full story…there are details which may really speak to you. But for those short on time, I’ve borrowed a snippet (that I used on our website a while back) that sums it all up:

“Please PLAN AHEAD…We’ll announce exact dates as they approach, but we will CLOSE to take one short vacation MONTHLY (usually one of the last weekends or around a major holiday.)  …We’re a true “mom & pop” biz, solely operating 6 days a week for your convenience. But after over 14 successful years (sans vacation) we finally realized that we need a rest! Thanks to your encouragement we decided to close for short, occasional breaks… These will actually offer the maximum net operating hours for you while giving us enough back-to-back days to visit out-of-state family, attend the occasional wedding, complete home-repair projects and have a life! We’re so grateful!  Stay tuned…”

We work hard, really hard – as do you. We genuinely want to help people, and although this business is our life (and we must keep our sanity a high priority) we care more about your needs than you can imagine. We understand your life is complex, so we do our very best to make our service to you as effective, valuable, pleasurable and easy as possible. But as you’ll read, we learned the hard way that we can’t be all things to all people, and it’s hard to know when to stop or say “no.” The disappointment we feel when we can’t help somebody is physically palpable among us. But we’ve also decided to be the absolute best at what we do, even if that means scaling back on certain products, services or operations that are better served elsewhere.

So, what do you do when the business is growing and you’re achieving your goals, but it’s at the expense of your personal health and relationships? Re-evaluate. After some extensive experimenting (also  enlisting advice from certain trusted business-friends and other professionals) we settled on a schedule with enough “open” hours to serve the majority of our loyal customers. But it also allows us time to get through the large amount of work that can only be done after-hours, without interruption and in the quiet. Lastly, it gives our team time on Saturday to enjoy Shabbat,  a “blessed rest,” and recuperate/enjoy life a little. Perhaps some people assume we are lazy or not “customer-friendly” because our hours are somewhat limited. But truthfully, our most loyal, best customers are supportive. “Good for you” or “you guys deserve a break” they say. The relief we feel upon hearing that cannot be described!

It took us many years to figure out that WE ARE NOT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! We cannot replicate the format of some other stores because we do not do the same things. We fill a gap left behind by all other “big-box” and online retailers. We are here for the folks who need and/or appreciate expert advice, as well as repair service. This is best achieved though a small, personal shop operated by a highly skilled (and invested) team. Perhaps one day will we grow to the point where we can afford more employees to expand our hours? Eh, maybe. But with expansion, operating costs go up and personalization goes down…  Amazon.com and Wal-Mart are great for some things, but Queen Vacuum is better for others. So we’ve made a point to work hardest at what we’re good at – what our best customers need – and forget the rest!

Here’s a little more “back-story,” if you have an extra minute….   Several years ago, while still operating our two store locations, our team had unanimously decided to take back our weekends! For the most part, all of us could now attend special weekend events (like out-of-state weddings and family gatherings) with a little relaxation to spare.Incredibly, that action launched our business and lives to the next level! However, as you may know, our 2nd store location in Neptune City was destroyed in a flood in 2014. Since then we consolidated our stores into just our (former) Red Bank location. To serve our “displaced” Neptune customers and spread out the excessive work we opened back up for a 6th day. With a little creative scheduling and the extra retained staff available it worked out alright!  However, in January 2017, our dear Erika who had to move away. John and I now had some seriously skilled, hard-working shoes to fill…and away went our extra day off LOL! We’decided to maintain the 6-day “open” work week our customers had recently become accustomed to. But without enough time off and a TON more work to complete we quickly grew weary.

So, we decided to follow the pattern of many other small businesses. We grabbed our calendar and blocked out the federal holidays, penciled in a few 3-day weekends around major personal/family events, and a 2-week vacation for ourselves. Now we work ourselves to-the-bone 6 days, rest like it’s God’s business on Saturday/Sabbath, and ENJOY a few larger blocks of refreshing and/or productive time off!!  Funny thing…Each time we’ve made these minor operational modifications, our productivity and revenue has gone UP, our relationships improve and the “spring” returns to our step!! We’ve enjoyed our loved ones, friends and hobbies while getting a little vitamin D, and we come into work on Sunday mornings completely refreshed. This helps us stay sharp and work harder for our customers all week!

MORAL OF THE STORY: This article is not designed to be a long-winded excuse to have a few days off per month (not that that’s really a lot to ask.) I mean it when I say that we have learned a LOT about ourselves, people, and life itself over the past decade. This article is about learning what’s truly important in your life, then taking care of it. Step back from your daily life, habits, routines and chores and look at what you’re doing. Do you like what you see? You must take care of YOU, or you’re no good to anyone else. Your choices and changes you make may affect other people, so be respectful of that fact. Ideally the situation will work out to the benefit of all. But others should respect your choices as well, so that the favor can be returned someday. Furthermore, assume the best, give the benefit of the doubt, be patient… you know, “golden rule” stuff. A little respect and a friendly smile can go a long way.

We’ve finally learned to take some of those wise, old adages more seriously: “Quality versus quantity”; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”; “Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you”; “All work and not play makes Jack a dull boy”; “You can’t win them all.” We looked into our business and personal lives to decide what was important. We learned to be protective of our time; to “weed out” unfruitful things that weren’t in line with our goals, leaving time and resources to “fertilize” the good stuff! Things got better. So we hope that that by having read our story you’ll not only gain respect for our decision to close Saturdays and for an occasional vacation, but also finds ways to streamline and improve the quality of your own life!

Going CSI on your Vacuum Warranty…

To Warranty or NOT to Warranty? Using our “CSI” skills to decipher your vacuum’s eligibility…

To be perfectly honest, warranty is not a fun topic to discuss. It is a wildly misunderstood part of our industry and often makes for cranky customers…Imagine you buy a $500 vacuum and within 3 months it is up in smoke and inoperable! So let’s clear up the confusion.  What is warranty, how does it work and how can you get the most out of it? (Keep in mind – this applies to lots of products, not just vacuums!) 

When a manufacturer produces product, it makes a promise to the consumer that the product will work, as intended, for a given period of time. They are usually a “limited warranty” meaning that there are reasonable exclusions. It is NOT a “100% Guarantee” and it is timely! It’s very logical, really. And luckily your entire warranty contract (as well as maintenance requirements) are all included in your owner’s manual. Yes – you must read your manual! You run the risk of poor performance, permanent damage and voiding warranty if you don’t follow the “rules.”What is WARRANTY?


What IS covered? 

“Defects in materials and workmanshipThat’s it. The company protects you from defects in their manufacturing.Things like burnt-out switches, bad computer control boards or batteries that won’t charge are typically covered. Occasionally, a plastic clip, cuff, bracket or internal valve cracks. But clogs, broken belts, filters, damage by animals or falls, sucking up water are a few examples of excluded issues/items.  A true defect is usually easy to spot. It’s something that a consumer in no way could cause to happen!

Although your car may encounter potholes, it’s not meant to drive into them. Your auto dealer cannot cover damage from hitting a pothole under warranty. If the fuel pump relay went, sure. Similarly, cracking your vacuum’s housing on the coffee table or sucking up wet Cheerios or socks is not coverable.

So really, how do you tell a defect from accident/abuse?

        …This is where we get all “CSI” on your vacuum!!

Simply put, the forensic evidence speaks for itself. Remember, we fix things for a living and we see it all. Little details speak volumes especially when compared to the bigger picture. Ever look carefully at a broken piece of plastic or metal? Excessive bending and wear make distinctive stress marks near the break. A defect in the tempering of the metal will result in a break that looks totally different. Similarly, we can tell exactly what caused a vacuum’s belt to break just by looking at it: Brushroller bearings seizing, something got stuck in brushroller, vs crooked installation.


How did WE get in the middle of this?

Manufacturers make things, but most of them can’t fix a sandwich. They need authorized third parties repair facilities like us (nearby their customers) to perform the repair work when something goes wrong. We maintain warranty contracts with nearly every major vacuum manufacturer (Hoover, Dyson, Dirt Devil, Bissell, Miele, etc.) So if you call Dyson because your DC50 upright won’t stand up, they’ll send you to us!


We are the manufacturer’s eyes and ears, but we follow their rules of warranty eligibility. We are bound by a strict contract! They send us customers in need of help. If the vacuum’s age is still within the period of time offered in the warranty (usually at least 1 year) we must then perform a lengthy, multi-point inspection and submit our findings in a paper or digital claim. We must order/buy genuine repair parts in advance, repair the vacuum in good faith, and submit for reimbursement (at a rate lower than I care to discuss.) It’s quite a process. For the customer it is all done for free, but it (understandably) takes a bit longer than a regular service repair.

Don’t shoot the messenger! 

We sometimes encounter problems that the manufacturer does not cover nor pay us for. The customer must pay if these are to be remedied by our staff. But we always call with an estimate and thorough explanation before anything is done or charged! Folks can still get pretty miffed about this, but trust is the “glue” in this whole process. We are here to be a fair, expert, impartial party between the both of you! Read your owner’s manual and understand the warranty. Take good, careful care of your machine and that will make it easy for us to decipher any genuine defects that may arise over time. That makes processing warranty a snap, saving us all time, money and frustration!

>> CLICK HERE for a detailed yet concise printable form explaining warranty!  WARRANTY HANDOUT (printable PDF)

Vacuums Suck and Cars Don’t!

(PART TWO of a short series using cars to understand vacuums)

We hope you enjoyed last week’s article “If cars were built like vacuums – we’d probably be dead.” If you missed it or didn’t finish reading it CLICK HERE to catch up!

So far, we learned that cars have significantly improved in critical areas like comfort, safety and fuel efficiency over the years. However, the mass majority of popular vacuum cleaners have suffered a serious decline in quality and performance to consumer demand for low prices and weight!

Now that you’re warmed up to my train of thought – using something familiar like cars to better understand your vacuumlet’s explore another commonly misunderstood factor: PERFORMANCE QUALITY. Following are 3 key factors to consider….
Every machine is designed to do a certain job, or set of jobs. To share the same classification, machines must obviously share specific performance criteria: Calculators have to calculate; Toasters must toast; Cars need to move, steer and stop; Vacuums cleaners have to suck and hold dirt in side. If a machine doesn’t perform the expected tasks, we either consider it broken, or we just have to find a new name for it!

Yet within those categories of machine, we often see numerous variants, brands and types. Sure, shapes and colors may vary, but most often a machine will be separated from others of its kind because of a claim to perform somewhat differently. It’s important to look carefully at these differences in claims, as it may drastically affect the machine’s ability to perform the tasks we expect.

The first part of what makes up a machine’s quality of performance depends on how well it is tailored to the task at hand. Do you have the right “tool” for the job? You can’t roast a small chicken in a regular, sliced-bread toaster. I don’t expect you’d buy a Toyota Prius to go off-roading in the mountains. And I would hope you’d know better than to buy an upright vacuum with a non-stopping brushroller if you have only hardwood floors.

The second factor falls in the realm of finer details. Two widgets may claim to do the exact same task, but have very different prices. Why? Quality is usually the one of the main reasons, yet this can be cocktail of several factors. “Better” quality usually indicates a products ease of use during the performance of its given task. Also, the better product can usually be expected to last longer or break less, providing a greater value for your dollar over time. Perhaps this product also does the particular task “better” than the other: Computes faster; Toasts more evenly; Is safer in a crash; Allows less dust escapes into the air, etc. Esthetics often plays a role too. Ultimately you need to decide how much those subtle factors affect the completion of your task, whether you feel they are worth the price, or which is just a better fit for your personal preferences. So if the next vacuum you buy is only $50, that’s fine – It may be just right for your situation. What I hope is that you will NOT BE FOOLED by the commercials and colorful packaging into believing that it will last very long or is “great for allergy sufferers!”

This brings me to the third aspect of discussion: How to maintain your equipment’s level of performance. Everything has an “Achilles Heel.” You wouldn’t dream of buying a car, whether a Hyundai or a Hummer, and never change the oil or brakes…You’d either blow up the motor or get killed in an accident! Similarly, you can’t buy a vacuum and not replace the bag or filter for 6 months without risking blowing up its motor, or you at least suffering a serious allergy attack! Just remember the KEY WORD: MAINTENANCE. All machines, especially those with moving parts, need it now and then! Otherwise, your car, vacuum, etc., cannot be expected to perform as well as it is intended to. You’ll need to understand what it takes to keep it going, and whether or not you’re willing and able to keep up with it!

At Queen Vacuum, we play “matchmaker” all day! It’s our job to listen and match each customer up with the right vacuum for their specific needs. Sometimes it’s a $69 Dirt Devil, sometimes it’s a $699 Miele. When you know a lot about a given type of product it’s easy to spot the differences between seemingly similar items. You can discern the main criteria: WHAT it does, HOW WELL it does it, and HOW LONG will it last. Most importantly, you can translate those differences into the potential benefits or detriments in your experience with that product. When you don’t know much about something you’re looking to buy, please do your research. But if you just can’t wrap your mind around the differences in the products you want – have an expert explain it. Or try the old trick of relating it to something you already understand well like food, electronics or (our favorite) cars!