See the Vacuum for the TREES! How your choice of vacuum affects the planet…

Earth Day - Miele VacuumHaving just passed the celebration of Earth Day, we figured it would be fitting to talk about how your personal choice of vacuum cleaner affects the WHOLE PLANET!! Okay, that was a little dramatic. But like many actions we take in the name of being “eco-conscious,” some have greater benefits or consequences than others. Every little thing we do really does matter in some way.

Here at our vac shop we’ve met some really amazing, intelligent and conscientious folks; so mindful of where and how they shop. “All-natural, fair-trade, sustainable, eco-boost, low-carbon footprint…” Their food, furnishings, cars and more have all been acquired with great care. However, why do the majority of these same “green,” Prius-driving folks make the absolute worst choices in vacuum cleaners?! We hope no one takes offense to this observation! But from our perspective, it’s a rather disturbing and ironic trend. So, why is that happening?!

When it comes to making a “green” vacuum (or other appliance) purchase, many people can’t see the forest for the trees… Caught up in advertising hype they’ll buy something that sounds “eco-friendly”…typically because it doesn’t utilize a “disposable” dust bag. “Oh my – all of those bags going in the trash is terrible” they think. But instead they’ll have mistakenly settled for an entirely disposable machine – yikes!! The landfill issue is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the negative impact a poor-quality vacuum can cause to your home environment and to the larger environment of our earth. We have articles galore discussing a vacuum’s effect on indoor air quality. Others illustrate the fine balance between deep-cleaning and over-aggressive cleaning’s destruction of floors and furnishings. We should take good care of what we have and not be wasteful, right? Spewing dust and/or wrecking stuff just aren’t green. So, let’s keep this short and sweet with some specific advice…

Here are Queen Vacuum’s Top 5 Tips for being kinder to the Earth:

  1. STOP repeatedly buying crappy, disposable vacuums!
  2. Whatever vacuum you have, MAINTAIN it by keeping it clean, replacing it’s bags, filters, belts, etc. at the correct intervals to keep it healthy.
  3. REPAIR your vacuum when it’s broken or just needs basic servicing (don’t waste money and resource by throwing it out.)
  4.  Buy a good QUALITY bagged vacuum (like by Miele), ONCE and for good (it takes a lot more resource to build a new vacuum than to fix an old one.)
  5. If your vacuum truly is pronounced a “goner” by our repair tech, let us RECYCLE it! Certain parts can be separated and recycled, rather than fill up the landfill.

If “going green” is one of your goals, there’s no need to drive yourself nuts. But before you pitch your old Hoover or run out to buy something new, perhaps consider some of these concepts… Learn a little about how and where things are made. In general, how much energy and resource is consumed in a product’s manufacture? How effectively do they work and how long will they last?  Ask yourself: WHY you are seeking “green?” Is it for your personal health, environmental impact or perhaps both? Answering these questions will help guide your purchase. Just make sure your priority is clear as you might not be able to have it all.

Really think before you buy… get some perspective by doing a little homework and consulting an expert. Talk and do business with real, live industry professionals (ahem!) Be cautious of infomercials, random e-reviews and certain rating companies/magazines (which typically lack vital long-term perspective and/or produce very inconsistent, unscientific results.) Remember that these tips will apply to a whole lot more than vacuum cleaners. Let us all make a greater effort to stop, step back and look at the BIGGER, long-term picture of how our purchases affect the planet! And who knows – the trees might thank us one day!

10 Things You Should Vacuum – You might be surprised about what you’re missing!

This article will be hijacking the tips laid out in one of our most fun YouTube videos! If you’re a visual learner and could use an educational entertainment break STOP READING and click on the video link below to watch 🙂 Otherwise, continue below and enjoy this nutritious mental snack the old fashioned way – then watch the video later!

In this particular video, Rachel demonstrates 10 things you SHOULD be vacuuming – but probably are NOT!  

“Starring Rachel, her beloved Miele S7 upright vacuum cleaner and adorable cat, Chanel, learn about the surprising things you SHOULD be Are you vacuuming the things you should? vacuuming to keep your home clean and allergen free – without much effort! Also protect your furnishings and other household items by cleaning them correctly without causing damage. Learn what some of your vacuum’s attachments should be used for as well as why a Swiffer” can be deadly to your floors!”

In case your device can’t load the image, here’s the LIST:
1) Pillows, couches and chairs (upholstered stuff)
2) Bare Floors (forget the Swiffer, it’s limited and can cause damage!)
3) Live and Silk plants*
4) Keyboards, remote controls and select electronics* (don’t do static-sensitive items like computer guts)
5) Vents…dryer, fridge, etc
6) Heat/AC air ducts and heat registers
7) Wool Coats & Jackets
8) Mattress
9) Pets* (Some dogs and cats love this, but certainly not all. Loosen excessive fur, critters and dander at the source! Use a specially-designed pet massaging tool with very low vacuum suction. The noise will be less and it won’t risk sucking to their skin.)

10) your Vacuum itself! (it gets dusty too, you know)

10 things you should vacuumNOTE the asterisks (*)! You’ll see that the tips in the video are prefaced by an “equipment check”…   In order to correctly and safely vacuum the majority of carpets, above floor surfaces, electronics and other delicate surfaces you must have a high-filtration vacuum with VARIABLE SUCTION, and use it on a low setting! You also must attach the correct tool such as dusting brush, crevice or upholstery tool. Cleaning is achieved by an appropriate balance of suction PLUS agitation. Think about your washing machine… water is used to suspend dirt particles. It’s the agitation that really loosens debris and boosts the effectiveness. Similarly, in your vacuum, air is used to suspend dirt. The air simply moving (i.e. suction) helps loosen quite a bit of dust, but agitation provided by a bristled attachment or spinning brushroller loosens more! You also know that some clothes belong in the delicate cycle only…apply similar logic to certain household surfaces.

Why on earth would you want to go through the “trouble” of vacuuming all these things? Dust is sneaky, destructive and prolific – it is everywhere! Dust-clogged electronics can prematurely short out. Ducts get filled with dust and spew into your family’ breathing air. Uncleaned mattresses and pet beds can become a breeding ground for mites and other unsavory critters. A bad, leaky, over-powered vacuum can do more harm than good to your home than you’d imagine. Torn up rugs, scratched wood, dingy-dusty upholstery and polluted air will wear down your home’s value as well as your quality of life.

So stop in to Queen Vacuum…we’ll help you select the correct quality, high-filtration, variable-suction vacuum for your home. Our selection is huge and prices unbeatable! And not only will we be able to service and maintain it for life, but we teach you how to use it. Top that, internet or big-box store!! Then, occasionally check in on our social media outlets like YouTube to pick up handy new tricks to make quick work of your housecleaning chores. Have fun and see you soon!

Trick or Treat? False Claims or Real Benefits…

….the frightening reality of vacuum marketing.

Scary Vacuum

In honor of Halloween, I always like to address some of the spooky, freaky and downright scary aspects in the world of vacuuming!  What do I find to be the scariest? FALSE MARKETING CLAIMS!!

Disappointing, perhaps; But scary? You would think that spending as much time with vacuum cleaners as we do would make us numb to some of the more disgusting aspects of their existence. On the contrary: We’ve become hyper aware of how different machines work, how they often don’t work, and how their performance sometimes differs greatly than claimed or expected. What makes a false or misleading claim scary is the consequence the user may suffer from believing it!

Following are some CLAIMS attached to certain vacuum cleaners. See if you can guess which claims are a “TRICK” (as in totally bogus or just misleading) or a “TREAT” (that is, a feature that really has value.) THE ANSWERS MAY SURPRISE YOU! 

“So powerful it can pick up a Pick up a bowling ball!”  Answer: TRICKoreck holding bowling ball
This one has been around forever, and is just plain hysterical. Oreck uses a bowling to demonstrate the suction power of its little companion canister vacuum, the “Buster B Vac.” The use of the funnel-type device at the end of the Oreck’s hose is the key.  The funnel cups around the bowling ball providing a suction cup-like effect, truly requiring only the slightest amount of vacuum to provide the seal. This is NOT a great indicator of suction, let alone cleaning performance. In fact, this little Oreck has some of the weakest suction power on the market.

“No Loss of Suction”  Answer: TRICK
This is Dyson’s famous line. The company did suffer some slight legal trauma over this claim…they now have to include some fine print that supports the point.  But the mighty Dyson can and will lose suction eventually. The tag line is not exactly trickery, but too many people make the errant assumption that they don’t have to wash the vacuum’s filters or empty the dust collection bin regularly. If this constantly-required, at-home maintenance is neglected the poor Dyson (or any other bagless vacuum) suffocates and just won’t suck anymore. That equals a dirty house.

“Zero Emissions”   Answer: TREAT!
Most of the allergy-provoking particles in your home are sized between 0.1 and 10 microns: a fraction of the width of a human hair. The bodies of many vacuums leak badly, allowing fine dust and allergens to escape once sucked up.  On the contrary, vacuums like the Miele C2 and C3 canisters and most Dynamic U1  uprights rate as some of the best filtering vacuum cleaners on the market. Using an air particle scanner, a Miele will record a zero emissions rating at .3 microns setting. I’m not aware of any other “sealed-system” domestic upright or canister vacuum that achieves this degree of clean air being exhausted back out into your home. This means great relief for allergy sufferers! (And those who hate having to dust the house after vacuuming!)  The good thing is that this claim is pretty well regulated, so when you see it you should be able to believe it.

“No expensive bags to replace”  Answer: TRICK

bagless vs bagged vacuumDefine expensive! Many bagless vacuums are advertised using this lie – I mean line. The majority of these machines utilize a pleated HEPA filter in the dust collection bin, which serves to separate the dust from the clean air inside the vacuum (which a bag would normally do.)  The trick is that these filters are not free! They need to be replaced every 6 months to one year, which can cost you the same annually (and sometimes up to twice as much) as disposable paper vacuum bags.  Lastly, the long term expense you really have to consider is the vacuum itself. Since most bagless vacuums manage dirt so poorly internally, their motors tend to short out much sooner than their bagged counterparts…replacing a whole vacuum frequently is what really gets expensive!

So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t believe everything you see on TV or a vacuum’s packaging (at least not without doing a little research first!)  If you rely on an advertised feature working exactly as claimed, please consult an expert (like us) to make sure that it can live up to your expectations. Look at the KEY WORDS in the claim. Are the terms clearly definable and provable? Do they even seem like an accurate method for measuring the vacuum’s cleaning performance? If it seems too good to be true, it just might be (or at least not without paying the price of extra money or your time.)

By: Rachel Decker (Co-owner, Queen Vacuum)

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