Happy November, everyone! We’re only a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, so you know what that means – time to clean the house from top to bottom before the guests arrive. And you better start now rather than later, especially before that extra hour feeling wears off.
You’ll never regret having a good vacuum around. Sucking up all that dirt and grime not only keeps your home spotless and clean, but also clears away harmful allergens built-up in your floors. But with so many brands, options, filter-types, and other factors, choosing the right vacuum can be a daunting task. To make the decision easier, we’ve narrowed down some of the most important factors to keep in mind while picking out a vacuum.
Think about your job. Do you have hardwood or shag? Leather and wood furniture or cozy, upholstered pieces that may need the occasional vacuuming? If you’ve got a lot of surfaces that need attention like thick carpets and textured furniture, you need a more heavy duty vacuum with a lot of power. Consider an upright model with a motorized beater-bar (the brush roller) and features that allow you to adjust depending on the height of your carpet. If you have hardwood, make sure your choice will clean without damaging your floor. Often a good quality stick vacuum will pick dirt off hard surfaces without leaving a scratch.
Have a small space? A good quality stick vacuum takes up less room in apartments, lofts or a small home.
Double up. Having a smaller vacuum around the house will keep you from having to pull out your huge vacuum every time. A stick vacuum or handheld vacuum is perfect for those quick jobs.
Get attached. If you have lots of dusty knick-knacks, furniture to clean around, or thick curtains, look for a vacuum that comes with attachments that will allow you to handle specific jobs. Canister vacuums are often great for these jobs as they are easy to maneuver and can fit in tight corners, but still clean just about as well as an upright.
To HEPA filter, or not to HEPA filter. High Efficiency Particulate Air filters in vacuums are known to remove more allergens and particles than a standard vacuum alone. However, pay close attention – a true HEPA filter has been tested to ensure they will filter with 99.7 percent efficiency and will come with a seal to prove it; other HEPA filters only capture 85 – 90 percent of particles. Also remember that water filtration systems are not a replacement for HEPA filters.
For a HEPA filter to be useful in a vacuum, it must be completely sealed or you risk dust seeping out and back into the air and floor. It is also best to choose a HEPA filter vacuum that has the filtration system after the motor to make sure the exhaust is actually emitting allergen-free air.
Keep in mind that HEPA filters will need to be replaced at least once a year. Cleaning with a dirty filter will definitely do more harm than good.
About going bagless. Bagless vacuums can be convenient and sometimes be the money-saving option. Be careful though – emptying them can be a huge chore (especially if you have animals, as pet hair often gets stuck in the canister) and for allergy-sufferers, can release all that dirt and dust right back into the air. On top of that, if your filter isn’t washable, you’ll have to replace it at least once a year. A high-end bagged vacuum with a HEPA filter will often do better than its bagless counterpart, but you’ll have to pay a lot of money up front, but might be worth it – especially if you have asthma or allergies.
Verdict: A good, bagged upright vacuum with attachments and a good filter (in both the vacuum itself and the bags) will usually never let you down. For convenience without having to constantly change attachments, a canister vacuum will do the trick. Small spaces and rooms without a lot of carpet can be kept clean with a stick vacuum. For hardwood or tile flooring, look for vacuums that have a manual pile-height adjustment setting or a bare floor switch.
Remember that no matter what kind you choose, upkeep is critical – not changing your filter or overfilling a vacuum bag beyond its recommended capacity cuts your cleaning power, making your job harder.
What kind of vacuum do you have in your home? Will you be getting a new vacuum this holiday season? For more homekeeping tips, visit these links and tell us what you do to prepare your home for the holidays in the comments below:
Easy, Cheap and Green Cleaning Tips for Floors
Caring for Floors
Sabrina Soto’s Cleaning Secrets