Allergic to Dust Mites? Keeping Floors Free of Dust is Essential
Dust mites, a member of the arachnid family (yes, they share a lineage with spiders, ticks and chiggers) feed off of human skin cells. They live in our bedding, upholstered furniture and in our favorite floor covering, carpets.
For those suffering with a dust allergy, bare floors are the best solution. With a mop or a broom, dust can be seen and easily removed. If carpets are unavoidable, there are options available to keep dust mites, and dust allergy symptoms, to a minimum. Regular vacuuming, with a conventional vacuum, can stir up dust and release much of it back into the air. Other options such as HEPA vacuums, central vacuums or vacuums with an electrostatic filter are better choices.
HEPA Vacuum Cleaners
HEPA stands for “high-efficiency air filtration system”. This type of vacuum differs from others because it contains a filter that traps extremely small particles. It literally traps the dust inside the filter.
The quality of HEPA vacuums varies greatly. Consumers should look for
- a pre-filter, which helps prevent dirt and dust from clogging the main filter.
- a system that has the HEPA filter after the motor to ensure the exhaust is emitting allergen free air.
- a washable HEPA filter.
- bag and motor components that are completely sealed by rubber gaskets so there is no leakage of dust filled air.
Central vacuums are often thought of as the most allergy-friendly vacuums because they eliminate the re-circulation of dirty air inside your living area. The dust and dirt is carried through the house walls to an out-of-the-way container which can be located in the basement or garage. Dirt can also be exhausted directly out of the house. Bags or filters only need to be changed 3-4 times per year. Central vacuums can contain HEPA filters and can be retro-fitted to install in existing homes.
Vacuums with an electrostatic filter
Electrostatic filters use electrostatically charged filtration to attract tiny particles. A safe static charge is produced by forcing air across the filter. The dust and dirt attract, and then trap, fine dust particles. It works almost like a magnet and can be an effective method for trapping dust mites.
No matter what type of vacuum cleaner you choose, the person with the dust allergy should not be the one doing the vacuuming, and certainly shouldn’t be the one to change the bag or filter.
There are other products to help keep carpets free of dust mites. These products, in the form of powders, foams and sprays must be used regularly to keep dust mites to a minimum.
- Tannic acid solution
Tannic acid breaks down dust mite allergens (as well as pollen allergens, mold spores and animal dander) into harmless materials. It can be sprayed directly on carpets or upholstered furniture. The solution inactivates the allergen and it no longer causes allergy symptoms.
Tannic acid works fast and is easy to use. The problem is that the effects don’t last long because mites remain and the allergen continues to build up. This requires frequent application of the product. There have been complaints that the solution has stained some carpets and upholstery fabrics, so always do a test spot before treating the whole carpet.
- Dust Mite Pesticides
A pesticide, such as Acarosan, actually kills the mites and helps your vacuum cleaner remove them, and their waste products, from your carpeting. Available in powder or spray, this product needs to be applied every one to months.
Corded vs Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaners: Guide to Choosing Dyson, Shark, Eureka, Black and Decker etc
Manufacturers naturally emphasize the advantages of their products. However not educating consumers on their limitations only creates disappointed customers.
Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
Cordless (rechargeable) vacuum cleaners should be seen as an alternative to brooms and dustpans, not an alternative to regular vacuum cleaners.
They are convenient for small ad-hoc jobs but lack the power and endurance for heavy use. Their input electrical power can range from 20 to 200 watts.
- Convenient. Can be easily used anywhere without having to deal with power cords.
- Limited power. Not suitable for deep-pile carpets.
- Limited endurance. 5 to 20 minutes is common. Recharging takes hours. The more powerful models normally have the shortest run times.
- To maximize available power, many use coarse filters which blow out fine dust into the air.
- Batteries last only a few years. Replacements, if available, are expensive.
Most brands and models are roughly comparable, differing mainly in power and reliability.
The Dyson DC16 series is an interesting exception. It filters well and is powerful. However some users complain about its large size and limited 6 minute run time (the trade off for having a 200 watt motor and a good filter).
To maximize battery life, some models have a button that has to be continually pressed (so that it is quick to switch on and off). Releasing the button will switch off the power. Some users find this tiring and prefer an “always on” switch.
Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
These small vacuums can be almost as powerful as regular vacuums. Their input AC power can range from 400 to 1000 watts (regular canister vacuums are typically 1000 to 2000 watts).
- Can be powerful enough to replace regular vacuum cleaners, for small apartments.
- Not limited by battery life.
- Power cord is inconvenient.
- Can overheat and automatically shut off after 5 to 10 minutes, especially the more powerful models. Cleaning can resume after cooling down.
- Can be noisier than regular vacuums, requiring the use of ear plugs.
- Their small dirt cups or bags quickly fill up and may need to be emptied every few minutes.
- Small filters and bags get clogged up with fine dirt more quickly than regular vacuums. May require cleaning every few minutes to maintain acceptable suction power.
Like cordless vacuums, most brands and models are roughly comparable. Home owners should decide on which features are important and search the Internet for complaints of reliability. Low reliability is one common complaint from users.
Electrical Watts and Air Watts Vacuum Power
More electrical power (watts) generally means
- better suction
- less battery life for cordless vacuums
- more overheating problems
If the amperes are given instead of watts, the electrical power can be calculated by multiplying the current (amperes) with the voltage.
Air watts is a more accurate measure of suction power. When comparing models it is important to compare electrical watts with electrical watts, and air watts with air watts. The 200 watt Dyson DC16 is rated at 36 air watts.
Rotating Beater Brush (Beater Bar)
A rotating brush to dig up dirt from carpets, is a popular feature. Unfortunately there are few good implementations.
Some brushes are powered by the vacuum’s airflow. They can lack the power to turn when pushed into carpet.
Belt-driven brushes are more powerful, being powered directly from a motor. However many suffer from reliability problems, with the belt needing occasional replacement. Some models don’t even have replaceable belts.
Whatever the mechanism, hair will get caught in the brush and will need to be manually removed.
Handheld versus Regular Full-Sized Vacuum Cleaners
Anyone buying a handheld vacuum should be aware of their inherent limitations. Unrealistic expectations is one major cause of buyer dissatisfaction.
Commercial Vacuum Cleaners: Made for the Workplace, These Cleaners Are Great in the Home
There is no good reason to not use an industrial vacuum cleaner in the home, especially if the user is not really hung up on aesthetics, because commercial floor machines are built for functionality not for looks.
Domestic Vac or Commercial Vac
For many the choice of vacuum cleaner is kind of personal. It is also a big expense, so it is important to asses all the options and weigh up the possibilities before the purchase is made. There are two main factors to take into account when thinking of buying a commercial vacuum cleaner
- Size of area that needs to be cleaned regularly.
- What kind of cleaning needs to be done – light or heavy; wet or dry?
Cleaning Area and Cleaning Needs in the Home
Maybe it is stating the obvious to say that the first option to look at when thinking of purchasing an industrial vacuum cleaner is the cleaning area in the home. How big is the area that needs to be cleaned on a regular basis? And what kind of cleaning needs to be done – is it heavy duty cleaning; carpet cleaning, floors, tiles?
There is no doubt that the applications and abilities of certain floor machines coupled with a size that fits the home can add value to a purchase and make the chore of cleaning the home much more pleasant and more effective – cost and otherwise.
What Kind of Commercial Vacuum Cleaner?
Whether they are domestic vacuum cleaners or commercial vacuum cleaners, they have all been designed to be functional – to pick up dirt of some kind. Domestic vacuums are carefully branded and are usually pleasing to the eye although their design often compromises their function. When one looks at their marketing campaigns they usually emphasize the “sleek design” or the color range” rather than the durability or functionality.
So, when it comes to functionality, if a buyer is looking for a floor machine to pick up soot or heavy dust or even water as well as clean the floors and carpets, a commercial vacuum cleaner is a good option.
These floor machines can pick up just about anything with their powerful motors and high flow air systems. Some of the best industrial vacuum cleaners are made by Bissel, Nilfisk, American Vacuums, EX Air, Nikro and DuroVac,
Industrial Vacs, Great in the Home
Commercial or industrial vacs were made for the workplace and for the kind of people who would be using them in the workplace, which is why they are tough, durable and robust and not at all easy to break. They are usually sturdy floor machines with a predominance of metal, albeit painted or enameled.They are also powerful. Inside, they have a stronger and more powerful motor than domestic vacuums.
Commercial Vacuum Cleaners have Long Cords
An important element that has nothing to do with functionality or performance will be near the top of the list for the user of these floor machines in the home: commercial vacuum cleaners usually have long cords.
For the person vacuuming, this means that a larger area of the home can be vacuumed without having to stop, bend down, unplug, wind up the cord, move to the next room, unwind, plug in and start all over again
Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Product Review: Dyson Vacuums Ideal for Allergy Sufferers, People with Asthma, Pets
A pioneer in vacuum cleaner technology, the Dyson vacuum is a big step forward from traditional vacuums. Unlike ordinary vacuums, which spew dust back into the air, lose suction over time, and require messy, disposable bags that have to be changed, Dyson vacuum cleaners have been engineered to suit pet owners, allergy sufferers – and anyone who wants to be able to achieve really clean carpets and floors more easily.
What’s Special About Dyson Vacuum Cleaners?
- patented “root cyclone technology” which delivers better suction and does not lose power over the lifetime of the vacuum
- balls instead of wheels for easier turns and better steering and maneuverability
- clean exhaust air – up to 150 times less mold and bacteria than normal indoor air
- works well on all floors, including hardwood, tile and carpet
- washable filters and Hepa filter with lifetime guarantee
- bagless canisters that are easy to empty with no mess, and simple to clean
James Dyson and the Development of the Dyson Vacuum
Engineer James Dyson has built a reputation for asking, “How could this work better?”
In the 1980s he designed a ball-barrow – a wheelbarrow built on a ball instead of a wheel so that it has greater maneuverability and doesn’t sink into soft ground. In the early ’90s, the first Dyson model vacuum was produced overseas, in Japan.
None of the major American or European brands were interested in a new technology that would make vacuum bags – then a £250/year business – obsolete, so in 1993 James Dyson began to produce the first Dyson vacuum under his own name.
That first vacuum took 5 years of development and 5,127 experimental prototypes. Since then, the Dyson labs have gone through another 18,457 prototypes.
“Technology starts with frustration,” says Dyson on his commercial website. “We get frustrated when technology lets us down. As engineers, we see how we could improve it. We try lots of ideas – most of which are wrong. That’s good. Wrong ideas and new mistakes are incredibly valuable to us. They spark unthought-of possibilities and answers. That’s how new technology comes about.”
Innovation has made Dyson vacuums one of the top names in quality vacuum cleaners, with over $6 billion in worldwide sales.
Dyson is Certified Asthma and Allergy Friendly
If you ask around for the vacuum cleaners that work best for people with allergies to dust and mold, or who have lots of pet dander in the home and don’t want to be inhaling it constantly, Dyson will be mentioned more often than not.
That’s because Dyson vacuums have more power than most other home vacuum cleaners, so they remove more dust, dander and pet hair from carpets without losing suction – even when the canister is full. The “root cyclone” approach generates centrifugal forces of over 150,000G, spinning dirt out into the canister and leaving air cleaner of dust, mold spores and bacteria than it was when it entered.
Dyson vacuum cleaners have been approved by 12 allergy worldwide organizations, including the Asthma Society of Canada, British Allergy Foundation, the National Asthma Council of Australia, and AHA Allergie Suisse.
Dyson DC23 Motorhead Canister Vacuum Cleaner Review
Vacuum cleaners come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in a wide range of prices. The Dyson DC23 canister vacuum is on the higher end of the price scale.
Performance of the Dyson DC23 Vacuum
Obviously the most important part of any vacuum is its performance. After several weeks of use, this vacuum has performed better than expected. An expensive vacuum should suck up a lot of dirt, dust and debris, and the Dyson did not disappoint. The carpet that was used for testing was extremely dirty to begin with. Renovations had been done to the apartment where it was used, so there was a lot of drywall dust in the room and in the carpet. There are also pets living in the house, so cat dander and fur is also in the carpet.
The carpet was cleaned the day before with an older vacuum cleaner so the carpet should have been fairly clean. Within a few minutes of using the Dyson DC23, it was evident that the room wasn’t nearly as clean as it should have been. Almost instantly, drywall dust was whirring around the clear canister in the Dyson vacuum. After a few more minutes, the dust and cat hair was building up in the vacuum. It is clearly better than the old (admittedly cheaper) vacuum.
Dyson Hepa Air Filtration for Allergy Sufferers
Dirty carpets can be a nightmare for allergy sufferers. It is way too easy for dirt and dust to live in a thick carpet and cause allergies to flare up for anyone sensitive to dust. The Dyson DC23 cleaner uses its patented Root Cyclone technology along with 2 filters to help pick up even the smallest particles and keep them out of the carpet. According to Dyson’s website, Dyson’s vacuums are certified as asthma and allergy friendly by 12 associations worldwide.
A huge advantage of this vacuum over most others is that its filters do not have to be replaced. The Hepa filter is built into the vacuum, and it has a washable pre-filter. Dyson recommends washing the pre-filter every 3 months to maintain optimal performance. The cost of replacing filters adds up over the years, so this is a very nice bonus for the Dyson cleaner.
Cleaning Up the Vacuum Cleaner
The Dyson DC23 Vacuum is a bagless canister vacuum, which is great for decreasing cost over time, but can be a pain to clean up. Dumping out the contents of the canister can create as big a mess as was on the carpet in the first place. The canister on the DC23 dumps out the bottom when pressing a button allowing the contents to drop into a garbage bag. This was the one feature that was a little disappointing. Even though the bottom opens up allowing the dirt to fall out, the hair can easily get stuck in the filter. This defeats the purpose of having the canister open up from the bottom.
Dyson Canister Vacuum Overall Impressions
When doing research on vacuum cleaners, the first thing that most people will notice about Dyson vacuums is their price. Most models are double or triple the price of many basic vacuum cleaners. The Dyson DC23 Motorhead vacuum cleaner is no different. The question is, is it worth the price? The answer to this question is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For people who suffer from allergies, have animals, a lot of carpeting in their house, and are willing to spend a little more money on a vacuum, this vacuum should without a doubt, be near the top of their list. It performed extremely well under difficult conditions, and exceeded expectations. For people without animals, and have mostly non-carpeted floors, a cheaper vacuum would probably suit their needs.