Bed Bugs…BUSTED!

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

Bed Bugs Attack

 

“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.
  • SEEK PROFESSIONAL DIAGNOSIS & EXTERMINATION SERVICES.
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!

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!

RULES for a SUCK-CESSFUL VACATION:

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

2) Use multi-tasking products

3) If you smell something, say something

MUST-HAVE PRODUCTS & HOW TO USE THEM:
* 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!) 

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)

Beauty and the BEACH…How to prevent SAND from ruining your beautiful floors!

Sandy Feet

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer – woo hoo!! So pick a sweet spot in the sand, slather on some sunblock and grab your umbrella drink. You’re about to learn some awesome tips for making your life a lot easier when you get home!
Sure you’re relaxing now…but you know your patience will come a little undone as you schlep home in heavy traffic trailing half the beach with you in your bags, towels and bikini bottoms!  IT will be in the car, the garage, in the bottom of the washing machine, all over the hard floors and deep in the carpet. That’s right… SAAAAAAAND!  

Ugh, now it’s time to make dinner. The kids are starving. You hastily shove everyone’s gritty gear in their respective places while the kids get washed and the BBQ heats up. As the Mr. flips some burgers you resolve to ditch the dusting of Sea Bright beach that’s invaded your bare dining room floor. You reach for your trusty Swiffer and get sweeping. 1-2-3 quick swipes…looking good…4-5… scccrrraaaappe…. kkkkkkk… AAAGGHH! What’s happening?!

That, my friend, was the telltale sound of a saturated Swiffer. In other words, the cleaning cloth filled up with all that grit to the point where it’s now acting like sandpaper – NOT
good for your floors! Furthermore, much of the sand will slip down into the cracks and crevices of the boards and the grout lines of tile.
A Swiffer or a sanding stick? Oh, who can tell?

Brooms and Swiffers have their place in the world, but it is NOT in-place of your vacuum cleaner. Simply put there is no better, safer, more effective way to remove fine dust, hair, crumbs and grit/dirt particles from your bare floors than vacuuming! Just make sure it’s the right kind of vacuum. Some are designed to clean only carpets and rugs or have attachments that most be switched around to work correctly.

Sand may indeed be beautiful and feel great between your toes, but have you ever asked your FLOORS how they feel? To your poor carpets and wood floors, sand is the enemy! We just learned how it can wreak havoc and dull wooden surfaces if not removed carefully. But did you also know that sand is destructive to your carpets and rugs?

Keep a spare little vacuum in your cabana, beach house or RV!

Sand is dense and quickly works its way into the deep recesses of carpeting. Ever notice how sometimes it goes through the back side of an area rug and starts digging into the flooring below? Sand is also microscopically sharp! The embedded particles slowly cut into the base of the rug’s delicate fibers as we walk over the top. This breaks the fibers apart destroying the rug form the bottom up! The most effective way to remove this dangerous grit is by slowly and thorough vacuuming with a high-quality machine. However, the vacuum must be equipped with a spinning brushroller/ “agitator”/ “beater bar” to move the carpet strands apart and deliver suction deep down where the sand is hiding. Straight suction (like you’d use on bare floors) just will not cut it on carpets.

CONCLUSION
Sand is beautiful, but belongs at the beach! So be armed with a great vacuum that can eradicate sand (and other offending particles) from your house in order maintain the original beauty of your floors, rugs and furnishings. There is beauty in cleanliness… it’s next to Godliness, some say! So, for heaven’s sake, can we take time to stop and smell the rose-scented countertop spray? Take not for granted the glisten of exquisitely polished granite, stainless steel and freshly-scrubbed grout. Consider how much heck you’re putting your poor floors through and stop treating your living room rugs like a doormat! Keeping your home clean and healthy is work, no doubt. But we all know that the right tools get each job done more quickly, easily and thoroughly!  And that’s what WE’RE here for!!  Enjoy your summer and we’ll be seeing you soon….

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

SPOILER ALERT! 
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!

Never Trust a Pine Needle! …or a sock, for that matter.

I think it’s about time we had a talk….an important talk about how to play it safe when faced with temptation. Oh, this may be the season of peace and joy – but don’t kid yourself. Dangers lurk around every corner. Ice, snow, empty calories…ha! Those are mere child’s play. I find that the most menacing and destructive forces are those that are inconspicuous, appear common, or seem harmless. Fear the sneaky ones…the little “straws” that break camels’ backs.Pine Needles

Sure, everyone will be doing it: Tediously trimming trees of every shape and size; “Sprucing” up the house with dazzling arrays of evergreen boughs, bows and baubles; Frantically tidying in preparation long-awaited guests. But don’t let the egg nog cloud your judgement…this is a recipe for disaster. In fact, this is the time of year your vacuum cleaner dreads most! It cringes at the memories of last year: Being crashed into furniture, swerving precariously through a gauntlet of loose ribbons and tacks, and choking desperately on shattered glass and you guessed it…pine needles!

Let’s face it…you see that sprinkling of tiny, unassuming pine needles on the floor and dutifully take measures to eliminate the mess. You grab your trusty vacuum, detach the hose and watch with delight as they get sucked into oblivion. Admit it – you even enjoy the delicate “piney” perfume your vacuum acquired in the process. Well, by New Year’s you might have noticed that the evergreen aroma has been replaced by the acrid stench of burning rubber – or worse yet, burnt-up motor! SO WHAT HAPPENED?

If you want to relax and enjoy your holidays, make sure you keep your vacuum happy. Treat it with respect and it will serve you well and without frustration. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO SUCK UP PINE NEEDLES! And though your holiday may become hectic – also be on the lookout for loose items on the floor like ribbons, pet toys and socks! The most common consequences of sucking up these items in your vacuum are belt breakage, or badly clogging the vacuum’s suction hose. That rogue sock can get lodged in the vacuum’s nozzle, stopping the brushroller and causing the drive belt to burn up (and smell!) And even just a small bunch of pine needles can clump together in a fashion that makes a tight, impenetrable web, clogging the hose! You’ll know this has occurred when you go to vacuum shortly afterward and there’s no suction or “pick-up.” Finding and removing this clog can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. If you’re not careful, you can puncture the hose or cause damage to the electrical wires that are inside some models. But if you neglect the clog long enough, the vacuum’s motor can strain so severely that it will eventually short out! That’s an expensive situation I think you’d rather not encounter.

So do your best to SWEEP those little buggers up. A few stray needles left around the house can be safely vacuumed – but heed my warning and don’t ever let your guard down! However, if you find yourself in a bind, don’t ever be ashamed to stop in Queen Vacuum for help!

What did you learn? How does it apply to you?
More questions…Call or write us – we’re always happy to help!

“Crawlies” in your carpet giving you the CREEPS?

 

 Banish these buggers once and for all…
Halloween is here! ….ghosts, goblins, werewolves – oh my! They’d be scary if they were real. But what are genuinely scary? The creepy crawlies that can take residence in your carpet, bed and hard-to-reach corners of your home! The good news is that there’s an easy solution to banishing these buggers – and it’s right under your nose…Your vacuum to the rescue!

So before you batten down the hatches for winter, take some time this fall to rid your home of unwanted and unhealthy guests. Arm yourself by following these helpful tips:

Rabid ankle-biting dust bunnies are easily detained – if you’re able to catch them off-guard. Often provoked to flee at the first sight of your vacuum – you must sneak up on this skittish prey. Point the machine’s exhaust away from the bunnies and scap them up with a quick sweep of your vacuum’s long hose/wand attachment.

• Use your vacuum to suck up and trap the tiny spiders that live in the corners of your home and behind furniture. Using the hose attachment with the long wand or crevice tool means you won’t even have to get near them. Get rid of the spiders and you don’t have to clean embarrassing cobwebs! (By the way, this works best with a bagged vacuum.)

• Clean the kitchen area frequently; Wipe counters, empty the garbage, avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time, and vacuum the floor frequently for crumbs. This will discourage infestation of ants as well rodents! Also be sure to store those Halloween snacks and sweets in closed containers.

• Don’t forget to vacuum your mattress several times per year (or each time you change the sheets if you feel ambitious.) Dust mites and other “creepies” feed on the dead skin and other matter you naturally shed. Reduce their food supply, as well as remove much of the eggs and allergens they produce by vacuuming it up. Be sure to use a quality bagged machine with genuine, sealed HEPA filtration to actually capture all you collect!

• Little buggers like fleas and dust mites can be discouraged by vacuuming too. True, that the adult bugs are harder to catch and left unchecked, chemical warfare may be the only resolution. However, using a quality deep cleaning HEPA vacuum on your carpet, furniture and pet beds will remove much of these critters’ eggs, larvae, allergens and food supply that will keep their population at bay.

• For the creepy stuff you can’t really see – be sure to change your vacuum’s bags and filters frequently. Bacteria, mold and other allergens can multiply or develop inside these media if left for months at a time.

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/products. Call or stop in our shop any time for more explanation, information, or a demonstration!