Diaperless Babies?! What can we learn about VACUUMS from this child-rearing trend?

What do diaperless babies have to do with vacuum cleaners? Hopefully nothing, directly. But there is an increasingly popular potty-training method that has a peculiar parallel to trends in the vacuum world! “Elimination communication.”  Perhaps you’ve heard of it?  You may find this information enlightening or possibly disturbing. Either way, we hope it just gets you thinking.
Diaperless Baby & Bagless vacuum

From Wikipedia: “Elimination communication, or EC, is a practice in which….using timing, signals, cues, and intuition…caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies’ bodily needs and enable them to [eliminate waste] in an appropriate place (e.g. a toilet)… The term…was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures…Because EC lessens families’ reliance on diapers, this helps reduce the environmental impact of discarding disposable diapers and/or washing cloth diapers, and saves families hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in disposable diapers.”     **CLICK HERE for a humerous review of “Elimination Communication” from Stephen Colbert ** 

So now I’ll let you in on the analogy/inside joke that we’ve used for years: “Bagless vacuums are like diaperless babies.”  How can we make such a bold and repulsive comparison? Because we fix vacuums for a living!  (BTW – If you currently operate bagless, pleeeease do not be offended. We simply hope you consider our expert opinions carefully and utilize the constructive tips we offer.)

If you’ve subscribed for any length of time you are well aware of our company’s feelings on bagless vacuums…YUCK!” If you’re a newcomer, the main reason we have such a poor opinion of bagless machines is because of their high demand for cleaning/maintenance and the unsanitary condition that presents. The second greatest issue is that (versus bagged equivalents) we see an incredibly high rate of clogging, breakage and catastrophic failure that lead to their premature “death” and disposal. Most folks are misled into believing that bagless vacs are ” practically maintenance free“, “great for allergies” and/or “economical.” I’ve written countless articles in the past exposing the erroneous rational behind each of those claims, in great detail. (Click each respective link to see a corresponding article or video from our archives, or visit our Articles Archive to see more.)

Of course bagless vacuums have certain advantages. Most bagless owners quote a great sense of gratification from actively seeing how much dirt they retrieve while vacuuming. They also mention feeling relief from the burden of having to “run out and buy bags” and love how cheap most are to buy up front. Unfortunately, most people discover that these blessings turn into a curse in the long run. 

Diapers = Bags

Now back to our analogy.  It’s easy to see the likeness between disposable vacuum cleaner bags and disposable baby diapers. So the converse must be true, right? Let’s see what similarities we can find…

 

The more you look at it, babies (diapered and not) and vacuums (bagged and not) have a lot in common! And each style has its particular advantages and disadvantages. Which format is right for you depends on your priorities and preferences. 

Start by deciding what your end goal is, then work backward. Framed within the bigger picture, you’ll want to consider the finer details like costs; up-front and long-term expenses. Also think about the effects your choice may have on your lifestyle, both positive and negative. Again, the majority of this deliberation requires some gazing into the future!

If it’s your baby, your goals may be for her to reach potty independence sooner and to save on the cost of diapers. But you must be available and willing to take her to the restroom as soon as she gives the cue – and be prepared for the accident in case there are no facilities nearby. Could all that be a game-changer?

Similarly, a bagless vacuum from Wal-Mart may suit your budget right now and seem convenient. But do you have the facilities to empty the bin and wash the filters in a sanitary location? Do you have the desire, time and space to wash the filters and let them dry (or money to replace them if required?) Can you afford the long-term expense of replacing the entire vacuum almost every year? Would it bother your ecological conscience to know the severe negative impact you’ll make in the landfill?  Babes or bags, reach your goal by making sure that you have the equipment and wherewithal to take the necessary steps – ones that actually go in the right direction!

The bottom line?  Using the EC potty training method can unquestionably reduce the quantity of diapers in the city dump. If you were hand-washing cloth diapers to reduce the bulk of trash, you would still be using a considerable amount of water and detergent, something not entirely without environmental impact. There are plausible environmental and (possibly developmental) advantages to these child care methods over the typical “Pamper-ed” lifestyle. But the question is whether you, as a parent,would be willing and able to be so “hands-on?”The same question can be asked of the bagless vacuum owner… Bagless has its benefits, but be prepared for some extra, hands-on maintenance and a lot of hidden costs!

GIRL POWER at Queen Vacuum… Learn how our talented LADIES make your life easier!

Dead lifting vacuums
Who knew Vacuuming was such good exercise?!

We are pretty big on fitness here at Queen Vacuum. And do we count vacuuming as exercise? Youbetcha!!  But when we talk about “girl power” we’re not just talking about our ability to single-handedly dead lift a Dyson. We’re talking about our general skill and overall AWESOMENESS!

“TOOOOT!!”  (That’s was our own horn, sorry!)

We know that our business is unusual and quite a throwback to say the least. But it’s extra “weird” that aside from the primary owner, John (my poor, outnumbered husband) that we’re operated mainly by ladies! Thanks to incredible mentors like old “Uncle Gene” and John, Erika and I have absorbed a ridiculous amount of vacuum-related knowledge! I also imagine it’s helpful that she and I (albeit from two different states) both grew up working on classic cars and building things with our dads from the time we could walk. That kind of experience is pretty helpful in a mechanical field like this! All of that aside, we each impart our own unique flair and skills in this store – which are what make YOUR experience here more valuable and enjoyable!  

What skills? Oh geez, there are so many “hats” to wear here! Sales, repairs, ordering, re-stocking, assembling, warranty processing, accounting, marketing, recycling, shipping, calls and reminders, data-entry and recordkeeping…now we even have website design & maintenance, social media updates…the list goes on!  Back in the day, John used to have to everything by himself. But since the business has grown, so has the workload – and boy, is he lucky to have us girls!

[CLICK HERE to learn more ABOUT US… our whole team and our store’s long, rich history!!]

Erika & Rachel from Queen Vacuum
Happy girls Erika & Rachel!

Most days you’ll find one of our Master Technicians, Erika, at the repair bench.Whether it’s a spitting Oreck, a sparking Kenmore, a miserable high-tech Dyson warranty repair, or just a gentle Miele cleaning service, your vacuum is in great hands!  Record-keeping of all the repair work we do is a critical part of the job too. Erika’s technical skill combined with her attention to detail is part of what sets our services apart. You can also be sure that she keeps our shop well-stocked with the most critical replacements parts and ensures that warranty repair claims are flawlessly executed to save you time and money!

I, Rachel, spend a lot of time these days in “paperwork land.” Well, it’s more digital than paper these days….including these newsletters! My office is communication central and where the “back-end” of the business is kept well-oiled. I make sure Miele customers are reminded to replace their HEPA filters every year and maintain all records.  I also produce resources like our website, Facebook and YouTube channel and keep them up-to-date and brimming with useful information for you!  BTW – be sure to send me your suggestions of what you’d like to see or know – otherwise I have to guess! You should also know that I’m the one who sends out the referral commission checks each month!! And if you’d like $20 bucks +, please click here to print out some Referral Cards!

When not tied to the office or repair bench you’ll find one of us ladies at the sales/service counter or in the showroom selling new vacuums. This is the LIVE arena where we seek victory over the frustrations of our customers! Remember, the average “Joe” arrives furious after his brand new Electrolux from Kohl’s is already broken. “Jane” is at her wits end after scouring the web for weeks for the “best vacuum” (while her house is currently a dustbunny-infested disaster!) Our greatest challenge and JOY is to help them leave with a smile! We’ve learned that people feel better and are extra appreciative when we just lend a sympathetic ear then TEACH them something useful about their vacuum or situation. Patient explanation and truthful, useful information are precious commodities that you just don’t receive everywhere. Wouldn’t you like to be told why your vacuum broke in the first place, how your warranty actually works, how to prevent future breakage and/or how to use and maintain your new vacuum correctly?  Consider these our gifts to you, just for being our customer!

CONCLUSION

“Girl power?” Don’t worry…no fem-nazis here. Besides, John is too great of a guy to be overshadowed and we are a true, equally-awesome TEAM!

It’s just funny how some folks are shocked to see that women not only co-own, but operate and do the repairs here!  Yes, we “know our stuff” and how get our hands dirty…very dirty! But we also possess that gentler, friendly, patient side that stereotypically lacks in a business of this nature.  A woman’s touch? Maybe.  So stop in for a visit and be sure to send along your friends and family…You can trust we’ll take great care of you all!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATERecently, our dear Erika moved out of state to take care of family. We miss her sooooo much!! Not sure if she’ll be able to come back to work with us or not 🙁   So in the meantime John and I have divvied up her workload (like the “olden days” when we first took over this shop, before we had any help.) We certainly have some seriously talented and productive shoes to fill!  John has re-assumed his place as the sole, master vacuum (and small appliance) tech.  He also spends a lot of time with customers in the showroom helping them pick out new vacuums! I’m up front most of the time at the sales counter now, and taking care of eeeeeeeverything else in-between and behind-the-scenes. But, due to my personal nature (an excessively girly, detail-oriented, chronically multi-tasking, gym beast) I think there will still be plenty of GIRL POWER to go around LOL!  So although we have to work a bit harder than usual, we still are able to take fantastic care of you!!    Oh! And long-time Erika customers/fans…please feel free to send in your love and wishes to her – we’ll be sure to pass them along 🙂 

Major Appliance = Major Expense?

How much should you pay for a really good vacuum?

Perhaps you’re one of the many embarking on a frenzy of gift-giving this month. Even if you’re one who prefers to keep all that low-key, you’d still be wise to take advantage of the sweet sales going on! If given the choice, who wouldn’t wait until the Black Friday-type sales came along to buy that “desperately-needed” new washing machine, TV, computer or vacuum cleaner? After all, major appliances are “expensive,” right?

A major appliance is usually a relatively large machine/device used in the essential operations of your home and family care. The fridge and oven both help you feed your family. The washer and dryer care for the clothes you wear. The furnace and AC units keep you comfortable. These are all important and useful, hard-working items and they indeed can be costly. Yet they relieve you of so much irritating and time-consuming work they’re totally worth every penny. $1000 for a washing machine though? It sure is better than beating your dirty britches on some river rocks, so I’ll take it! In fact, throw the dryer for me too!

And thank goodness for televisions! Sorry, I’m being facetious…TV’s don’t actually “DO” anything. So why do folks seem fine with spending so much money on them? Don’t forget about the added cost of the channel subscription… That alone can add an extra $20-$100 every single month!

I’m sure you can detect that I’ve attempted a tactful segue…Indeed, I hope my humor will allow you to forgive my audacity in stating that I don’t EVER want to hear someone complain about the price of a vacuum cleaner again!   LOL 😉

In my experience, “expensive” is a word usually accompanied by a sneer, furrowed brow and/or deep scrunching of the nose. Not attractive. Admittedly, I’ve become irritated by the overuse of this highly subjective word. I know folks don’t intend any harm or insult, yet the implication is that the purchase of a high-end vacuum is wasteful, a rip-off or money that would be “better” spent elsewhere.  Such a reaction tells me is that a vacuum is not as sexy, exciting, satisfying or important as a designer purse, luxe carpeting, new car payments, video games, plasma TV, or even daily trips to Starbucks. I know…I get it. Some vacuums simply cost more than folks had expected to spend.
Perhaps I’ve become hyper-sensitive. Have I’ve become mentally scarred by the cries of customers sickened by the cost of a decent vacuum? …Complaints uttered (ironically) after discussing the colossal square-footage of their homes and 6-figure cost of floors and furnishings? …Disturbing discussions about the suffering and cost of healthcare for seriously allergic family members. Ever hear the phrase “penny-wise and pound-foolish?”  Oh!! If could only get people to understand the importance and value of a quality vacuum I could end the wastefulness and suffering!  (And that’s what this whole newsletter series is about!)
A vacuum cleaner is a critical, household workhorse and thus a major appliance. Accordingly, room should be allocated in your budget for a quality, appropriately-equipped machine. Vacuums were always costly – check your history. They used to be made well, lasted for decades and cleaned like the dickens. Great vacuums still exist and they clean even better than before with greater ease. But they are not “cheap” and you will not find them at Wal-Mart or Costco.
A vac that works and lasts like Grandma’s will cost the same as she paid, after adjusting for inflation. Today, you’re looking at about $400 – $1,000 for a quality, reputably-branded, carpet-and-bare-floor cleaning, HEPA filtration, 10-20 year vacuum. Going forward, general tune-ups and maintenance items should tally about $50-$100 annually. But don’t think “expensive” and sneer. If you’d bought a car, you’d allot for not only the original purchase but also the gas, oil, tune-ups, tires and the occasional breakdown or accident. Or I dunno…maybe you put your car to the curb when it gets a flat tire or needs an alignment?  What’s “expensive” (i.e. wasteful) is replacing a crummy vacuum every year. Even worse is having to prematurely replace furnishings! Poor vacuum performance renders sofas and rugs matted, dingy and curb-worthy. Needlessly aggressive vacuums wears and tears up carpeting and leaves hardwood floors dull and scuffed.
$4K for a TV?!  Don’t ever tell me a vacuum is expensive!
Besides speculative brain-rotting, there’s nothing “wrong” with a fancy TV, game console, stereo system or even uber-designer fashions. But some folks appear to value these products far above those that affect the health and upkeep of their household. I simply implore everyone to evaluate their priorities carefully.  
I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson and gained some valuable perspective towards all of your prospective purchases this holiday shopping season! Moreover, we at Queen Vacuum wish you and your family a joyous and blessed conclusion to this year, however you celebrate 🙂

What’s that SMELL?! Why your vacuum stinks and what to do about it…


A lot of different types of unusual aromas can emit from your vacuum cleaner…. 
 Some should draw concern; others (albeit unpleasant) are not a big deal.  This article will help you decipher what that smell is telling you, whether it’s a major concern, as well as some tips for how to remedy the situation!

Top 4 Smell Categories:

1) Doggy
2) Stale, Dusty, Rotten
3) Burnt Rubber
4) Burning/chemical

DOGGY
The source of this odor is obvious, but not all dog smells are equal. Certain breeds (especially water-dogs) have a shaggier, oiler coat that harbors that distinctive smell. The oil clings to the inside of the vacuum’s brushroller and  ducting/hoses and forms a sticky paste inside the cyclone chambers of bagless vacuums….eeew!  Some “hair” dogs do not produce so much oil, and thus stink less. Cats do not have fur odor at all (as long as you’re not silly enough to suck up cat littler!)

CONCERNS:  Your vacuum is not particularly “harmed” much by the doggy slime and smell, but your house won’t seem clean if it stinks worse than when you started. Also, that smell may cause folks to trash the machine prematurely, which is wasteful and expensive.

SOLUTIONS: Use a bagged vacuum. Disposable bags not only hold infinitely more fur than a dirt cup (less exposure to allergens for you) but it allows one less large and/or impossible to reach surface for dog-grease to coat! Still, change the bag no less than once per month; they are very inexpensive.  Lastly, get your vac regularly serviced by us, and/or opt for our special steam & deodorizing service every year or so.

STALE/DUSTY/ ROTTEN
This condition is similar to that of the doggy smell. Much of the dust your vacuum picks up is comprised of biological matter like skin flakes and food particles….’nuff said. That matter is concentrated and then heated by the vac’s exhaust air passing through, intensifying the odor. The more often your disposable bag or filter is changed or the dirt bin emptied and cleaned, the less old particles there will be left behind to decompose and smell. We find that most people do not maintain their vacuums correctly or as often as required. The result is that funky smell, excessive clogging and particle residue.

 

 
How’s your Belt holding up?

CONCERNS:  Again, it’s hard to clean with a vacuum that’s dirty and smells weird. What’s worse is that the aforementioned debris left behind can work its way into the vac’s motor and electronics causing excessive motor strain and eventual premature demise.

SOLUTIONS: See “Doggy” solutions above – the same treatments can remedy these unpleasant odors.

BURNT RUBBER
The classic, acrid stench of burnt rubber (and sometimes an accompanying cloud of smoke) is, 99% of the time, caused by the breaking of your vacuum’s drive belt. Most machines on the market still use an old-fashioned flat, stretchy, rubber belt to transfer spinning power from the suction motor to the brushroller. That brush is what spins rapidly to whisk debris up from your carpets. But if something gets caught (like a sock, dog toy, paperclip, etc.) and abruptly stops the brush the motor shaft keeps spinning, rubbing away and burning through the belt! We’ve all done it, and it can be quite a scene! Belts can die a slower death, producing a less-pronounced smell, if the brushroller is slowly seizing over time. Hair, string and dust get bound up in the brushroller’s end caps and bearings making it increasingly difficult for the brush to spin freely. The more resistance, the more the belt heats, slips and eventually burns up.

CONCERNS:  The burnt rubber chunks thrown out of the bottom of the vac can make a sticky black mess on your rugs! Accidents and seizing from lack of maintenance can your brushroller to lock up, snap or warp!

SOLUTIONS: Be careful where you aim – avoid sucking up larger objects and items into your cleanerhead that will jam the brush. Regularly check and clean your brushroller. If your vactakes a rubber stretch-type belt, replace it at least every 6-12 months (or sooner if you have an accident.) Get your machine serviced by us every year…we’ll clean out and grease your brush bearings and replace the belt to that your vac runs optimally at all times!

 

BURNING/CHEMICAL
This is the most common sign of a potentially catastrophic situation.  When the vacuum’s motor begins to short out, you’ll notice a terrible, burning, acrid, ozone or chemical-like odor. It’s awful!! There is usually a loud, bizarre sound that accompanies this smell as well. Lack of maintenance, sucking up excessive fine dust (like fireplace ash, sheetrock dust or carpet fresh) or sucking up water can cause this problem.

CONCERNS:  It’s rare, but a motor that’s shorting out can melt down, spark and possibly run risk of fire. So if you smell this distinctive odor, shut off your vacuum immediately! The suction motor is the heart of the machine. But even though it is usually the most expensive part in a vacuum, it is still far less expensive than buying a new machine!

SOLUTIONS:  Shut off your vacuum immediately and bring in to our shop for inspection (inspections are free!) Usually the motor can be replaced, as well as the exhaust filter – it’ll get a new lease on life! If it looks not to be cost-effective or there is too much else wrong, we’ll steer you right! It never hurts to ask and try keeping a vacuum out of the landfill!

When your vacuum is clean and running correctly, by all means, you can add a sprinkle of fragrance pellets, a dryer sheet or cotton ball with essential oils to diffuse a pleasant fragrance. But it’s a waste if you’re just covering up odors that shouldn’t be there in the first place. When your home’s air is clean and neutral, it’s fun to use a plant-based, aroma-therapeutic cleaner (like Mrs Meyer’s or Caldrea) to mop and wipe down your floors and counters. Using a smooth-running, high-filtration bagged vacuum lets you rest assured that your indoor air is clean, pure and you’ve only added healthy aromas (instead of spreading dust, allergens and caustic petro-byproducts.)

Who knew that your vacuum’s smell could tell so much about its health and performance?! Moral of the story….Pay attention to your vacuum, be diligent with your at-home maintenance and bring it in for service at Queen Vacuum annually. Protect your investment and ensure that your home is truly getting (and smelling) CLEAN every time you go to vacuum.

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!

Your Vacuum is NOT a Garbage Can!

Take it from us (and Oscar, here)…There is stuff you should never suck up with your vacuum – no matter how harmless it looks! vacuum-not-garbage-can

I shamelessly solicited topic advice for this newsletter while I was on Facebook one day. My cousin posted a great question… “Are there certain things you should NEVER vacuum up? What I thought was going to be used as a quick Q&A piece turned into a full blown article. Lucky you!

The simple answer is “Oh, YES!” There are plenty of vacuum NO-NO’s I can list off the top of my head! Being in the repair business, we see the consequences of sucking up a whole host of bizarre things. But for the sake of this article, let’s look at stuff vacuum users have mistakenly THOUGHT would be OK to suck up…

TOP TEN things you should never pick up with your vacuum cleaner (and WHY!):

10. Live Bugs – If you use a bagless vacuum, this isn’t the best idea. You might want to wait until you’re sure all critters are dead before you empty the dirt collection bin! 

9. Broken Glass / Ceramic – If you use a bagless vacuum you risk getting cut by these particles when you empty the dirt bin or clean the filters! Also at risk of getting cut is the vacuum’s drive belt, or hoses. Big chunks can break the vac’s fan, or cause clogs. Only certain vacuums (like Miele, that use a very thick cloth disposable cloth bag) can handle this material safely.

8. Coins or Pebbles – Hard, heavy (albeit small) objects like these can obstruct the brushroller and break the belt, or worse – in certain machines, shatter an upright vacuum’s fan.

7. Staples / Paperclips / Bobby Pins – These can obstruct the brushroller, tear up the belt, or get stuck sideways and cause clogs.

6. Pine Needles, Paper Shreddings or Leaves – These also tend to cause terrible clogs in the hose, and fill your bag prematurely (wasteful….just sweep that stuff up, silly.)

5. Dirt – I don’t care what commercials or advertisements show…flower pot dirt and muddy dog tracks is ALIVE and usually is moist (see below.) Sweep up as much as you can, let the area dry, and then vacuum gently.

4. Kitty Litter – The fine dust clogs the bag and filters, and (obviously) breeds nasty smells and bacteria inside the vacuum!

3. Water / Moist Stuff – You know not to vacuum puddles, but many folk’s vacuum areas that are still damp. The moisture breeds mildew, “sludges up” the brushroller housing and may rust the vac’s motor.

2. Food – Anything perishable or moist will rot inside the vacuum. Greasier foods slime your internal housing and hose. ‘Nuff said! Dry spills like rice, pretzels or a small amount of flour is safe. Dry cereal is ok too, unless is has been touched by milk.

Drum roll Please….

1. Baking Soda / Powders / Sheetrock Dust – This type of fine particulate seems harmless, but can quickly clog the tiny pores of your vacuum’s bag and/or filters. A very small amount is fine…But too much and the vacuum clogs, suffocates and the motor may short out prematurely!

Moral of the story? Your vacuum cleaner is NOT a garbage can! Use a little common sense, and WHEN IN DOUBT – THROW IT OUT. Pick up, sweep up or blot up the questionable item or substance on your floor instead of letting your poor vacuum cleaner consume it!

“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!

Trick or Treat? False Claims or Real Benefits…

….the frightening reality of vacuum marketing.

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!

scary-vacuumsFollowing 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: TRICK

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 worst suction 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 required at-home maintenance is neglected, the poor Dyson 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 S5 canisters and S7 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

Define 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 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)

If you have a specific/interesting question about vacuums, cleaning, maintenance, product reviews, etc., that you would like to be featured in our newsletter or blog… send an e-mail to: info@queenvacuum.com (Subject: “Newsletter Topic”)
One lucky question will be selected for every issue!
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Do NOT Take it Back!

 (Top 3 reasons why it’s kinda EVIL to RETURN a vacuum cleaner)

Today I’m going to touch on a topic that’s, well, a little touchy…Returns! Ever buy a new vacuum at a big-box store and notice a little piece of paper that fall out of the box when you assemble?  “…DO NOT RETURN TO THE STORE.” Why on earth is that? Besides, retailers like Wal*Mart and Costco take back everything, no questions, right?!

That note was inserted by the manufacturer of your vacuum, and it’s pretty standard-issue. They know that most consumers are on their own… They know that at any given big-box store there’s no store staff member to help a customer select correct machine for their home and it certainly won’t be assembled for them. These product manufacturers (like Bissell, Hoover, Dyson, etc.) at least provide an owner’s manual with simple instructions and a Do not return vacuum to the storefree hotline or website link for basic troubleshooting.

Despite the disadvantages in the mainstream shopping method for appliances like vacuums, the actual setup and maintenance on most vacuums isn’t so bad.

But many folks simply lack the patience (or think they don’t have the mechanical knack) to utilize the resources provided to solve their issue. Thus, combined with the extremely liberal return policies of many retailers, today’s customers’ first inclination is to immediately return the vacuum to the store.  But what does that really solve and how does that affect the retailer?

By the end of this article I hope you’ll understand the many reasons why returning a vacuum is such a BAD IDEA! You’ll also learn it’s so much more practical and valuable to shop with a dedicated small appliance seller and repair station like Queen Vacuum!!

Here are the top 3 Reasons why it’s kinda EVIL to RETURN your vacuum:

  1. It’s not ETHICAL.  By this I mean that it is potentially hurtful to others. Here’s how…a.)The other typical cause for return is a practice called “retail borrowing” or  “beturning.” But, quite frankly, it’s stealing. As it relates to our business, it’s unethical to buy a new vacuum then use, abuse, neglect, get it clogged, etc. and return to the store claiming it’s defective. Everybody (should) know that it’s wrong to purchase a product with the intent to use it briefly (borrow it) then return it. Have you ever suffered through the chafing caused by carefully tucked-away price tags in that too-expensive white cocktail dress (and avoid all red-colored foods and drinks) only to return it after the fancy event? Ever buy a massive, HD flat screen TV only to return it shortly after the Super Bowl? Tisk, tisk….

c.) Thus, “beturning” a machine to a store (that really shouldn’t be accepting returns on this kind of product anyway) opens up the risk of passing contamination on to others. Some big-box stores are not very careful with such returns and occasionally re-stock that contaminated product!  This opens consumers up to the risk of receiving product that had collected hazardous construction materials, excrement, pet allergens, mold or insect infestation.  Vacuums properly refurbished and boldly disclosed as “used” are fine, if you choose to buy one from a reputable source. But buyer beware!!b.) New Jersey consumer protection laws prevent retailers from ever re-selling certain categories of products again as “new.” Products contaminated with biological waste or water like vacuums, toilet seats and water filters fall in this category.  In other words, if Home Depot sells you a new Hoover, you go home, use it for a few days and decide to return it, they can never sell it again as new. They give you back your money but take a loss. It cannot go back on their shelf, new.

  1. It’s not ECONOMICAL…. This type of activity actually hurts people’s pocketbooks and bottom lines in a few ways.
    a.) It’s not fair to make the store buy back and suffer the loss on a machine that is not actually defective (which partly this relates back to the ethics issue.) Did you realize that 9 out of 10 vacuums that are retuned are simply clogged, dirty, the belt snapped from a small accident or had been operated on an incorrect usage setting (so that it wasn’t “working right.”) By returning it, the same problem is likely to happen since you’ll never learn what simple mistake you’d been making. What a waste of time in the long run.  Typically, the “tenth” machine is genuinely defective and therefore is entitled to a simple warranty repair, paid for by the manufacturer (it’s their fault anyway!)  Losses incurred from a liberal return policy add up quickly and the only means of a business’ survival is to raise process or cut costs from somewhere else. For consumers this means you prices go up service quality goes down.b.)You should know that, with very rare exception, manufacturers do NOT buy back vacuums returned to their product’s retailers! Units they’ve produced that are proven to be genuinely defective can be repaired for no charge to the customer by a contracted warranty station like ours. But big-box stores do not fix anything! As you read above, the retailer simply bears the loss themselves. With laws restricting what can be done with these unwanted vacuums, they may either be sold through back-door deals to private refurbishers or will be discarded (which brings up my final point…)
  1. It’s not ECOLOGICAL…
    Because manufacturers do not buy back their “junk” from retailers, many of these mass-returned big-box store vacuums just end up in the dumps in mass quantities!dysons_in_the_dumpster

Our culture has supposedly become increasingly “green-conscious,” yet we find instead that consumers are all too eager to throw away large appliances like vacuums at the first moment of inconvenience. Do you realize the quantity of plastic and precious metals involved in their manufacture? Sure, they can be dismantled and recycled….we do it all the time here at Queen Vacuum. Does Wal*Mart take the time out of their day to do that?  This is why it’s most wise to purchase a high-quality, long-lasting machine that is simple and serviceable. Get help picking one out and establish a relationship with a reputable service facility like us. You don’t throw away your car when the oil needs changing or the alternator quits, right?  Cheap machines are typically harder to maintain and fail very quickly. Don’t waste your money, time or the valuable space in our landfills.

What are we thinking these days? 
Back in the day, when the vacuum acted funny, Grandma or Mom likely would’ve grabbed the manual and said “Hmm…I bet I just broke the belt. Let’s check the book to learn how to put a new one back on.”  Or “Rats, I wonder what I sucked up that clogged my vacuum? Let me turn it off and see if I can clear out the culprit.”  Today, it seems that consumers look at these situations much differently. Their inclination is to get angry, assume that the vacuum is genuinely defective and that it’s best to return it to where they bought it. Alternately, many believe that the $50 vac they bought is literally disposable, so off the curb it goes once the dirt bin is full, belt breaks or filter gets too clogged. But other than buying back the yucky, now useless vacuum at their loss, how is Wal*Mart helping you?

CONCLUSION:
Keep in mind, this is in NO WAY an attempt to steal away or diminish the rights of the consumer! After all, we’re consumers too! If you’ve been treated unfairly or received defective goods by all means, stand up for yourself! I just implore that you take a logical, fair approach (by taking whatever personal responsibility is needed) then follow the logical, fair channels to truly fix your problem. This article simply attempts to illustrate how the abuse of one’s consumer rights and stores’ policies can have very far-reaching negative consequences on the economy, our earth’s ecology, and hurt other people – consumers and retailers alike. Be thoughtful, be fair and everyone will benefit in the long run!