Best Vacuums for Pets and Allergies

Pet Hair

Unique Vacuum Issues - Pet HairIf you have pets in your home, then no doubt you have dealt with cleaning up the hair they leave behind. What is the best vacuum for dog or cat hair? Manufacturers of vacuums have had to address this issue to deal with the ongoing problems of hair or dander. Fortunately, there are options.

Hand held vacuums are designed for small jobs. Since they are so light you can easily move them from sofa to couch, which is made even easier since some models are cordless. When you need to vacuum up pet hair from stairs, furniture, beds, or other household items, then a hand vacuum may be what you need.

If you own a newer upright cleaner you may have a small, powered turbine attachment that works just like a mini vacuum. You hook these up to your hose, power on the machine, and use it like any other attachment. The power of these little tools is in their design. They have bristles just like their full sized counterparts so they can really pull dust, dirt, and even stubborn pet hair from any carpet. Plus they are attached to the hose so you can use them on any object in your home without difficulty. Think of them as a way to extend the functionality of your full sized vacuum. And if your current model doesn’t have one, you can buy one for a relatively low cost.

We want to make sure that we use a vacuum with a powered brush head as a rule. A turbo brush may work well, but it depends on the style of carpet whether this type of brush head will work properly. Suction only vacuums rarely are a good choice for pet hair as the hair is hooked microscopically in the carpet fibers and will hold on frequently even with a strong airflow.

We encourage you not to take any one person or manufacturer’s word for whether or not a vacuum works on pet and human hair. When selecting a vacuum, ask the vacuum retailer to demonstrate the ability of his recommendation. A vacuum retailer can use cotton or kapok as these fibers are natural and act like pet hair, and one can instantly see whether or not the recommended vacuum is effective in picking this up.

Allergies

Unique Vacuum Issues - AllergensIf you suffer from allergies and asthma, vacuuming does a lot more than make your home look better. It is as important as taking medication to control your condition. Vacuuming is an essential part of limiting exposure to asthma and allergy triggers such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen and other allergens. We only address the issues of vacuuming in this section, but allergy and asthmatics may require the additional step of air purification.

The first step to control asthma and allergy symptoms is to identify what triggers them. The second is to limit your exposure. Many who suffer from asthma and allergies find that triggers can vary with time and with the change of seasons.

A high-quality filtration system largely prevents asthma and allergy triggers from being returned to the air via the vacuum’s exhaust. The best vacuums for pets and allergies should also be “sealed” to prevent dust and dirt from escaping from other places on the vacuum such as body seams. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and replacement frequency of filters and bags.

If you are an allergy sufferer, DO NOT BUY OR USE A BAGLESS VACUUM.

Are bagged vacuums better than bagless? For people suffering with allergies, yes 100%. Bagless vacuums are terribly dirty and leak from the seals and joints. When emptying a bagless vacuum the dust container is like an exploding dust bomb around you. Regardless of claims of LIFETIME HEPA FILTERS and such, we will show you specifically in our showroom ANY bagless vacuum leaks by means of a particle counter. Conversely, we will show you a high quality alternative that WILL NOT leak and re-circulate dust into your home.

Carpet is what most people think of when you mention vacuuming. You need a vacuum that is powerful enough to get deep into the fibers and remove asthma and allergy triggers. It’s important for asthmatics and allergy sufferers to vacuum not only visible carpet areas, but under and behind furniture as well. Asthma and allergy triggers tend to build up in areas that are not frequently seen. When vacuuming carpet and other surfaces, go slowly. Many people vacuum too fast to remove the dirt and allergens that are embedded deep in carpet fibers, and doing so will stir up more dust into the air than is being picked up. Allow the powerhead of the vacuum to move over the carpet to loosen debris, which will then be drawn into the air stream where it will be trapped in the vacuum bag.

Most asthmatics and allergy sufferers believe that hard floors are better for their conditions, but one must not forget that triggers still accumulate on hard flooring and have to be removed. Doing so is easy with the right vacuum equipment. You will want a vacuum that has a hard floor setting. This means that the brushroll can be turned off. Using the brushroll on a hard floor may damage the surface. Canister vacuums can be fitted with a floor brush that is quite effective in sweeping your floors and delivering the dust and dirt into the air stream to be picked up and lodged in the vacuum bag.

A commonly overlooked repository for asthma and allergy triggers is upholstered furniture, which can hold dust mites and other asthma triggers. Many vacuum cleaners have brushes and attachments specifically designed for cleaning upholstered furniture. You can also purchase a “turbo brush,” which can make the job of deeply cleaning your upholstery an easier task. Some fragile fabrics can be damaged by vacuuming. Most canister vacuums feature a variable speed control that allows cleaning of fragile items. Go slowly and be thorough. Make sure to clean all sides of pillows and cushions, and don’t neglect the back and sides of the piece.

Drapes and curtains are among the most neglected hiding places for allergy and asthma triggers. The typically light nature of drapes and curtains makes them difficult to clean. A canister vacuum with variable speed control is the best way to speed up this process.

We spend a lot of time in our beds, as do many peoples’ pets. Mattresses need to be frequently vacuumed. Vacuuming alone will not remove all of the dust mites from your mattress, but it will help. Vacuuming will also aid in removing pet dander from your bed as well as other allergens. When you vacuum your mattress, don’t forget the sides and the back.
If you are an allergy sufferer or asthmatic, vacuuming is more critical to you than most people. Finding a TRUE HEPA filtered vacuum with a “sealed” unit will be an important element in your fight to keep the dust and dirt from floating around your home and triggering a reaction. When you come to our store, we will be sure to show you only those vacuums that are truly capable of delivering clean, filtered air into your home.

Experts agree that one of the best things you can do to manage allergies, especially inhalant allergies, is clean frequently. Vacuuming can remove both dust and other allergens, if done properly and regularly. Consider vacuuming at least twice a week and more frequently if your allergies are serious or you have carpet in your home.

Shag Carpet

Unique Vacuum Issues - Shag CarpetShag carpeting, an icon of the 1970’s, has been resurrected and today is frequently called frieze (pronounced frizz-ay),  or California shag. Better carpet fibers and improved manufacturing techniques are creating a carpet with good looks and good wear capability. However, shag carpet demands the correct type of vacuum cleaner as you can literally destroy a vacuum, and even the carpet itself, with the wrong choice.

One of the challenges of having a shag style carpet is that if you were to actually read the manufacturer’s warranty, you would find that the warranty will be voided if you use a vacuum cleaner with a spinning brushroll. Carpet fibers are really quite durable on the tip. However, with shag, the fibers lie down rather than stand up, and the brush will actually scrape fibers off of the yarn and eventually wear it out. A traditional vacuum cleaner with a brushroll should NOT be used on a shag carpet!

One of the dirty little secrets of the situation is that while this is true, your carpet can’t really be cleaned without some sort of agitation. Some manufacturers make tools that appear like a rake and have good success with removing some items stuck in the carpets. But in the end, there is a reason that vacuums have brushes that spin—because they do the best job of agitating and grooming the carpets.

Some varieties of shag MAY be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner with a brush roll, but it’s absolutely essential that there is a manual height adjustment and that it is used so that the brushroll touches the tips of the fibers and does not dig down into the side of the yarn. This is a delicate issue, but if you are interested in exploring this option, please bring a piece of your carpet so that we can determine whether or not this option will work for you. I repeat that using a brush will invalidate the warranty on your shag or frieze carpets.

For longer shag, a canister with a straight suction nozzle, or an upright vacuum where the brushroll can be turned off, is the right choice. In addition, the old-fashioned tool called a carpet rake is also recommended for grooming the carpet and fluffing the yarn strands before vacuuming. If you have frieze or shag carpeting, come see us today for the right vacuum cleaner and tools.

By | 2018-04-25T21:51:38-07:00 March 20th, 2016|How to Select a Vacuum | Socal Vacuum & Janitorial|Comments Off on Unique Vacuum Issues: Pet Hair, Allergies, Shag Carpet

About the Author: