Suffer from asthma or allergies?
What should you look for in a vacuum cleaner?
A high-quality filtration system largely prevents asthma and allergy triggers being returned to the air via the vacuum's exhaust. The most important filter the vacuum should have is called HEPA filter. The vacuum should also be sealed to prevent dust from escaping from other places on the vacuum such as body joins.
It is important to point out that filters in vacuums require cleaning or replacement even if they classified as “lifetime” filters. Most manufacturers provide instructions for maintaining and replacement frequency.
For asthmatics with symptoms triggered by exercise or exertion, there are several vacuum cleaners that have a “power head” that would almost self propel and make it easier to vacuum. A self-propelled vacuum can take a bit of getting used to, but it greatly reduces the amount of effort that is required to vacuum your home.
Carpet is the home of dust mites and allergy triggers and it’s also the hardest to clean. You will want a vacuum that is powerful enough to get deep into the fibers and remove asthma and allergy triggers. Also, be sure your vacuum has a fresh bag or has been emptied recently, so that you are getting all the suction power from it you can. It is 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, try to go slowly. Many people vacuum too fast to remove dirt and allergens that are embedded deep in carpet fibers. Several vacuums available have indicators that help you determine when your carpet is clean. These indicators encourage you to work slowly and take the guess work out of knowing when dirt has been removed.
The best type of vacuum cleaners that will be suitable for removing asthma and allergy triggers are the sort of vacuum cleaners that have two main features; a vibrating power head and a HEPA Filter. Those two features go hand in hand and one is useless without the other.
Power heads guide
There is a range of power heads on the market, some are better than others but they all have a motor inside the head that spins a brush. That brush will open the carpet and get more dirt out. Be sure to stay away from “turbo heads”, these are heads that also have the spinning brush element but they are spun by the vacuum suction, not a separate motor. Turbo heads can use up to 40% of your suction to spin and normally can only pick up the dust on the surface of your carpet.
The best power heads to look out for are the ones that have the following features:
1. 200 watts independent motor
2. Vibrating or beating capabilities
3. Stiff and dense brushes on the roller brush
What needs to be vacuumed?
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.
Some fragile fabrics can easily be damaged by vacuuming. Many of the currently available canister vacuums have adjustable suction that will enable you to reduce the pressure for more delicate fabrics. Make sure you clean all sides of pillows and cushions.
Drapes and Curtains
Drapes and curtains are more of the most neglected hiding places for allergy and asthma triggers. The typically light nature of drapes and curtains makes them difficult to clean.
We spend a lot of timein our beds, as do many peoples' pets. Mattresses need to be frequently vacuumed. One major mattress manufacturer claims the weight of our mattresses doubles every ten years solely from dust mites and their droppings. Place a vacuum with a 200w vibrating power head on your mattress and you will not believe your eyes what you are going to pull out!
Taking Control of your Asthma & Allergies
It is up to individuals to take control of their health. Many asthmatics find that by cleaning thoroughly they can actually reduce their dependence on rescue medications. By vacuuming you can help control asthma and allergies, rather than let them control you.