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How to pick the best vacuum

Staying ahead of the grit, dust, and lint in your home can (literally) suck. So it’s important to choose a handy vacuum that works for you and your space. Not all of us are fortunate to have a central vac in our homes. A good vacuum will run you at least $200, so lets look at some options and items to look out for.

Type of vacuum:

Canister, upright, stick-vac, handheld

Overall stick-vacs are the lightest and easiest to store. Stick-vacs are small and great for small messes.

Upright vacuums have a bigger motor and will usually last longer depending on use. Upright vacuums are best for cleaning carpets.

Canister vacuums are better for tight spaces and hard surfaces.

If you have mostly bare floors:

Hardwood and tile still need to be vacuumed, a versatile canister vac might be your best option. Canister vacuums usually come with many attachments including a bare-floor brush; you can get into corners and other tight spaces easily. If you prefer an upright, choose one that allows you to turn the brush roll off; in case you find it scattering debris on a bare floor.

If you have a lot of wall-to-wall carpeting:

A canister with a motorized power head attachment is great for carpet, but if you have a lot of space to cover, you’ll probably prefer the ease of an upright. Look for an adjustable-height brush roll to improve cleaning and pushing across various carpet-pile heights. Some Uprights are self-adjusting. Other models even have dirt sensors, good for making sure you’ve gotten the last of the grime without lots of extra back-and-forth.

If you have stairs:

A canister with a long hose and attachments for getting in and around railings is a smart pick. However, if you only want one vacuum for the entire house, a cumbersome canister that you’ll need to drag between floors may not be your cup of tea. Opt for a lightweight upright as your solo machine, or buy a second, less expensive model for upstairs cleaning.

If you want to vacuum more than the floors:

A vacuum can be a great cleaning tool, make sure you consider the attachments it comes with. Most vacuums have standard a crevice tool, dusting brush, and upholstery brush, many models have specially designed extras for cleaning mattresses, removing pet hair, and even dusting ceiling fans and the tops of bookcases.

Variable suction is also helpful for cleaning delicate items like drapery sheers and small area rugs without damaging them. Look for models with extra long cords (up to 35 feet) to extend your reach even more. Longer cords, sometimes with quick change set-ups are usually standard on commercial models.

If your family suffers from allergies:

A vacuum works by drawing air (and dust and debris) in and sending exhaust air out. One with poor filtration or a lot of crevices in the body can scatter irritants that make you sneeze. Choose a vacuum that’s both sealed and has a HEPA filter, which traps 99.97% of dust, dander, pollen, and mold spores in the machine. I recommend a bagging model with HEPA filtration this way disposing of the waste is quick and easy.

If you prefer quick cleanups:

Newer cordless models may clean just as well as traditional corded uprights and aren’t tethered to an outlet. Their shortcoming is the battery life — they run for minutes, not hours (or even half hours), before needing a recharge. So if you like to clean the whole house in one swoop, skip them.

Stick vacs and handhelds (both corded and cordless) are also great for quick pick-ups, but they lack the power and versatility to be your primary vacuum.

If you really hate vacuuming:

Go full-on hands off with a robotic vac (the latest are even better at area mapping so as not to miss a spot). Some both vacuum and wet-clean, but all told, robotic vacs are pricey and aren’t super-powerful, so they won’t replace your regular vac. Robotic vacs also have their short-comings. These make for some funny youtube videos

If you’re weighing bagged vs. bagless:

There’s no difference in cleaning ability, so it comes down to preference. Bags less messy, but you need to have replacements on hand. Bagless vacs while more convenient are more likely to spread dust around causing irritation if your family have allergies.

How to Clean a Mirror

Mirror cleaning is one of those tasks that begs to be hired out, a lot of work only to end up with a mess of streaks that catch the light and make it look as if you just made it worse!

Cleaning mirrors weather in your bathroom, on a wall or on your coffee table; is about having the right tools and technique. The right tools make all the difference for streak free mirrors!

First the Tools You’ll Need:

Filtered Water

Good Quality Spray Bottle

Clean Rag

Quality Microfiber cloths one general use and one window cloth

The Technique

Use filtered and softened water if available. You want to clean with the best possible ingredients by filtering and removing the minerals from hard water. Professionals use reverse osmosis or dionized water to clean.

Vinegar is one of those all-purpose ingredients that’s tough to live without. It’s as great on a salad as it in on your mirror, and it costs practically nothing. I really like to clean with vinegar when surfaces are have glue to remove or some deodorization is needed.

Whether you’re out of your usual glass cleaner or you’re just looking for a cheaper option, vinegar can do wonders for your windows and mirrors. A vinegar-water solution (50/50) works great — just spray or wipe it on like you would any other cleaner.

The smell will stick around for a bit, so if the smell of pickles isn’t your favourite, stick with your filtered water. You can always use the vinegar outside with the extra fresh air.

There’s nothing like a bunch of suds to leave your glass full of streaks. This isn’t a problem if you’re using vinegar or straight filtered water as a cleaner — no soap there. But if your glass coffee table is truly dirty I recommend using an all-purpose cleaner that is safe and effective, we use UltraOne.

It doesn’t take much soap to get rid of that dirt, and using too much will result in an overly dense cleaner that can leave a streaky residue on the glass.

And speaking of residue: It’s perhaps the biggest glass-cleaning mistake so many of us make.

You know that bucket of glass-cleaning supplies you carry through the house when it’s window day?

There should not be a roll of paper towels in it. Or for that matter Newspaper, unless you want to take a break on the porch.

Paper towels leave not only streaks, but linty ones. Instead, go for a microfiber cloth, a squeegee.

Finally, the finishing touch.

Even if you do exactly the right things, you can still end up with a streak or three. In that case, the simplest solution is to finish the job with a quick buff.

A chamois or a microfiber cloth is best, although a regular rag will do. Keep it dry, and just buff over the glass when you finish cleaning it. You’ll find those streaks just disappear.

Regularly maintaining your mirrors makes the job a lot easier. The less dirt and grime your mirrors accumulate, the less time you’ll spend cleaning them a quick wipe with your microfiber cloth and you’re on your way.


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