A high-quality vacuum cleaner can be a lifesaver for those that suffer from allergies, seasonal or otherwise. The keyword here is “high-quality” since many vacuum cleaners actually send more dust flying into the air than it picks up which is never a good thing for allergy sufferers.
If your sinuses are particularly sensitive to dust, pollen, dust mites, and/or dander, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll describe in detail a number of different factors that improve a vacuum cleaner’s ability to remove allergens once and for all.
While shopping for a vacuum cleaner, you may have come across the phrase HEPA filters. This stands for high-efficiency particle air, and it describes how effective a filter is at trapping microscopic allergens such as dust mites and their waste.
According to the US Department of Energy, a HEPA filter should have the ability to capture and retain particles as small as 0.3 microns in size up to 99.97 percent of the time. The European Standard splits HEPA filters into two categories, H13 and H14, where each has an average retention rate of 99.95 and 99.995 percent respectively for 0.3-micron particles and larger.
To put it simply, a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter will almost guarantee that dust mites and even bacteria cells will never roam free in your home once they got sucked in.
Of course, the HEPA filter will be for nothing if the vacuum’s motor can’t produce enough lift to remove debris from the surface of your floors. Generally speaking, a larger motor will suck in greater quantities of air at a higher speed so that the last dust mite clinging on for dear life doesn’t get looked over.
There is no golden number in terms of motor amperage or horsepower, nor suction bars or pascals. If it packs a powerful enough punch to remove debris both surface and embedded debris, that should be more than sufficient.
Beater Brush vs. Brushless
Vacuum cleaners can come with either a beater brush or not. Choosing one over the other is a simple matter of knowing how much carpeting covers your floors and how shaggy its fibers are.
A beater brush is a high-speed brushroll fitted with still bristles that dig deep into carpet fibers to extract debris hiding under the surface. Without such a brush, deep-cleaning shaggy carpets and area rugs are nearly impossible with the vacuum’s floorhead, forcing you to switch to one of the bristled spot-cleaning tools (e.g. dusting brush). A brush-less floorhead is ideal for laminate, tiles, and floorboards since it reduces the risk of leaving unsightly scratch marks on your floor.
You can get the best of both worlds by finding a vacuum cleaner with adjustable brush height settings. All you need to do is lift or drop the beater brush based on what type of floor you’re vacuuming.
Believe it or not, a vacuum cleaner’s filter and brushroll play a very minimal role in its overall cleaning performance. Without a near-perfect seal, the floorhead may end up tossing more dirt and debris to the side than it stores in its bag or dust cup.
The vacuum cleaner’s floorhead should be low and nearly touching the surface of your floor or carpet. It’s simple math—the seal limits the number of directions floor contaminants can go, forcing them to go upward in the direction of the vacuum’s suction and pass through the awaiting HEPA filter.
Ideally, you’ll want to find a vacuum floorhead with thinner size bezels. This will allow the beater brush to clean a wider patch per pass while also ensuring hardly anything can escape through the slight openings on either side of the brush.
Bagged vs. Bagless
Next, you’ll want to pay close attention to whether the vacuum cleaner is a bagged or bagless model. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but when it comes to allergen removal, bagless is the safer option.
Bagless vacuum cleaners store all collected debris into a plastic dust cup that can be emptied, washed, rinsed, and reused. Obviously, this is the more environmentally friendly and wallet-friendly option since you won’t need to purchase replacement dust cups until it becomes cracked.
However, vacuum bags are considered the better debris collection system for allergy sufferers because there’s hardly a risk of its contents pouring back onto your floors while tossing them out. Every speck of dust, dust mite, particles of dander, and pollen is thrown out along with the bag.
Vacuum cleaners aren’t just designed to clean floors. With an assortment of cleaning tools, you can use your vacuum to suction away allergens hiding in plain sight on above-floor surfaces. By running a finger through your curtains, you can see what we mean.
An assortment of cleaning tools makes spot-cleaning high-up surfaces a lot easier on the user. For instance, an upholstery tool makes quick work out of removing dust mites on cushioned surfaces, a triangular stair tool helps in getting rid of dust and pair hair hiding in between stair steps, and a dusting brush can be used to remove lint from vent grates.
You can vacuum your home from top to bottom, but allergens always find a way to come creeping back in. The secret to an allergen-free home (or close to it) isn’t just the vacuum cleaner but also how frequently you vacuum. We think we just heard a collective groan from the audience.
Unfortunately, there’s no way around it. the best thing you can do is find a vacuum cleaner that you’re most comfortable using. That means deciding on which type of vacuum cleaner to go with. There are ultra-lightweight stick vacs, heavy-duty canister vacs, standard uprights, and even convertible upright-handheld canisters to choose from. Some of the newer robot models can also be quite helpful in removing common allergens from laminated floors and carpets.
If pet hair, dust mites, or pollen send you in a never-ending fit of uncontrollable sneezes, then it may be time to consider choosing a proper vacuum cleaner. This guide explains in great detail a number of different factors that affect a vacuum’s allergen-fighting capabilities. After reading this guide, you should be equipped with the knowledge needed to choose the best vacuum cleaner for removing allergens.