Magazine article USA TODAY

Cleaner Vacuums

Magazine article USA TODAY

Cleaner Vacuums

Article excerpt

Vacuum cleaners have been a staple in most homes since just after the turn of the century. Various improvements and innovations have been added over more than nine decades, but the implements' function has remained unchanged -- cleaning up dirt. Just recently, though, has the question arisen: How clean is clean? Testing labs came to the conclusion that what you see is not necessarily what you get. While rugs, carpets, floors, and upholstery had their dirt vacuumed up, unseen pollutants were being emitted from the machines. These microscopic particles often found their way into the lungs of not only the vacuum wielder, but other members of the household as well, being particularly hazardous to children, the elderly, people with heart and/or pulmonary disease, and asthmatics. A pair of vacuum cleaner manufacturers has stepped to the forefront in the war against such pollution.

Miele Appliances, Inc., Somerset, N.J., has introduced a filtration system that collects almost 100% of emissions the Environmental Protection Agency labels potential killers because of their ability to penetrate the respiratory system's defenses and invade lung tissues. This is welcome news, of course, but most people still buy a vacuum for its effectiveness in cleaning. Miele stands out here as well. The model dubbed Blue Magic for its efficiency sleek midnight blue casing has a plethora of features designed to root out dirt anywhere in the house. The cannister has rounded corners to help protect furniture from dings and scratches, a trio of free-mounted wheels that lets the machine scoot along the ground as if on a cushion of air, and a rugged, flexible hose that pivots 360 [degrees] at the base and has a pistolgrip handle for ease of operation. Various attachments are ideal for furniture, drapes, radiators, and other above-the-floor uses, facilely sliding between cushions, coils of a radiator, or into air vents.

The ultimate test of a vacuum, however, is its ability to clean floors, and Miele does a superior job at this task. Snap the pistol grip to the top of the extension wand, then the wand to the aptly named Powerbrush, and you're ready to go. A half-dozen power settings give a wide range of suction options, allowing the machine to drag dirt from the deepest depths of thick plush carpet or clean a shag rug without ripping out individual strands. …

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