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Archives: dust

Feb 17 2012

So Many Vacuum Filters… Where Should I Start?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it doesn’t matter how often you are vacuuming, or how often you are changing your vacuum’s bag. If your vacuum’s filter isn’t properly maintained, you simply are not doing enough to keep your air safe and your home clean! Your vacuum’s filter works to trap dirt, dust, and allergens to keep them out of your air. But if your filter is dirty or clogged, those particles are simply going to get tossed back into the air.

So, now that you know you simply must maintain your vacuum’s filter, what’s next? Shopping for vacuum filters can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of filters out there: Continue reading »

Feb 10 2012

What is a HEPA filter? I’m so Glad You Asked!

In case you haven’t noticed, at Crucial Vacuum we are pretty crazy about our HEPA filters. I suggest vacuuming with a good HEPA filter in nearly every post I write. But I have never really talked much about what a HEPA filter is. So, let’s talk about it!

What is HEPA?

HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate arresting”. HEPA filters are air filter that trap almost all the dust and dirt particles down to and including 0.3 microns (AKA tiny particles of dirt and dust).

The way HEPA filters are made is what makes them more effective than other filters. They are made up of glass fibers, placed on top of one another, like pleats. These fibers are held together with the help of frames placed inside. Because the fibers are held so tightly together, it is nearly impossible for most contaminants to pass through. Therefore they become trapped inside the filter, instead of floating freely in your air.

Not just any filter can claim to be a HEPA filter either! The government has standards that a filter must meet before it can bear the HEPA name. In order to pass the test, filters must have the capability to trap at least 99.97% of .3 microns. That’s some serious trap-ability!

What are HEPA “like” Filters? Continue reading »

Jan 30 2012

More On Chemical Free Cleaning With Myst Reutlinger

 

Last week, chemical free cleaning guru, Mysti Reutlinger gave me the lowdown on the dangers of chemical cleaners.  As promised, here is part 2 of my interview with the author of “The Pantry Cleaner: Chemical Free Cleaning“. Check out the great tips, advice, and even one recipe she is sharing with Crucial Vacuum first!

CV: Ok, so if I were to start by throwing out one chemical cleaner today, what should it be and why? 

MR: Oh, this is a hard question!  

I would have to say any chemical that is in an aerosol can. With aerosol cans, not only do you add the chemicals found in the cleaner into the air, you are risking the sight of your loved ones in addition to potentially causing damage to other body systems such as the respiratory and circulatory.  

In a study conducted at Brown University and released in 2011, children’s eyesight is most at risk from aerosol sprays. Just using a canned spray cleaner in the vicintiy of children can cause disruption to their vision. The chemicals burn and scar the eyes.  

The eyes have no protection from chemicals! The chemicals that touch the eye are flushed directly into the blood stream. This is why your eyes will burn when you clean your home. 

CV: What is one chemical free solution you would recommend for a beginner like me who is looking to venture into the natural cleaning world? 

MR: I have a few simple recipes that are easy to make and use.  

A lemon-fresh all-purpose spray cleaner:  

Mix 2 cups of water and 1 cup of lemon juice for a potent disinfecting kitchen and bathroom spray.  It’s simple, smells great, and you can even drink it without hurting your body.  

Another great one to start with is a hand sanitizer. This recipe is not included in The Pantry Cleaner, but will be in volume two, set to realease in winter 2012/spring 2013.  

1 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil. Mix it together and spray on your hands, rub together, and allow to dry.  

Not only are you eliminating 99% of germs like commercial hand sanitizers, you are eliminating the dangers of ingesting those chemicals. This is especially important for young children who tend to put their hands in their mouths.  

CV: Like so many others, I’m on a budget. Is chemical-free cleaning really going to save me money? 

MR: I have a three-story home and clean every day. I only spend an average of $8 on cleaning supplies every couple of months. That includes washing clothes for my family of four.  

CV: Wow! I’m sold! So, what is your favorite natural remedy for getting rid of dust? 

MR: Keeping airfilters clean. We replace our furnace filter every three months. We only have to dust once a month. When we do dust, I use olive oil and lemon juice on natural woods and just a soft cloth on everything else.  

CV: Last but not least, do you vacuum first? Or dust first? 

MR: I don’t have a huge dust problem! I vacuum every day with a hepafilter vacuum and keep my furnace filters clean. I still only have to dust once a month. So I definitely vacuum first.  

 

Jan 28 2012

Author, Mysti Reutlinger Shares Crucial Information on Dangerous Chemical Cleaners

Mysti Reutlinger - The Pantry Cleaner

At Crucial Vacuum we know how important it is to keep our families healthy and breathing easy. Why else would we spend so much time cleaning and sanitizing? But lately there has been a lot of talk about the dangers of the chemicals found in common household cleaners and it got my attention. Am I doing more harm than good?

So I caught up with Mysti Reutlinger, author of “The Pantry Cleaner: Chemical Free Cleaning”, to pick her brain about the dangers of household cleaners and I was shocked by what she had to say.

CV: So, just to clear things up, what is chemical free cleaning as opposed to “commercial cleaning”?

MR: Chemical-free cleaning uses natural products that eliminate germs, grime, and all the goo any child (or adult) could produce without adding any chemicals into the home.  

CV: What first sparked your interest in chemical free cleaning?

MR: The short version; My youngest son.  My son arrived at 24-weeks in gestation. He was 1 pound, 7 ounces and 12 inches long at birth. He spent the first 115 days of his life in a Neonatal ICU and when he came home, he was on oxygen. I quickly noticed that he struggled breathing when I cleaned. Upon hours of research, including reading many medical studies published in accredited journals, I found the correlation between commercial cleaners and a host of problems occurring in people.

CV: Your book is described as teaching us how to clean without the use of harmful chemicals that can lead to respiratory distress, loss of smell, and even cause cancer… are household cleaners really that dangerous?

MR: In a word, yes. When we purchase food in a store that is processed and packaged, we have a list of ingredients on the side and can make reasonable decisions about the quality of the food in the package. Commercial cleaners (anything purchased) don’t have to follow the same regulations because their chemical formulas are considered “trade secrets.” Longterm exposure to some chemicals found in the most common of cleaning products leads to many disorders, diseases, and yes, even cancer.

A study published in the October 2007 issue of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine provides a good illustration. Over 3,000 people who did not have asthma or asthma symptoms at the start of the study were followed by researchers and their cleaning habits were evaluated. In the people who used commercial spray cleaners once a week, 42% had asthma symptoms at the end of the study. Those who cleaned more often were diagnosed with asthma and required medication.

CV: I was shocked when I read about the damage that chemicals in common cleaners can do. Like disinfectants are toxic to our respiratory and circulatory systems? Isn’t that a bit ironic?

MR: It is ironic. We want what is best for our families. We love them and want everyone to be safe. Cleaning shouldn’t be dangerous!

CV: Is it safer to not clean at all rather than use store bought chemical cleaners?

MR: Before there were commercial cleaners, people cleaned. They used vinegar, lemons, baking soda, corn starch, and regular lye soaps. Dishes were scrubbed and when someone was sick, rinsed with boiling water. Even without understanding the science behind having a clean home and eliminating germs and bacteria, our ancestors cleaned. Just like they knew what science has proven today, a clean home will keep our families from becoming sick. It is definitely not safer to live without cleaning.

CV: I tried! But what about allergy sufferers? Don’t we need something more powerful to clear the air?

MR: Allergy sufferers most certainly need clean air, not chemically-filled air.  

At one point in my life, I took prescription allergy medicines every spring and fall. I was convinced that the stuffy nose and burning eyes was a result of the seasonal plants growing and irritating me. When I changed how I cleaned, I still had the occasional stuffy nose and burning in my eyes, but I no longer needed medication to treat the symptoms.  

So now that I’ve got your attention, check back next week for Mysti’s tips for beginners like me who want to try their hand at chemical-free cleaning. Part two of our interview includes a couple simple chemical-free cleaner recipes, tips for getting rid of dust, and Mysti tells me what one item I should throw out today.

Dec 7 2011

To Vacuum First, or to Dust First ? That is the Question!

duster vs vacuum, which comes first

Cleaning… It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. After cleaning our homes over and over we develop a routine that we could complete in our sleep. It probably goes a little something like this: pick up, dust, vacuum… or is it vacuum and then dust?It’s an age-old debate, to dust first, or to vacuum first. There is no middle of the road here folks, you’re either on one side or the other. It’s a debate that divides households, pits mother against daughter, tears apart friendships…

Ok so it’s not that big of a deal, but seriously who is right?

Research on the topic uncovers a number of housekeeping professionals and experts who say they know the answer. The problem is, even the experts are divided right down the middle. Even more confusing, they give such good reasons to back up their opinion that we are left with our heads spinning.

So let’s look at the arguments shall we? First we have “Team Vacuum.” These housekeepers strongly believe that they are doing the right thing by vacuuming first. The biggest and most valid argument made by this side is that vacuums throw dust into the air, therefore that dust will need to be dusted off of furniture after you vacuum. Good point, but then where does that dust go when you clean it off your furniture?

That is why “Team Dust” says you should clean the dust off of the furniture first. Then once the dust settles into the carpet, you should vacuum it up. Makes sense, but what about the inevitable dust that your vacuum is going to toss around?

Confused? Join the crowd. The bottom line is this; there is no right or wrong answer. (Although we found plenty of experts who claim their answer is the right one).

A completely unscientific poll conducted on Facebook perfectly proved the point of this blog. Exactly 50% of those who answered firmly believed that vacuuming should come first while the other 50% said dusting should absolutely be done first. Thank goodness for easy math!

But while we can’t solve the debate, Crucial Vacuum can offer one piece of crucial advice to both sides.

Minimize the amount of dust put out by your vacuum.

The dust that is tossed into the air when you vacuum is problem no matter which chore you complete first. Less dust put out by your vacuum equals less dust to settle on your furniture, or on your carpet (because it depends where you are leaving that dust, are you still with us?)

So how do you make sure your vacuum is putting out the least amount of dust possible?

That Crucial Vacuum can help you with! Ensuring that your vacuums filter is clean and that your vacuums bag is not full is the best way to be sure that your vacuum is picking up and trapping as much dirt and dust as possible.

If your vacuum has an old or dirty filter you aren’t getting the most out of your vacuum. If your bag is full, you can vacuum your little heart out, but there is no way you are getting the best suction possible out of your vacuum.

Keep replacement bags and filters on hand so your vacuum doesn’t end up making cleaning a bigger chore than it already is. This way, whether you are vacuuming first, last, or somewhere in between, at least you can be vacuuming effectively.

So, which team are you on?