Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My new Dyson

Or, An Asthmatic's Review of Dyson Vacuums (and Zorb carpet cleaner).

For anyone who doesn't know this and is cruising in after a Google search, I have asthma. It's well-controlled with Singulair and Proventil; I drink POM juice every day for the quercetin, and I have two air cleaners going all the time. My asthma bothers me most in spring and fall - it's allergic, seasonal asthma. I have two cats I am not allergic to, but I bathe them every 3 weeks just in case.

So, I got some Christmas money and some gift cards at Best Buy and there was a sale, I bought one, and now I'm the happy owner of a Dyson DC-14 "all floors" vacuum.

If you're wondering about the models, the basic idea is that all models within a particular number series (14, 17, etc.) are the same vacuum, but you can find different attachments included in each bundle. The Asthma bundle has an attachment for cleaning mattresses, and the Animal vacuum has an attachment with a beater brush for cleaning upholstery. I plan to add on attachments as I go, so I got the basic model. It comes with three attachments - crevice, dust, and small areas - to use with the hose.

I also bought a bag of Dyson brand Zorb carpet cleaner. This is supposed to grab dirt from within your carpet and help the vacuum pick it up.

The first thing I did was tweet about getting a Dyson. My tweeps gave me a lot of good advice about what to do with it - vacuum a room five times, go slowly, take pictures, etc. Here's my experience with it!

(Let me just say my asthma has been bad this week.)

I vacuumed with it last night just to try it out. It seemed to pick up a pretty normal amount of dust and dirt, but I just went quickly, didn't move anything, and didn't really do a thorough job. I've had a Hoover for about two years and it died on me, but it was also a bagless and I saw a lot of junk, cat hair and dust picked up with it. So it seemed at least even last night. But today, I decided to do the go-slow-five-times route. And I took pictures! Here is the collection bin after five passes in my 10x14 foot fully carpeted dining room. I moved all the furniture and cat toys and stuff, btw.

This is what I picked up after five passes in my dining room.

And here is the carpet after those five passes:

Pretty clean after five passes with Dyson.

While there isn't THAT much cat hair in the bin, I am absolutely astonished at the amount of cat litter, dust, and other smaller particles the Dyson picked up. Remember, this is ONE ROOM.

As for the asthma, the air expelled from the Dyson doesn't smell dusty, musty, or bother me in any way. It smells as clean as what comes out of my air cleaners.

Now for the fun part. Zorb carpet cleaner comes in a big bag and is kind of like a three-way cross between sawdust, brown sugar, and Captain Crunch. You'll sprinkle it all over your carpet, rub it in with a broom, let it set for 30 minutes, and then vacuum thoroughly. I'd recommend banishing your pets for this part of the process. (While the bag does not say it's toxic, anything animals step or lay in, they tend to lick off their fur later. I didn't want my cats ingesting this powder.)

So obviously, you'll need:
You'll need
A bag of Zorb, something to scoop it out and sprinkle with (I used a measuring cup) and a kitchen broom.

Sprinkle it on the carpet:

Sprinkle the Zorb on the carpet

And rub it in with the broom.

Once you have done that, set your timer for thirty minutes and go relax. (I actually sprinkled my living room, but that only took 15 minutes.)

Set the timer for 30 min.

Vacuum. It smells really good and fresh and did not make me wheeze at all.

After Zorb, it looks MUCH cleaner, particularly in high-traffic areas like near the patio door:

After Zorb, clean and fresh!

And the bin? You can see what's Zorb. I'm amazed at how much other junk is in there, too!

After the Zorb, this is what it collected.

Remember, I emptied the "five times" dirt. Still so much cat hair, Jen hair, and dust! Way whole lotta dust.

I did the living room, too. Results were the same, except I have some stains to get out. For this, I'm going to try Dyson Dyzolv, and I've got to go to Target for that.

Some stains left after cleaning the living room

But it still looks very clean. This carpet is 8 years old, btw.

Cats came out of quarantine and didn't seem bothered by the scent or feel at all. I think it smells great, and I have not had any asthma problems with it at all.

Next I used the hose (cleverly stored in the handle and very easy to use once you get the hang of it) to clean all six sets of mini blinds in my living room and dining room. It got them spotless. I used the crevice tool around the baseboards to get up the odd bits of cat litter and junk that congregate there. And I used the flat attachment to clean the couch. For the ottoman in my living room, I just picked up the whole vacuum and put it on top. It was fine.

If you have delicate carpet, set the floor adjustment to bare floors or the beater brush may make it fuzz. If you vacuum throw rugs or other carpets that aren't securely attached to floor, it will pick them up and make an awful noise. This thing has major suction. Don't use it on animals, either. (Grady loves to be vacuumed, but he does NOT love the Dyson.) And I used the duster tool to do my computer keyboard, which was pretty manky - and is now spotless.

I didn't find any problems with it. Of course, your mileage may vary. I read a lot of reviews beforehand (woot is particularly good) and it pretty much did everything I expected it to do. Assembly is very easy out of the box (there is a really well-designed instruction manual that tells you everything). The only thing I wish it did that it doesn't do? I wish it made me pancakes.

I'd highly recommend a Dyson, as a pet owner, a person with carpet and fairly long hair (which gets everywhere) and asthmatic.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I miss you. I miss our chats. I miss you listening patiently to my rants.

I admit I've been cheating on you with Twitter.

I admit I haven't knitted anything - not one stitch - since Thanksgiving weekend, though I am still dreaming nightly of wearing my Bird in Hand mitts.

I admit they aren't going to finish themselves.

Bloggy, I hope we get together more often than we have been. I think everybody (including me) got bored with the normal-life stuff.

See, there's something I haven't told them...that is, that last winter I had a book offer from a publisher. For what? they may ask. Well, for an idea. Truth is, there was no book. Only idea.

But the more we talked, the more we realized that our ideas of the book differed, and the book was not going to happen. We parted ways and breathed a sigh of relief.

It felt weird to blog and not be able to talk about the whole process - how much I struggled with being a writer, how my ideas for other parts of it were just completely excited and happy and ... fell flat when I talked about them.

Thing is, I'm not actually disappointed, other than having an idea in my mind of how it could have been. You know? When you have a vision for something and it doesn't catch, it's not going to work. So there's no point in wishing it was different.

But I think it killed my relationship to you, Blog, or at least made it hibernate for a while. Suddenly I was faced with being much more public and probably having to be a lot more serious and together than I usually am, and I worried all the time about saying the right thing. I didn't pick up my needles, and I stopped carrying my knitting around with me. I started thinking it sure made my living room cluttered.

But I have been away from Knitting for a while now, and I miss it. I want it back. For me, not as a source of worry, work or pressure (all self-induced, the publisher could literally not have been nicer to work with than they were), but just because I like to do it, I'm fairly good at it, and that is enough.

I don't want to give you any more details, blog, but I do want to tell you stories and laugh and keep a journal of my knitting on you, if that's okay. If you don't totally hate me. I have been negligent.

It took me two months to figure out how to say this. The saddest part of the whole thing was that knitting and blogging fell by the wayside. I do not want that to be true anymore.