Vacuum recommendations and Ionic Breeze advice?
April 4, 2005 7:53 AM   Subscribe

I recently acquired two cats which is lovely and enriching excepting that I am now living inside a giant hairball. Cat hair everywhere. Millions spent on lint rollers. First question: Can anyone recommend a decent, reasonably-priced vacuum cleaner that can tackle pet hair? It must have attachments and a HEPA filter. Also, I have bare floors. Second question: Does anyone use an Ionic Breeze or a similar air purifier? Is it worth the money?
posted by svidrigailov23 to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
To answer your second question - I have two ionic breezes, and they do work well, although I don't know if they will have any effect on pet hair. Please note that these are not in the same class as HEPA air filters, they just grab dust out of the air. They need frequent (correct) cleaning followed by a complete drying. People that complain about noise or an ozone smell usually aren't cleaning them properly.
posted by bh at 8:07 AM on April 4, 2005

For the bare floor, Swiffers or Swiffer-like things seem to be best for hair removal (my mother uses them for the dog hair). You'll still need to vacuum the furniture, though.
posted by dame at 8:12 AM on April 4, 2005

The latest Consumer Reports has a special article about ionic filters and whatnot... you might be able to find it online, as well.
posted by ph00dz at 8:22 AM on April 4, 2005

I have two Ionic Breezes. They are more useful to me as a smoker than as a pet-owner. The newer Quardra model is good as long as you are pretty regimented about cleaning the collection rods every 3-4 days. Even though you don't have to do it that often, this maximizes its usefulness.
PS: The Ionic Breeze and other cleaners will remediate dander but not hair.
I have tumbleweeds and stray hair all over the place, being the owner of a 90 lb shep/lab/unknown-heavy-shedding-breed mix. But not for much longer!
I have had a HEPA bagless vac for five years (Dirt Devil Vision canister, don't buy it) and dumped it for the Dyson DC14 Animal (an awesome vacuum). It's way expensive if you buy it new, but if you get it as an open-box item at Best Buy, or reconditioned from Amazon, you can expect to pay as little as $350 (or less) for it. You could go for the DC07 Animal as well, but you give up some very good cleaning functionality for not much less. And, hell, that's what an Ionic Breeze Quadra costs. Also, here's a prior AxMe link that may be helpful. Good luck.
posted by nj_subgenius at 8:24 AM on April 4, 2005

First off, the Ionic Breeze "filter" has been proven over and over again not to work at all. In fact, Consumer Reports recently won a major lawsuit against Sharper Image (the purveyors of the Ionic Breeze), after CU said the Ionic Breeze did not work.

Having a cat myself, I went through numerous vacuums until I learned the secret: you must vaccuum often. As in every day. I find that vacuuming every day (it only takes about 20 minutes to do my house) eliminates a lot of the wear on my vacuum. I'd compare it to cutting your lawn often, rather than letting it get too long.

I've heard good things about the Dyson, but note that Consumer Reports basically says it's only fair on carpet. Since you've only got bare floors, this might work. Expensive though.

posted by kungfujoe at 8:27 AM on April 4, 2005

Response by poster: I guess I should clarify. I am not looking for an Ionic Breeze to eliminate pet hair. I understand that this will not solve the problem. I am just looking for an air purifier to solve the related problems of dander, stink, dust, etc.
posted by svidrigailov23 at 8:28 AM on April 4, 2005

This is a bit off-topic and perhaps something you already do--but I think it's worth mentioning just in case: in addition to vaccuuming floors and filtering air, try also to make a point of brushing your cats once a day. My cat, for example, loves to be brushed, but if yours are a little shy try bribing them with treats. Also, shedding can be worse at winter-spring and summer-fall transitions, so the problem may decrease on its own in a couple of weeks. Good luck!
posted by handful of rain at 8:28 AM on April 4, 2005

I have bare floors and an English Mastiff. My main weapon is one of those dust pans on a stick and a broom. If I use only a vacuum I spend about as much time getting it unclogged as sucking up hair.
posted by Carbolic at 8:50 AM on April 4, 2005

I have no idea if this will help the situation or not, but here's a nifty tip for cleaning cat hair off furniture: dishwashing gloves. You know, the yellow ones.
Put them on, rub your chair or couch or whatever and the hair will roll right off. Saves money on those lint rollers and such nonsense.
Yes, it's dorky but I tell you, it's a lifesaver. Try it and you'll agree.
posted by willmize at 8:54 AM on April 4, 2005

I have one of the small Bathroom Ionic Breezes (hint: look for refurbed ones on eBay, do not pay full price!) and it does a pretty good job of keeping the cat litter odor under control. Well, that, and Tidy Cats Crystals Blend, that stuff really works. And a Littermaid automatic litter box.
posted by kindall at 9:00 AM on April 4, 2005

Forget brushing your cat, VACUUM your cat. It took me a while to train mine, but it's not hard.

First brush your cat with your fabric attachment. It's okay to have the vacuum out while doing this.

Next time, run the vacuum in another room and brush the cat with the round attachment.

After that run the vacuum in the same room and attach the hose to the brush. Do not attache the hose to the vacuum.

Last, vacuum the cat with the hole in the vacuum hose in the open position to reduce suction.

When I start my vacuum, the cat jumps up on the arm of the couch and begs for it. She used to run out of the room.

Two more things. If you are going to brush your cat, do it outside. This is spring. Cats and other animals shed this time of year. It's normal to be overwhelmed this time of year.
posted by kc0dxh at 9:03 AM on April 4, 2005 [3 favorites]

FYI - so far the Dyson has been fantastic on rugs. I think CU puts sand, grit and other crap into its 'test dirt'. All the more reason, svidrigailov23, to consult the AskMe thread in my initial response. Lots of vacuums to choose from, wide price range, when you use the links in it.
posted by nj_subgenius at 9:21 AM on April 4, 2005

One thing that can help reduce the pet hair that gets all over your house is to buy a handheld pet brush and brush your cats regularly. You can dispose of the hair you pull off in a sanitary fashion and it isn't painful for your animals- you're just taking off the hair that would have wound up on your clothes. In fact, most of the animals that I've brushed rather enjoy it.
posted by baphomet at 9:57 AM on April 4, 2005

I love my Shark. I use it on the stairs, in crevices, the "Turbo" attachment strips cathair right out of the upholstery. It's great. And it has a HEPA filter. This device has totally saved my sanity with regard to cathair tumbleweeds and tracked cat litter.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:06 AM on April 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

Dyson and Vax (assuming they still exist/you can get them in the US). Powerful babies, those.

But I second, third, whatever the point about daily brushing. It keeps that fluff more manageable. and many cats actually do like it, provided you give them a break every now and then to stop them getting... ummm... over-excited.
posted by Decani at 10:07 AM on April 4, 2005

I've got hardwood floors with a pair of cats. My best weapon against the lurking dust bunnies is the Swiffer Wetjet. This is the one with a squirt bottle on the handle and a tampon pad that fastens with velcro, not the one cheaper one with just the handle and the premoistened dryer-sheet that you poke into the pad on the end.

The Wetjet does an amazingly good job of picking up hair, much better than the a duster or a wet swiffer. On hardwood, I find that vacuums tend to blow the hair around as much as they collect it.

The other thing you'll want to keep on hand is a spot shampoo. Cats puke---some more, some less---but all cats puke. I've used Prosolve for years. It's a spray-on, let dry, vacuum product that seems to get out just about everything. It even got rid of a full pot of coffee in a light grey rug once. I thought for sure I was out of big money that time.
posted by bonehead at 10:40 AM on April 4, 2005

I don't know how it compares to a Dyson, but we love our Electrolux with HEPA filter. Every allergic person who comes over says "Wow, I don't hardly notice your cats at all." It's very light and easy to drag around.

Seconding the cat-brushing and recommending the Love Glove. It's pretty much like the dishwashing gloves recommended above, but with a comb-y texture built in.
posted by Aknaton at 12:07 PM on April 4, 2005

I second the recommendations of:

- Swiffer. We have wood floors, and do a dry swiffing followed by a wet one, twice a week.
- Dyson DC14 Animal. Once a month on the floors, once a week on the rugs.
- Ionic Breeze, for my wife the smoker. It doesn't do much to help the cat hair though.

I also have a Roomba Discovery, for things like the bedroom where using the swiffer under the bed isn't practical. It's also fun to use the remote and chase the cats around with it. :)
posted by mrbill at 12:22 PM on April 4, 2005

Offtopic slightly:

First off, the Ionic Breeze "filter" has been proven over and over again not to work at all.

My wife the smoker, my lungs, and the CRUD I scrub off the IB's collection blades twice a week woud disagree. Sure, it's electrostatic and not going to match the performance of a true-HEPA filter, but it does a good job and doesn't make me go broke buying replacement filters.
posted by mrbill at 12:24 PM on April 4, 2005

interesting summary of air filter reviews here
posted by andrew cooke at 3:23 PM on April 4, 2005

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