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Vacuum Cleaner Filtration Guide

I'm sure by now you've come across the acronym HEPA in reference to vacuum cleaner filtration. In an effort to keep this article from becoming a scientific bore, I will NOT give a disertation on what HEPA stands for, what it is, or who is the German Institute of Air Quality (DMT). What I will do is provide you a basic overview of features that are important to a consumer who suffers from allergies and/or asthma. When shopping online or in a vacuum cleaner store for a new upright or canister vacuum, look for the following features in the product description:


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Is the vacuum cleaner sealed? - This is very important! Unsealed vacuum cleaners will leak air before it can be filtered throught the exhaust filter. An unsealed vacuum will actually redistribute dust and allergens that have settled into your carpet. A reference to a vacuum cleaner being sealed will be prominently displayed if this feature is present. The overwhelming majority of vacuums are NOT sealed. This feature is more commonly found in canister vacuum cleaners. Upright vacuums, like the Simplicity Synergy have it but it is a very uncommon feature on an upright vacuum at the moment.

Certified HEPA Filter - Make sure it is "certified" by the DMT. If a vacuum offers a Certified Hepa Filter, it's usually displayed in every product description for that model vacuum (slight exaggeration). It may be certified by another credible organization. S-Class hospital filtration is also a favorable term. S-Class filtration actually excedes HEPA standards but the term is not very common in America.

HEPA Filter - Still very effective, and quite commonplace nowadays. Vacuum HEPA filters are installed on upright and canister vacuum cleaners to clean air as it exits your vacuum during operation.

I could go on and on, but the reference to filtraton starts to get very proprietary from here.

I strongly recommend that you purchase a vacuum cleaner that is "sealed". Most of the sealed/HEPA Filter vacuums available are canisters at the moment. This combination is a high end feature, so the HEPA Filters on these machines are very high quality. Miele and Bosch are two of the more popular brands available online that offer these features in there higher line canister vacuum cleaners. Prepare to spend good money.

Quick Tip: When you buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, check the manufacturers manual to see how often the HEPA filter should be replaced. You absolutely must follow the manufacturers guidelines to maintain the maximum filtration capabilities of the machine.


If you don't want to pay for the features above, you can still lessen your exposure to dust and dust mites from your vacuum by using hypo-allergenic bags. Vacuum cleaner bags are an important part of the filtering system in a vacuum cleaner. You'll spend a few dollars more than you will for an untreated vacuum bag, but over the course of time, this expense is very minimal.

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