» Indoor Health Matters

Miele S8 Canister Vacuums: The Next Generation of Cleaning

Posted by Tony on March 12th, 2013

Miele S8 Series Vacuums Banner

A cleaning revolution may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s exactly what Miele has created. Their new S8 line of canister vacuums are packed with extras and leading the charge in changing how we clean our homes.

I was lucky enough to chat with a Miele rep about these “next generation” vacuums. I really only had 2 questions: What makes one S8 model different from the others? And who should buy each one? I’ll share what I learned, but let’s run through the premium features they all share first. These vacuums filter air better than most canister vacuums, and they’re the lightest and quietest vacuums Miele has ever created. All Miele S8 vacuums include:

  • Parquet Twister Floor Tool: All S8 models come with this floor tool, which is air-driven and perfect for smooth floors.
  • AirClean Sealed System: It’s one thing to vacuum up dust, allergens, and other particles, but this sealed system ensures it stays in the vacuum’s bag and out of your indoor environment.
  • One-Touch Controls: No wrapping a cord, holding down a button, or even bending over. Simply touch a button with your foot to rewind the cord automatically or turn the vacuum on and off.
  • 6 Suction Settings: Different surfaces have various heights and textures; these settings let you control how much suction you use. For example, you’d use much more suction on high-pile carpet than when cleaning upholstery.
  • Onboard Accessories: Easy to find and store, use these for cleaning furniture, upholstery, and various other areas of your home. Continue reading

Resolve to Breathe Better Air This Year

Posted by Ivey on December 29th, 2010

New Year's Celebration and a ClockAs the year draws close, most of us are reflecting on the past year and assessing what we would like to change or improve in the upcoming year. Most of the time, these changes focus on ways to be healthier and improve your quality of life, like losing weight, quitting smoking, or going to the gym more often. Instead of making the same resolutions year after year, try something new for 2011—improving the quality of your indoor air!

According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution levels can be two to five times higher than pollution levels outdoors. This increase in indoor pollution levels is even more shocking when you consider that Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time doors. The good thing about indoor air quality is that it is absolutely within your ability to dramatically improve it. Continue reading

How to Weatherize Your Home without Sacrificing Air Quality

Posted by John on October 23rd, 2008

With heating bills expected to be even higher than last year’s, it’s important to weatherize your home to conserve energy – but it’s also important to maintain healthy indoor air quality once you seal up your house.

Even a well-insulated home may contain several gaps and cracks that allow heat to escape. Place weather-stripping around doors and windows, and seal any gaps in building materials with caulking. Continue reading

Nanotechnology – The Next Major Environmental Health Threat?

Posted by John on October 20th, 2008

Technology is a double-edged sword: Nanotechnology will give us the smallest machines imagineable and sheets of paper as strong as steel – but this new technology will also introduce new health threats in the indoor environment. Continue reading

Air Purifiers Reduce Need for Asthma Medication

Posted by John on October 8th, 2008

BBC reports that a new British study is putting air purifiers to the test. Air cleaners will be placed in the bedrooms of over 70 children to see if their asthma improves.

So far, preliminary results from 28 children show that air purifiers in bedrooms do indeed reduce the need for asthma medication.

“They also reported they were able to do sport better and sleep better, which was really good,” said research nurse Heather Hanna. Continue reading

Vacuum for Allergy Relief

Posted by John on September 28th, 2008

allergy vacuums“If you suffer from allergies and asthma, vacuuming does more than make your home look better,” writes respiratory therapist Shane McGlaun at “It can be as important as taking medications to control your condition. Vacuuming is an essential part of limiting exposure to asthma and allergy triggers, such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen and other allergens.”

McGlaun says that allergy sufferers should look for HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners so that allergens are not returned to the air through the vacuum’s exhaust. If your vacuum does not have a HEPA filters, then you’re simply moving allergens around rather than capturing them. This could actually make your allergies worse! Continue reading

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Cockroaches: The Forgotten Allergens

Posted by John on September 18th, 2008

Most allergy sufferers are familiar with dust mites, pollen, mold, but did you know that cockroaches also produce powerful allergens? Cockroach allergen is also a common cause of asthma attacks. The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American (AAFA) reports that 23 to 60 percent of urban residents with asthma are sensitive to cockroach allergen. In one study of inner city children, 23 percent were allergic to cats, 35 percent were allergic to dust mites, and 37 percent were allergic to cockroaches.

Cockroach allergens come from the feces, saliva, and bodies of the insects. Studies show that 78 to 98 percent of urban homes have cockroaches – and up to 330,000 roaches may live in a single home! If you see just one roach in a basement or kitchen, it’s safe to assume that at least 800 more roaches are hiding under sinks, in cabinets, and behind walls. Continue reading

Bathe Pets Weekly to Reduce Allergens

Posted by John on September 6th, 2008

The Tribune Star reports that bathing pets weekly will reduce allergens by 84 percent!

“Pet dander” refers to small flakes of skin, but allergens are also present in saliva and urine (which often dry on the skin or fur). Once dry, pet dander can become airborne and remain in the air for hours at a time. When inhaled, the allergen can produce a wide array of symptoms from sniffling to severe asthma attacks. Continue reading

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Enter Your Pet in the Bissell Pet Games Video Contest

Posted by John on September 3rd, 2008

Do you have a funny feline, comical canine, or humorous hamster? If your pet knows any unique tricks, submit a video to the Bissell Pet Games today!

Note: Your pet doesn’t have to be a star athlete like the dog above to win. Cuteness and humor score points, too! Viewers vote on new winners each week.

Bissell pet vacuumThe Grand Prize includes $10,000 plus a Bissell Lift-Off Revolution Pet vacuum. On top of that, your pet’s picture will also appear on the Lift-Off Revolution Pet Vacuum packaging – and the winning video will be featured on Continue reading

Airgle Air Purifier Review

Posted by John on August 31st, 2008

Airgle air purifiersI’ve been testing air purifiers for several years now, and most new brands are unimpressive. Airgle air purifiers, on the other hand, stand out as effective machines with novel features.

The most impressive fact about the Airgle 750 air purifier is that it received the highest possible Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) ratings from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). It works much better than most air purifiers because it has a 12-stage filtration process, including 4 pre-filters, 2 antimicrobial filters, 4 HEPA filters, and 2 activated carbon filters.

Don’t worry, though; you won’t have to replace all of those filters! Only the HEPA and carbon filters need to be replaced (about once a year). The other filters are washable. Continue reading

Allergies and Depression – Beyond Sneezes and Runny Noses

Posted by John on August 23rd, 2008

If you suffer from allergies, then you know that allergy symptoms go beyond the sneezes and sniffles. Allergies zap your energy and make you feel bad. They can even lead to clinical depression.

HEPA vacuumIn the past, I’ve had to move because of my cat allergies. I had an air purifier, allergy bedding, and HEPA vacuum – all the essentials of environmental control. But my roommate refused to keep her long-haired cats confined to one area of the apartment, so cat dander was everywhere – on the furniture, on my clothing, etc. I finally had to move, not necessarily because of the standard allergy symptoms like runny nose and itchy eyes, but because I simply felt so run-down all the time. My allergies were affecting my energy and my mood. After I moved, I felt much better in a matter of days.

People who don’t have allergies often don’t seem to understand their devastating effects on day-to-day life. In the past couple of years, however, researchers have found evidence that allergies do indeed affect brain chemistry. Continue reading

Rachel Carson’s Legacy – The Silent Spring Institute

Posted by John on August 22nd, 2008

Rachel CarsonI first learned of Rachel Carson’s work when I read her book Silent Spring in my high school biology class. The book, published in 1962, shed light on the toxic effects of pesticides on nature, especially birds. Silent Spring inspired many people to join the modern environmental movement. Rachel Carson died of breast cancer less than two years after the publication of Silent Spring.

The Silent Spring Institute was founded in 1993 to investigate links between environmental toxins and women’s health issues – breast cancer in particular.

The Richmond Times Dispatch recently published advice from the Silent Spring Institute about dealing with indoor air contamination.

“It ends up being part of your environment,” says Julia Brody, executive director of the Silent Spring Institute. “You end up breathing it, and it gets on your hands.” Continue reading

Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum Review

Posted by John on August 21st, 2008

Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum 5770If Austin Powers materialized from the movie screen and asked for a vacuum cleaner that wouldn’t destroy his shag carpet, I’d recommend the Bissell Healthy Home vacuum. This bagless vacuum lets you to turn off the brush roll while maintaining the powerful cyclonic suction, thus allowing you to vacuum shag carpet and other delicate materials that might otherwise get scratched or tangled in the brush. The brush also stops rolling when the vacuum is not moving forward, making the vacuuming experience remarkably quiet.

My first question about a vacuum cleaner, however, is always this: Does it effectively eliminate household allergens? The Bissell Healthy Home vac not only features eight cyclonic chambers to suck up allergens, but it also contains a HEPA filter within a sealed system. The HEPA filter eliminates 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size, and the sealed system ensures that no dirt or allergens get back into the air. Plus, it has built-in Microban antimicrobial protection to keep mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing inside the vacuum. Continue reading

California Bans Ozone Generator “Air Purifiers”

Posted by John on August 20th, 2008

At least one state has stepped up to defend consumers from false marketing claims that ozone generators are safe, effective air purifiers. In reality, ozone is a lung irritant, especially harmful to allergy and asthma sufferers. California is the first state in the nation to ban ozone generators.

The Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency states:

Not all air-cleaning devices are appropriate for home use — some can be harmful to human health. The ARB recommends that ozone generators, air cleaners that intentionally produce ozone, not be used in the home. Ozone is a gas that can cause health problems, including respiratory tract irritation and breathing difficulty.

Continue reading

HEPA Filters Make Healthy Hearts

Posted by John on August 19th, 2008

HEPA air reports that using a high efficiency particle air (HEPA) filter for just two days significantly improves cardiovascular health in elderly individuals.

Particulate matter in the air can lead to cardiovascular problems, possibly by damaging the endothelium (the interior lining of blood vessels). Continue reading