From around May to August each year, poor Flea suffers horribly with allergies – she has hay fever and also reacts to various detergents, plants and chemicals with a range of rashes, runny eyes and sneezes.
She’s not alone. From childhood I’ve had a range of allergies to dust, animals, blankets and a lot of detergents, which cause asthma and eczema.
So I was pretty pleased to be given the opportunity to review a range of allergy-friendly cleaning products from Philips, including the handheld FC6232 Dust Mite Cleaner.
At a shade more than £200, this is a bit more expensive than your regular handheld vacuum so I was interested to see what it would do above and beyond our current cleaners.
Straight out of the box, you’ll notice the striking design of the Dust Mite cleaner, and it’s heft – at a little over 2.2kg, this is a bit heavier than you might be used to with a handheld device. It’s designed mostly for cleaning soft furnishings rather than floors, so families that want to control allergies could use this on sofas, chairs, curtains, beds and similar.
Secondly, unlike most handheld vacuum cleaners, this one is corded, meaning you’ll need to be plugged in. There’s a cord which was plenty long enough for our needs, and the bonus of being a wired device is that the Dust Mite Cleaner is a bit more powerful than some of its competitors, with a 450w motor. It’s loud, but not unusually so.
As for its allergy-friendly credentials, the Dust Mite cleaner has a number of features designed for allergy sufferers including an EPA filter which captures 99 percent of dust mites and three vibrating ‘paddles’ on the base which effectively beat dust out of your mattress, cushion or sofa so it can be sucked up by the vacuum.
We found the vacuum side perfectly effective, and it’s interesting to see how much additional dirt you can suck up from a sofa if you clean it, then use the little feet, then vacuum again. I suspect this does not reflect well on my remembering to beat the cushions myself when I’m cleaning, isn’t it?
The Dust Mite Cleaner also comes equipped with a UV light on the base of the device, which apparently helps you to see more dirt and nasties. I’ve watched enough episodes of CSI in my day that my inner crime fighting superhero is quite excited by this possibility, but unfortunately, the UV light on our unit didn’t work.
Now, I don’t mind admitting it’s entirely possible that the light DID work, and we just didn’t know how to use it – the biggest downside of this appliance is that it doesn’t come with any instructions beyond a few basic pictures, so it’s a case of turning it on, pressing buttons and seeing what happens. We kept trying to see if the light was on then scaring ourselves because there’s a big warning NOT TO LOOK AT THE LIGHT SOURCE, and what if it turned on while we were looking right at it?
Actually, the light has a safety sensor and it automatically turns off when it’s more than 5cm away from the surface you’re cleaning.
In the main, the lack of instructions isn’t a big problem. The Philips Dust Mite Cleaner is simple enough that my usual ‘turn it on and see what happens’ approach works perfectly well – there’s an on/off button (which is easy to press accidentally when you’re holding the machine) and a second ‘mode’ button which allows you to activate the vacuum, the paddle feet and the UV light. It might be worth a note on the box to say the machine will cut out after 30 minutes’ use to cool down, as at first I thought we’d killed the machine, until Google put my mind at ease. The dust filter simply lifts out, and we were sent a spare filter and a brush for cleaning, in the box.
We filmed a short video demonstrating the Philips Mite Cleaner in action, if you’d like to check it out:
Overall, my feeling is that this is a decent handheld vacuum – it’s powerful and simple to use (assuming the light works). I’d be inclined to use it for mattresses and furnishings, where I want to be extra sure I’m collecting all the dust and allergens that I can. The lack of UV light didn’t particularly affect performance for us, although I’m not sure how many more mites might have been killed in the name of this review if it had worked…
Disclosure: We received a sample Philips Handheld Dust Mite Cleaner for the purposes of this review.