In my career as a home living consultant, I often counsel clients to make sure that whatever choices they’re making in home decor and renovation are livable. So, what I mean by that is, every piece of upholstery or fabric you’re using for curtains and trim should be easy to wash, or it will just end up dusty and musty. The same is true of wood, whether we’re looking at paneling options or cabinetry. Remember: your look is only as good as your ability to keep it clean and fresh-looking. That’s a challenge especially to clients who have pets, because pet hair can have a drastic and constant effect on classy furnishings.
It can seem like one of the most mundane parts of my job from the outside, but helping people change up certain elements of their home routine to help them keep their classy house looking good and lasting well is actually one of the most fun parts of my job. Whether it’s teaching people about how humidity can warp bathroom wallpaper and woods, or making sure clients know how to clean nice upholstery without fraying or scuffing it, this is the part where I get to send my furnishing choices out into the world, so I want to make sure they have everything they need to stay beautiful!
The key to any successful home decor long-term, especially when you have pets, is obviously a good vacuum. As a decorator and as a homeowner myself, I hate cheap vacuums. I really do. I have something of a vendetta against them because they frustrate me and undermine my work. The Sharks and Hoover of the world are a plague on nice furnishings. They can’t actually take dust up from deep carpets, they eat up nice fabrics without any care, and they scuff up woodwork like nobody’s business. Ugh.
You have to think of your vacuum as the curator in an art gallery or a museum. It has to be able to keep things looking their best, and also preserve them while they’re on display. So, you need a vacuum that is powerful enough to clean pet hair, dust, and dirt off your nice floors and furnishings, with the delicacy and finesse to leave your furnishings intact as you go. Those are the best vacuums for pet hair: it’s really just a matter of finding them.
I got excited about Dyson when they first became popular, because I had several friends who used them, and raved about all the suction power. I bought my first one, a Dyson Ball, and I have to say, I was totally disappointed. That thing had power, but you couldn’t adjust it at all, so while it was fine on flat flooring, it jammed up on carpet weave, and it only took me one pass on a Persian rug to know that it would never be happening again. The other thing about the Dyson was that for all I paid for the damn thing, it was still incredibly cheaply built. One part of making a living in furnishings and design is that I abhor plastic, especially cheap plastic. Every single part on the Dyson was plastic, and I knew the wheels and the brushes would scratch up my hardwoods and panelling in no time. Out it went. I was determined not to be fooled by marketing in my next vacuum purchase, so I spent a great deal of time doing research online and asking my network of fellow consultants about their machines.
In the end, I finally discovered Miele, who I think are just a fabulous brand overall. I’ve fallen completely in love with their vacuums, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never be going back. They’re all made in Germany, they’re really high-quality, and definitely the most versatile and well thought-out vacuums I’ve ever used. I also discovered that they make a range of appliances that I’m eager to try next time I’m redesigning a kitchen. If they’re anything like as good as the vacuums, I’ll be more than satisfied.
So, my vacuum: it’s a Miele C3 Calima, one of their nicest canisters (though I’m told that even the baseline versions have all the important features). I went for the top of the range because this one has HEPA filtration (super important when you have kitties!) and a noise seal, which makes it the most quiet vacuum I’ve used so far in my life. It’s just a gentle whoosh, but it cleans incredibly well. Mine has two floor heads, a motor brush and a parquet floor brush, and the cutest yellow canister made from auto-body plastic, which is worlds apart from the Dyson class. The canister also has some upgrades for the C3 class, which includes a rubber bumper that I definitely recommend for protecting wainscoting and low paneling when the canister bumps against your walls.
It’s an incredibly powerful vacuum, too. They don’t market their suction nearly as heavily as Dyson, but I would say that the Miele is at least as powerful. The biggest difference is the fact that you can adjust the suction, so you’re not constantly getting bogged down or tearing up textiles. The adjustable suction levels on Miele’s are by far the best part in my estimation, especially where preserving your furnishings is concerned. Being able to turn down suction saves so, so much trouble when you’re cleaning your nicer rugs and throws, as well as curtains. There’s even a “curtains” setting on the vacuum, that’s how great it is.
As far as being safe on furnishings these are definitely the best vacuums I’ve ever used. They have natural bristles instead of scratchy nylon, rubber wheels, and bumpers to protect hardwoods, and I generally think they’ve been designed by people who really are concerned about the objects and surfaces they’re going to be using the vacuum to clean. The upholstery tool is fantastic as well, and does a great job on fur.
Oh, and one last thing: the bags. Miele have self-sealing bags that are a filter and a dust bag in one, so you simply pull them out and put a new one in–no spillage, no stray hairs, just cleaning bliss. They’ve really made my life easier, and I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews from clients who have taken my advice.
So, I definitely recommend Miele’s to you, and I know they have a whole range of different models for different homes. I actually have their stick vacuum in my second flat, and I really love it, even though I wouldn’t use it in a larger house (just because canisters make it easier to cover a wide area). It’s absurdly powerful for a stick vacuum and the floor attachment has the same natural bristles and a rubber roller instead of wheels, which is so great for hardwoods that need protection for the finish. There are a whole bunch of canisters, too, as well as uprights for my all-carpet fans! Definitely check them out online if you’re curious or dealing with a frustrating vacuum. I’ve generally found the reviews on petallergyvacuum.guide helpful, aside from the Dyson, which was one of their top picks and turned out to be a dud. I’m curious to see what they make of the Miele’s when they get around to reviewing them. I definitely think the Calima should be at the top of any rankings, even though it’s a bit pricey.