Many, many years ago, I moved into an apartment where the previous tenant had been a middle-aged German woman. Everything was spotless. The coils on the back of the fridge were clean. The closet that housed the water heater was clean. The rug squeaked when you walked across it. The walls had been scrubbed. The tiny galley kitchen, off of which the back door opened, was so clean that I didn't waste any time wiping things down when I moved in.
Germans have a longstanding bad attitude about dirt, and now I now why.
Product Review: Miele Neptune
So I bought a vacuum.
A five-hundred dollar vacuum.
Sainted Father is slapping his thigh right now and making a noise of utter disbelief. Beloved Mother is raising one eyebrow skeptically. Beloved Sister is going "Nnnnggg" with envy. The Brother In Beer is wondering if I've ever vacuumed before in my life.
I bought a Miele Neptune after reading thousands--and I mean literally thousands; it took me weeks--of reviews online and finding very few negative ones. The negative reviews I found had to do with things like the length of the power cord and how easy it is to reduce the suction if you're clumsy and hit the suction-reduction button by mistake. Every model of Dyson I read about, by contrast, had volumes of bitching about noise, reduced suction, bits breaking off, things catching fire (!!!), and attachments not fitting correctly.
The Neptune arrived today. It is compact (about twelve by twenty inches), light (about six pounds) powerful (watch out for jewelry on the floor!), and quiet. Max, who gets nervous about noise of any sort, raised his head when I turned it on, glanced at the machine, and laid his head back on his paws and went back to sleep. The kittens had to be physically removed from the area; they were playing with the parquet head.
First I vacuumed the bare floors and wondered why the old vacuum/dust mop/Swiffer combination hadn't picked up all the dirt. The floors shine like they've been waxed, now. Then I moved on to the big jute rug in the living room, and wondered again what the old vacuum had been doing. After that I vacuumed all the walls and the ceilings and the top of the refrigerator and the bookshelves and a pleated fabric lampshade that I thought was cream-colored but, on vacuuming, turns out to be white. Then I vacuumed the top of the fridge, the bathroom floor, the utility room (aieee!), and the woodwork.
The entire time, the animals were totally unmoved. I heard a text-message alert come on my phone, and listened to NPR without having to turn up the volume.
If I could vacuum myself without injury, I would. I think I would be clean enough to perform surgery without a preliminary scrub.
Drawbacks, if they can be called that, include the fact that if you're trying to pull the vacuum over a rug and around a corner simultaneously, it will tip over and turn itself on. Also, the cord is only about ten feet long. My house is a whopping 900 square feet, not including the utility/everything room, so that isn't a problem. The instructions that come with the machine are Germanic in the extreme, so you might want a couple of slugs of good liquor before you read them. The Miele cannot be used on animals or in wet environments. It also probably should not be used under water or in zero gravity, though it'd probably work in that last. And the suction control on the wand is easy to open by mistake, but only if you're as clumsy as I am.
Verdict: Save up. Spend five clams on a vacuum. Within fifteen minutes I knew this was the best five bills I'd ever spent on anything.