“ Brand: Miele / Type: Basic filter replacement for Miele cylinder vacuum cleaners / Suitable for: Models S227-S858, S4000 & S5000 „
When it comes to air filtration on vacuum cleaners, there's nothing worse than the dank smell that comes out of the dust bag, three quarters into its lifetime before it is replaced. You wonder where the smell comes from since the bag or bin is on view, looks reasonably sealed up and then realise the exhaust cover out the back or on top is where the smell comes from. Sometimes if you have a bagged vacuum and the filter has been ignored for a while, air fresheners only "quieten" down bag dust odour for a while before it comes back again when vacuuming later. Bagless vacuums similarly suffer even if a lot of models these days have a HEPA filter cartridge that really has to be replaced yearly or washed every so often as the vacuum cleaner powers up and fills the air with fresher air that goes in, but often accompanied by a stale smell as the filter on board has to cope with the dirt. During my short stint of household appliance repair, I can't begin to tell you the amount of Dyson and Vax bagless cyclones that reeked of Shake 'n' Vac when the owners should really have either washed the filters and left them to dry (most owners seem to think the heat and suction principle will dry the filters out, but this never happens) or replaced them with new ones. If you keep a vacuum going with a blocked filter, you're asking for trouble!
Miele vacuum cleaners have always been known to offer great engineering and quality, and most of their cylinder vacuums (and uprights) start off with the basic microfilter pleated style filter called "Super Air Clean." Miele have always been an expensive brand, and their higher priced vacuums feature higher grade filters that you can actually fit yourself without having to pay extra for the bonus of the higher priced vacuum - not that Miele will ever tell you this - especially in the U.S where our counterparts pay dearly for Miele vacuums, equivalent to £500 compared to U.K prices for the models alone.
As a filter, the "Super Air Clean," fabric pad works out to be the basic filter that is standard on most Miele vacuum cleaners and like their higher grade filters, is not washable, but it has a statistical longevity time of lasting for four bags - conveniently the amount of genuine branded dust bags you can buy from Miele that arrive in a box - until it needs to be replaced. Along with the box of four dust bags you'll find one free Super Air Clean filter to replace your old one plus another filter that goes in behind a lockable grate behind the dust bag. Unlike the Super Air Clean filter, the motor filter is washable but must be fully dried before it is put back in.
In terms of performance, the Super Air Clean filter is the most versatile filter out of all the three types that Miele sell but depending on how you maintain it, it can wear out its formula early on. The other two, Active Air Clean (Charcoal based) and HEPA (also Charcoal based) are suitable for smokers, pet owners and people with allergies to dust, and they both ensure that the odours from the bag don't come into contact with the outside air. Although the Super Air Clean is a much thinner filter by thickness and weight, it is the only filter type that can be used with air fresheners or scented sachet powders or DIY work since the other kinds of dust like saw dust can jam up the Charcoal fitted higher grade filter cartridges. I currently have a Yankee Candle Clean Cotton scented sachet powder in my Miele dust bag to filter the air of washing powder each time the vacuum is used. Otherwise, if a scented sachet is not used (or any air freshener), the air that my Miele pumps out is clean to my nose but not fresh due to whatever has been collected in the bag over a period of time. This is the compromise - if you want to custom build you air quality to the best or highest filtration possible - then you buy the Active Air Clean or HEPA filters (£9-95 and £12 to £14-95 respectively,) but then you can't use air fresheners to get a fragrance in, as it destroys the natural additive of charcoal in both higher priced and higher grade filters.
To keep the air sweet, the Super Air Clean is the more versatile filter despite not putting out continuous, reliant fresher air and there are ways to combat this aspect simply by adding baking powder/bicarbonate of soda. I find a tablespoon of bicarbonate powder keeps the smell of pet hair down, especially if you have two or more dogs to contend with. Don't put any more than a tablespoon's measure in, as baking powder is a fine consistency and can block the pores of the dust bag, therefore taking up too much of the bag's capacity and you'll find that you'll have to empty the bag well before it is clearly needing to be emptied. You can usually judge the bag either by the mechanical bag indicator on board or by the lightweight feel to it and the lack of suction coming from the hose or mouth of the cleaner, if the hose is removed and you switch on your Miele.
Measuring 19cm length by 8.5cm approximately, the Super Air Clean filter is quite easy to replace and out of the two filters in the box of bags you'll receive, the Super Air Clean should never be cut, even if part of it sticks out in the filter grid of the Miele vacuum. The only rule that this doesn't apply is to the cylinder vacuums S240/S250 and S260 where cut lines are shown so that the filter fits the smaller grate. Both the S7210 upright vacuum and S2 or S4 cylinder vacuums can use the Super Air Clean (the filter actually fits the entire Miele range of cylinder and uprights from models S200 to S899, S2000 to S5999 and S7000 to S7999 excluding their Alternative S140 stick vacuums) filter and slides in using the plastic grate/grille that comes equipped with the vacuum. If you have a higher priced vacuum, the basic grille would have been equipped at the time of purchase. Lift the grate up, slide the filter in and close the grate until it click locks. Simples! If your Miele has the higher-grade filters, these fit at the top of Miele as normal but no additional grate is needed since they have their own built into the design already.
Unbelievably however, the price of the actual box replacement for Super Air Clean (SF-SAC 20/30) is around £9-95 to £11-95 and you only get three filters. It is quite an expense given that you could buy the Active Air Clean filter cartridge at the same price. Miele should rethink the cost here and make these filters cheaper to buy; particularly on the basis that most owners buy the Genuine dust bags anyway and get a free filter to last the duration of the bags you get.
Lastly, this brings me onto using cheaper wear non-branded parts. I have tried cheaper filters in the past but realise through performance that the inferior filters that look and feel like Super Air Clean are no better than wasting money. They may well be cheaper at cost, but they do more damage to the machine since they don't lock in the motor carbon dust and emissions that come out of the exhaust are more apparent than Super Air Clean types that suppress them. When the filter needs to be replaced, you can usually tell because both sides including the top front where the branding name is will be totally black in colour on both sides. Plus if you go by your nose, you can usually tell!
If you don't have a household that has pets or smokers and you don't have an allergy, then cost effectively, the Super Air Clean filter is worth the money. The replacement box however needs to drop in price to make it a true, worthy bargain and include four filters instead of a paltry three to keep owners going. A handy component to have that is essential to maintain the workings of a Miele vacuum cleaner, the Super Air Clean filter is worth seeking out, even if you do get one in a free box of Miele genuine dust bags, it is also worth keeping more on hand when dealing with different applications of general dust pick up per need. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2011
Short name: Miele SF-SAC 20/30