“ Brand: Miele / Type: Crevice Tool - Flexible nozzle „
If there is one brand that caters for owners well, it's the German company Miele. For many years owners of their vacuum cleaners have been able to buy optional tools for a myriad of extra cleaning tasks that allow more versatile use of their cylinder vacuums and more recently their new in-house designed large upright vacuum, the S7 range. Although smaller company SEBO offer a compact range of kits and tools, it is Miele who were one of the first brands to offer extra tools well before Dyson and as a result the German company have a few tricks to offer to extend the cleaning versatilities of their vacuums when extra cleaning is required.
Quite why it has taken Miele so long to produce a long flexible crevice tool is unclear. Dyson, despite being the newer brand over the Germans were one of the few companies to offer a long bendy crevice pipe that you can get into corners with, go around household appliances and such like. I was intrigued to buy it since getting my mum's kitchen measured up for a couple of new units and realized the existing units would have to be moved out of the way and cleaned enough for the designer and architect to measure up the kitchen. I also liked the idea of a flexible crevice tool that can more or less go around corners rather than trying to fight with a hose and handle which takes up too much time and can prove stressful when a bending plastic tube would be more ideal compared to conventional plastic tools that aren't as flexible.
Help comes to hand in the form of the Flexible Crevice Nozzle (SFD 20) that simply fits onto the existing handle of any Miele vacuum cleaner or even the long telescopic height adjustable suction tube at the end where the floor head is usually locked onto. Made of thick PVC black plastic, there are three parts to this rather rectangular prism design. The top part, which is the crevice part, is stubby and short, sliding onto the straight plastic length before the tube connection part which has "Miele" embossed in small letters, all of which slide in to fit flush. It's important to know all this if there's a clog in the system or if dust gets stuck! Put all three together and you have a rather long crevice pipe at 56cm. The only downside to this tool is that due to its length it would be completely impossible to store it on any existing tool storer that your Miele vacuum may have and the top two sections that slide onto the handle connector will not slide down or fit any other tools such as the existing short crevice tool that Miele equip with all their vacuums. This would make the tool a bit more practical using the existing crevice tool supplied with the vacuum rather than having another crevice tool which is only purposefully made for the extra flexible bendy part. The Miele Flexible Crevice tool is priced at £13-99 including VAT direct from Miele UK, which is a good price to consider what this tool can actually do.
In terms of weight, the Flexible Crevice weighs approximately 160 grams on its own which isn't too bad for lightweightness. That's an important aspect to know because rather than doing behind the kitchen units as the first test, I was curious to see what would happen if I went to go and clear behind my large Armoire which is on four large feet and impossible to move on carpet without tearing the surface and would need two people to move the wardrobe out of the way. The bag in my Miele S4 at the time was brand new but I didn't take any notice of the orange bag indicator steadily growing bigger in the view window when the Flexible Crevice got to work. I could certainly hear things being picked up through the Flexible Crevice and found it incredibly easy to just stand there with the handle in my hand and the extension pipe locked on with the tool at the end, ever so slightly moving the handle up and down to the side of the wall as the crevice tool bent around corners picking up dust between the wall and the back of the Armoire.
Next the biggest bugbears in my home are ankle high metal grid heaters with permanent flaps built in at the top. These are positioned wall to wall in every room, including the hall way and are often a hideaway for spiders, dust and in recent years flying ants that managed to come through several gaps in the plaster work. Not a problem for the 'Flexi and no need to bend much when you have the handle of the vacuum at waist level and the telescopic pipe underneath with 'Flexi on the end. Moving slowly at heel, the plastic bends so very easily and can almost bend over itself, making a very pliable contortion by itself instead of the owner if this kind of tool was not available! Put simply, the 'Flexi is very able to do the work that your back will thank you for. After all if you weigh up 30 minutes compared to 2 hours of having to bend down to the floor, get on my knees, shift the short crevice tool along square by square, probably hurting my back in the process and probably collapse in a heap afterwards - which would you choose? The dust bag on board when the Flexible Crevice was fitted filled up to about three quarters packed with dust that the tool had done all on its own! That alone is pretty impressive that the tool does actually pick up.
Put simply if you need to get into corners of things to clean behind, where a conventional short crevice tool proves to be too short, the 'Flexi is worth the extra cost. Getting under the glass TV cabinet for example is a breath of fresh air since the tool can bend around the round castor mounts, slide under low furniture fittings and cleaning behind the cables without much of the owner's effort. When made to clean behind the kitchen units that had to be moved out of the way by a couple of inches from the wall, 'Flexi was used to clean the dust and scum built up from an 8 year period. The crevice part at the top is intentionally narrow and here, it seems to pick up coins well without being passed down the rectangular bendy plastic tube. I made £2-84 cleaning behind the kitchen units and wondered how much I'd stand to win cleaning underneath the sofa..!
In other cleaning areas the Miele tool is also extremely rewarding in use when cleaning out the car. When getting under the car seats for example, whilst only "angling" the handle now and then to shift the large crevice pipe along, the tool saves time picking up dust that can be really awkward to get at. Car seats are sometimes notorious for not going backwards or forwards enough to clean under. Yet the 'Flexi is able to go the extra distance without having to bend down or reaching upwards due to the extended length.
There are however a few downsides to this tool, not just alienating any owner who doesn't have a Miele vacuum cleaner and it is slightly disappointing from a company who pride themselves in making and producing quality tools and appliances. When using to get behind painted radiators, the flat part of the crevice tool where it is at its most pliable gets scratches by the second the rubber pipe brushes past metal or awkward sharp corners. The scratches are a mix of paint and obviously where the plastic is rubbing when it is trying to get into the desired spot. Whilst paint and stains are easy to remove from 'Flexi, scratches are painfully obvious and Miele haven't been as protective as they could be with this kind of tool.
I got a surprise cleaning out our Hotpoint tumble dryer too. Once the filter is taken out of the tumble dryer there's a width of around 3cm whereupon sliding 'Flexi down should have been no problem at all since it only has a 1cm width. However, 'Flexi got stuck to the point that when I abruptly pulled the tool out, the top came off and lodged itself inside the part where the lint filter is supposed to sit in! Simply sucking it back out was no problem but then I realized that whilst the tool is genuinely well made, its width can sometimes backfire on itself. This is where SEBO's long crevice tool supplied with their vacuums has no problem since it has a thinner than a centimetre width and with the SEBO pipe, I won an extra £1 wedged at the bottom of the filter holder underneath the lint part. This is where the three parts of the Flexible Crevice has a bit of a downside. Although for the most part the tool is well designed and extremely pliable, the top part can get stuck in those awkward crannies and as a result gentle care is needed whenever this tool is used - otherwise the top part can come off if abused and get stuck.
That aside, the Miele Flexible Crevice tool (SFD20) is well designed, fit for most purposes and very easy to use bending very easily without having to manually fight with a shorter crevice pipe or have to continually turn it around whilst cleaning with a conventional hard crevice tool. It's a must for people who own a Miele vacuum and need to get into restricted areas - without putting their back out or wasting their time! Well recommended! And if you don't have a Miele vacuum cleaner, isn't it about time you did? Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010
Short name: Miele SFD20