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Was it that long ago when linoleum, with a few rugs scattered around, was the fashionable covering for the average household floor? When vacuum cleaners were a luxury few could afford, or even need.
In my early childhood days, the only carpet in our house was on the stairs.
In those days, rugs were taken outside, shook and beaten and the linoleum swept and waxed.
The stairs however, were the most difficult to clean without causing a mighty dust storm as they were swept with a stiff hand-brush; any dirt that wasn't airborne was caught in our throats and a dustpan. The rest settled onto the furniture - another chore!
Apart from drying dishes, brushing down the stairs was one of my pet hates when it came to helping mum with the housework, my sister and I took it in turns to complete this task, and I can still hear the arguments now.
"Muuuuum...It's not fair....I did it yesterday, it's her turn..."
"No she DIDN'T, I did, cough, cough....and anyway I dried the dishes when it was her turn..."
Now if the little Dirt Devil vacuum had be in existence then, the argument might have been so different.
"It's my turn to do the stairs today.."
"No it's not. It's MY turn, you did them yesterday..."
Even when vacuum cleaners became common household appliances, I still wrestled with the task of cleaning the stairs. Hoisting heavy vacuum cleaners up each step, stretching hoses to almost breaking point, but I never felt that the stairs were as clean as when swept with a stiff hand-brush
It must be nearly twenty years ago since I discovered the Handy Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner; a small, motorised cleaner with a bag at the rear to collect dust. It was ideal for cleaning the stairs and despite its weekly use, is still in excellent working order.
~~~~THE HANDY DIRT DEVIL~~~~~
This nifty little machine, made in the USA, can best be described as a miniaturized vacuum cleaner designed; I am sure, with stair carpets in mind.
There can be no simpler vacuum on the market than the Handy Dirt Devil. A hand held, bagged, electrically powered vacuum cleaner, with rotating brushes, as in conventional uprights, which is just the right size and weight for cleaning stair carpets, the nozzle width being slightly less than that of an average stair tread.
Now when we are thinking in terms of carbon footprints and economy, the Handy Dirt Devil, with its 180-Watt motor, must be one of the most economical of all efficient cleaners. (apart from the hand-brush)
~~~~APPEARANCE AND DIMENSIONS~~~~~
The 180-Watt motor is housed in a strong, red plastic casing, the girth of which is about 42cm. This drives the brush, connected to the motor shaft with a rubber belt, and pulls dust through the flat nozzle, into the bag. The On/Off switch is located on the front of the curved handle, rising from the top of the casing. Attached to the rear of the casing is a red, washable cloth bag, held firmly in place with a removable, rubber sealing ring.
When the vacuum is in use, the bag inflates and dust is drawn into the bag. When not in use, the bag deflates, making the whole unit smaller and readily stowed away in a cupboard.
The weight of the complete unit is a mere 1kilogram
The total length when bag inflated is 36cm
The nozzle width is 16cm (a stair tread width is approximately 23cm.)
The length of the motor casing is 8cm
The length of electrical lead is a whopping 6 meters.
Although not used on a daily basis, more like once a week, the little machine is still going well after almost twenty years of regular use. A spare belt came with the Dirt Devil and a belt lifter tool. The strong cloth bag is easy to remove, empty and is washable, though admit, I have only ever washed it twice.
It is possible to purchase paper bags to insert into the cloth ones, but I have not bothered with that feature, or the purchase of accessories such as a shoulder strap, regular attachments for furniture cleaning or mini attachments for the cleaning of audio equipment and computers.
I am not sure of the cost of the machine, and have not seen any in shops or catalogues of late, so am wondering if they are still in production. It would be a great shame if they are no longer available in this form, for I really do not think any modification would improve the efficiency, longevity and economy, or ease of use and storage of this model. Strangely though, one can still buy spares for this cleaner - speaks volumes for the durability of this little machine and the reluctance of owners to replace them with newer models. I wish they still made this model. I would buy another as a spare for when this one eventually retires.
2013: Update: This little vacuum cleaner is still going strong.
I've owned this Dirt devil for a couple years now and it has been well used and still going strong. I didn't buy it myself but had it from my Grand mother when she moved into a care home.
Being a mum and housewife the hoover is in use most days and having a young son and male (no offence) in the house means the home doesn't stay clean for long.
This dirt devil makes life a little bit easier as it can be used to just clean up a small area if needed rather then get the big hoover out.
I prefer to use this on the stairs as it is so much easier and safer then the big hoover. The very long cord on this Dirt devil means I can plug it in and go all upstairs and do upstairs landing without having to unplug.
It isn't totally lightweight but I wouldn't go as far as say it is heavy either. When finished with I wrap the cord around it and pop it away out of sight.
The sucking up part has rotating brush in it which does occasionally need cleaning off especially if people leave long hairs around.
At the front of the handle is the simple black on off switch.
The bag part at the back as shown in picture is a thick material bag. Now you can get bags to fit inside this but I must admit to never bothering as the material doesn't let the dust get through so when I need to empty it I simply empty the material bag into the rubbish. I have washed it before now to give it an extra clean. I see no reason why I should use an extra bag inside it when not really essential.
The suction is quite powerful on this too so does a good job.5
The bag is secured onto the devil with a thick rubber band which holds it onto the devil.
This little Devil is a bit loud but I've learnt sounds things can be noisy (mainly kids lol). My Dad has an upright hoover dirt devil and that is very noisy to use.
If you've been considering purchasing one if these then it is definitely going to make life that little bit easier for you.
I've given this 5 stars as have no disadvantages what so ever.
Lightweight with a motorised, revolving brush for more effective cleaning / Short name: Dirt Devil DD150