* Prices may differ from that shown
Charlie Cocoa was one of the things I inherited when I married hubby. It was a coffee coloured vacuum cleaner, later named Charlie Cocoa by our first child who was scared of it as a toddler. Charlie Cocoa was made by Miele and led a very adventurous life surviving a complete house renovation, a memorable outing to a 'never been cleaned ever before' house and clearing up after the trails of 4 children and 2 adults. In a final departure in a literal bang and a puff of smoke aged around 15 years, a new Miele was definitely going to replace it.
Having been suitable impressed by the now ancient Miele model, there were a variety of Miele vacuum cleaners to choose from including ones suitable for pet owners. We do not have any dogs or cats in the house so opted for the powerful Hepa Solution TT 2000 (model S718) which comes in a lovely shade of royal blue.
Miele describe this vacuum cleaner as sledge shaped. I've never heard it described as this before and it immediately makes me want to sit astride it and slide down the stairs, but sensibilities prevail (and I know someone who damaged her knees doing something similar and the resulting pain). The sledge shaped body is compact with three smooth castors (with 360° rotation) on the base for easy drag along manoeuvrability. The top of the body is slightly chunkier towards the back, smoothly curved towards the front. It stands on the flat upright back when not in use.
The hose attaches to the front part of the upper body with an easy squeezy clip in case you should need to remove to check for a blockage. The hose is a bendy, flexi tube approximately 2m in length.
The main attachment for this cleaner is the telescopic turbo brush. This consists of a metal tube and a swivel headed turbo brush head. A noticeable improvement from our old Miele model is the ease at which the telescopic tube can be extended. A small button on the back of the tube is pressed and you can pull the tube to any position which suits your height. Releasing the button locks the tube into its new position.
It is also ridiculously easy to attach or detach the telescopic tube. Quickly depress a button near the connection and off it comes.
The main turbo head is around 20cm wide and has a drop down brush for use on smooth floors. This is easily switched by the use of a large press down button which you can do with your foot.
Neatly stored in the body of the sledge are three extra attachments; a dusting brush, upholstery nozzle and crevice nozzle. A black button needs to be depressed to open the compartment where these are found. Each piece has its own shaped storage place so it is obvious where each piece fits. I occasionally use each of these and they are very easy to attach to the bendy tube.
This Miele also comes with an additional hard floor brush intended for use with wooden and other hard floor surfaces. However, the main turbo head with brushes down seems to work equally well on the Amtico and wooden floors in our attic, which saves having to carry the extra brush around.
The great thing about the Miele Solution is that you don't need a manual at all. Everything is obvious. Clear symbols on the body enable you to select the desired sucking power. The options are 300W, 600W, 900W, 1300W, 1600W and 2000W. There are even symbols next to the wattage powers to show you which is best to choose. For example, if you wish to vacuum your curtains (do people seriously do this??), choose the 300W option or for woven carpets go for the full power of 2000W. Contrast this to an upright vacuum; I can never quite work out how to get the upright part into a moveable position. Trying to vacuum with an upright 90º vacuum that you can't click into the moveable position is one of my absolute pet hates. Maybe that's just me. I also find uprights heavy to carry upstairs, awkward to get into corners with and they give me backache. The Miele fares well on all these points. Our house is on three floors but as long as the bag is not full to bursting, I find this easily manageable to carry around and I am only a slim domestic goddess (believe that if you will).
There is a clear on / off switch which you can operate with your foot to save bending down. There is also a clearly marked cable retract switch. Be careful here as the 10m cable rewinds at such a speed it could really whip your legs if they get in the way. It really hurts.
Using this vacuum is a breeze. It's like having a little dog at your feet as you move around, the free wheeling balls on the cleaner trot along with you. The suction power at full 2000W is amazing as long as the bag is not full in which case you will notice that nothing much is happening. My only criticism of this cleaner is that the bags are a little smaller than the older Miele models but I still only replace ours every few weeks. Each bag holds just over a gallon capacity (4 litres) and a box of five bags (with spare filters) costs around £7. If you have new fluffy carpets you may find the bags fill up very quickly.
The suction is very powerful and will attempt to suck up anything in its path. Socks, bags, cushions, stray undies, pens and marbles. It is best not vacuum with your eyes glued to the TV or you're bound to suck something up you shouldn't. If you wish to reduce the suction, you can choose a lower power setting or open the air flow (located on the plastic section of the hose).
If you do suck up an object and it blocks the pipe or goes into the bag, then you will need to turn it off and open the sledge body by lifting up the black ridge near the handle. This will give you access to the dust bag. If the tube seems blocked, you can take off the telescopic tube, head or hose and usually the offending blockage can be easily removed.
The Miele Solution is very quiet for such a powerful vacuum cleaner and is easily portable with a built in carrying handle. The hose attachment clips magnetically to the side of the sledge so that you don't need both hands to carry it upstairs. The HEPA filters help filter tiny particles which makes it particularly beneficial for allergy sufferers.
Just as an aside, I note here that our local radio station did a poll which revealed that 26% of people do their housework naked. Seems quite an unbelievable figure to me, but I have to admit having a go at the hoovering in the buff, just for a laugh. Hope the nosy neighbours weren't in eyeshot, we do have huge windows.
In conclusion, I think the Miele Solution is fantastic. I'm not someone who vacuums the house on a daily basis for something to do. Rather I vacuum when it visibly needs it because I love to hear the clink clink of bits disappearing into the sledge and it feels amuch more satisfying job. Sometimes this means I have to do the entire house in one go and as this gets to be quite a job I can find myself at it for hours. The Miele even has a thermal cut off should I get a little over enthusiastic though. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence as there is usually something else more interesting to be done. The Solution is an efficient sucker and easy to use. Miele say they have a lifetime of twenty years which I think is excellent value for a £200 vacuum cleaner which works so well. Highly recommended. Right I'm off to vacuum the curtains, and if you believe that you're a bigger sucker than this vacuum cleaner.
Thanks for reading.
Short name: Miele S718