# Oreck Halo - UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

1. Aug 29, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
http://www.oreck.com/upright-vacuum-cleaners/oreck_halo.cfm

With a typical UV exposure time of probably less than a second, does this make sense? In the video below, they make the argument that after six passes, we see signficaint reductions in bacteria levels. So I guess one could consider it more of a separate treatment, rather than a companion technology to standard vacuuming.

2. Aug 29, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Oreck UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

I does seem that the claim that you can "just vacuum as you normally would, and the Oreck Halo vacuum cleaner kills and reduces microorganisms without any extra effort or harsh chemicals", is misleading. Their own video shows that vacuuming as you normally would does not reduce bacterial levels significantly. If you only vacuum once a week, I don't see how the sterilizing effect would be accumulative over six cleanings. You would have to vacuum six times the same day.

3. Aug 29, 2009

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Re: Oreck UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

This is clearly aimed at the germ-phobes. Of course there are germs on floors and surfaces. They are ambient in the atmosphere. That's a standard demo in microbiology courses to swab the floor, shoes, table tops (even the lab benches that get sprayed down with alcohol several times a day) and see all the bacteria and fungus that grows.

Would UV kill bacteria on the floors? Sure, but I'm not sure that I trust the claims of how much bacteria it kills. In labs, UV lights are used to kill bacteria in biosafety cabinets and laminar flow hoods designed for working with microorganisms. Generally, to kill sufficient numbers of bacteria to avoid contamination of whatever you're working with, you need to leave the UV light on for 15 to 20 minutes.

It would kill some bacteria on hardwood or tile floors with a few passes, but on carpet, it would only kill the surface bacteria exposed to light, not those down in the pile that the light doesn't reach. And, then you have to ask, "for how long?" So, you leave behind the 20% of bacteria that are the hardest to kill, and then they continue growing and reproducing, or someone else walks in from outside with dirty shoes.

It's one of those things where it might, under completely ideal conditions, do what is claimed, but is that in any way meaningful, important or necessary? No.

The thing that mostly concerns me is having that UV light exposed under the vacuum. The same reasons that UV-C is effective at being germicidal are the reasons it also causes skin cancer and damage to the retina. This seems like a pretty unnecessary exposure risk for an awfully limited potential benefit.

4. Aug 29, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Oreck UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

Thanks Moonbear. I was hoping you would chime in. [Moonbear is one of our resident Ph.D. Biologists]

What about flea eggs? That is probably what interests me the most, as I'm sure you can appreciate.

5. Aug 29, 2009

### mgb_phys

Re: Oreck UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

Apparently just a normal vacuum is very effective http://www.physorg.com/news117115195.html

6. Aug 29, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Oreck UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

That may explain why we never seem to have a serious flee problem. We used to treat with poisons, but I stopped that some time ago and we haven't had any issues. I just assumed that it was cyclical and eventually we would have a few bad years. Note that we live on rural property with cats coming and going constantly.

7. Aug 30, 2009

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Re: Oreck UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

I don't know if UV light would kill flea eggs. Maybe some, but you might also wind up with a bunch of mutant fleas. Nope, haven't a clue on something that big.

Some of the newer generation topical treatments for cats do a pretty good job of killing flea eggs, though (the ones you apply to the skin between the shoulders once a month during flea season). The one that comes to mind is Revolution. I'm pretty sure that's the one that kills fleas before they bite (by coating the hairs) and also kills eggs carried around on the cats before they hatch. I know that worked for my parents' dog too; they visited me a couple years ago with a flea-infested dog, and they had tried several other treatments already with no luck, so I brought home some free samples I got at work, and they finally got rid of the fleas.

I'd have to re-read about the different flea treatments again...Frontline might work similarly to Revolution. I think the other brands all required that the fleas bite before they die. But, Ember hasn't had any fleas since she was a kitten (the ones she brought home with her from the farm, and then I think a few the former neighbor's dog donated), so I haven't needed them to keep up on what the different brands are currently offering.

8. Aug 31, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Oreck UV [germ-killing] vacuum cleaner

I find all of the vacuum cleaner gimmicks to be quite amusing. I actually did time [yes, like prison] in a vacuum cleaner store while in college. It is really quite a racket. We used to get complaints about door-to-door salesmen working the area. While we had nothing to do with that, the stories about abusive salesman were amazing. I will never forget one call from an elderly lady who started chewing me up one side and down the other. When I finally got her to explain the problem, she said that a salesman showed up very late at her house, pretty much forced his way through the door, and refused to leave until she bought the $1500 pos that he was selling. He sat in her livingroom until well after midnight! She was in fact quite intimidated by this person. She finally signed the contract so that he would leave. We informed her of the lemon law in this State, which means that she has three days to cancel. So luckily she wasn't out the$1500 that she had signed for.

I have heard of vacuum cleaners selling for over $2000 before! In fact my sister-in-law got suckered into buying a ~$1500 Rainbow brand vacuum cleaner. These use water as a filter. If a salesman ever knocks on your door selling Rainbow vacuum cleaners, tell him you want to knock it over and leave it on its side, while its running. It makes for a rather spectacular fourth of July display.

The classic Oreck, I guess it is called the XL, uses [or used] a motor to create the vacuum, that is the same motor used just for the brush roll in other canister-style cleaners [same part number]. No wonder it's so light! It is probably only about 1/5 the size of a standard vacuum motor - IIRC, it is a 1.5-2 amp motor. Tsu commented that she would like a light vacuum like that. I pointed out that if we used no motor at all, it would be even lighter.

In all fairness I should say that the vacuum store gig was actually a pretty good deal for me. I could work any hours that I wanted and made pretty good money. I could even go in late at night and do piecework. It was the ideal job at the time so I guess I shouldn't knock it. But going from Cat Scanners to vacuum cleaners was a bit hard to take. So goes the life of a college student.

Last edited: Aug 31, 2009