Spring Cleaning: Get a Dyson or a Maid?

Dyson, the U.K.-based company that revolutionized the vacuum cleaner, recently released an apartment-sized canister model. Like the company's other famed vacuums, it replaces bags with cyclone-like technology which is said to never lose its powerful suction. Dyson diehards claim they're the most powerful machines on the market. But even if it can clean your rugs and de-lint your corners better than before, the $400 price tag prompts the question: Would apartment dwellers be better off simply hiring a maid?

Let's take a look....

Buying a Dyson DC23
  • Pros: Since you would own the machine you could use it for small cleanups or major vacuuming jobs. And it's a clever little machine. The DC23 Turbinehead (below) weighs in at about 20 pounds. The canister is roughly the size of two side-by-side basketballs, plus the hose and extendable "arm" with "Turbinehead" brush bar. What's great about the arm and suction bar is that it lies flat and can get underneath chairs and furniture. My standard upright vacuum was too big to get more than an inch under the sofa and it's hose (with attachments) wasn't long enough to stretch very far. The Dyson however seems to reach every corner and crevice. Finally, there's no dust under the bed. It also has what Dyson calls "Level 3 Root Cyclone" technology -- this must be the Dyson magic that makes for an extremely powerful suction, which the company claims will not lessen over time.
  • Cons: You do the all the work. And there are lots of other household cleaning tasks to tackle.
  • Annual Cost: $399
  • 5-Year Cost: $399 (The length of the Dyson guarantee.)

Hiring a Housekeeper
  • Pros: No more scrubbing the toilet.
  • Cons: You may not be happy with someone else's idea of clean. Plus, not everyone's comfortable with the idea of someone who has access to their apartment and their dirty little secrets. The housekeeper will probably use the run-of-the-mill vacuum I already own -- which will leave the dust bunnies in hiding.
  • Annual Cost: $1,200 (Prices vary by city but using an average of $100 per monthly visit for a 500-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment for Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Gingerbread Man Cleaning. Weekly rates are $75 and twice-yearly it's $125 per visit.)
  • 5-Year Cost: $6,000

Our Recommendation

Spring for the Dyson - a third of the cost of a housekeeper for a year. Or better yet, get a housekeeper to come in twice a year for a major once-over, then use the Dyson in-between to keep things clean yourself.

Read about more spring cleaning ideas or see apartments for rent at RentedSpaces.com.
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