* Prices may differ from that shown
If you own an old Vax 121 canister vacuum (the old Orange and Black tub) or any of Vax's taller canister vacuums from the 1970's to early 2000, then you'd probably be one in many who suffers from paper bags that burst. This is a factor that has occurred with Vax and Numatic Henry machines for many years simply because of the mechanics of a canister vacuum cleaner. In the late 1990's Vax remedied the situation by offering vacs with an electronic adjustable variable suction dial where the top fixed suction wasn't always needed thus prolonging the life of the paper bag. However it was not always a success and many owners I've spoken to over the years have had a touch and go effect when it comes to paper bags for their trusty Vax canister. Most Vax owners keep their Vax canisters not necessarily because the old fashioned suction only floor head gives a good wash on carpets but primarily for the large 7 litre dust capacity on offer. A long term solution is better though for cost effectiveness and this is where the reusable environmentally friendly material bags comes into its own.
The Vax 2000 reusable cloth material dust bag is a 100% cotton washable dust bag that can be used time and time again. Vax state that the bag can only be used five times before it starts to fall apart but over the years I've used the bag a lot longer - ten years infact and only needing one replacement because of collecting garden waste that became damp and rendered the bag mouldy and useless! It seems that Vax also has it wrong where this bag can be used in other models. When I purchased a Vax V-100 model for a friend of mine who runs a residential care centre, we managed to insert the same cloth bag into the canister despite Vax's attempt to state that it doesn't. Briefly this bag covers all models from 121, 3 in 1 (Wet & Dry), 2000, 2100, Powa 4000 to 4100, 2300 to 2301, Rapide 5000 to 5122, Rapide Plus, 5130 to 5150, 5222, 5223, 6130 to 6150SX canisters. The Vax 2000 bag is available from Comet at a cost of £7-99, I however picked mine up from eSpares online at a cost of £5-99. Some of these bags are also priced at £15 which is too expensive.
Composed of only a plastic clip to hold the open wings together which are also plastic lined and similarly stitched into the cloth, the cloth bag is very easy to install and infact just as easy as the standard three ply paper bags in your Vax canister. Of course it goes without saying that this cloth bag is only suitable for dry dust only and it should never be used for collecting water.
In terms of general performance there is a marked difference long term between the material bag and paper bags. Primarily with the threat of strong suction thanks to the canister design, the material bag will never tear despite what you might suck up and suction seems to last longer even though the sides of the bag clog up more with dust on the walls rather than collect at the bottom. I've collected dry garden waste in my old Vax and it hasn't torn or burst the material, proving that it is extremely durable and long lasting when cement gravel is picked up. Glass, china, wood chips, splinters, brick pieces - all of it has been collected over the years in my old Vax and indeed its little wonder that it has lasted so long without ever being serviced since it's purchase nearly 20 years ago! The bag also mirrors the same capacity as the dust bags at 7 litres.
Nothing however is perfect. Over the filter high paper bags, the thin cotton of this bag doesn't keep back odours well long term - well you have 7 litres on offer here for bag capacity and over time, like five months when dust is ready to be emptied my Vax often smells dank and musty. However this can be a counter effect if you purchase a HEPA filter from Vax that can be retro-fitted to your Vax canister rather than hoping for extra filtration from the fabric dut bag. When it comes to emptying this bag you'll know the joys instantly of having to literally face the dirt you've picked up. This is where the paper dust bags are far healthier and here is where it gets messy because the bag needs to be rigoursly shaken until all dust has come off inside the bag. It's no use simply letting the dust that has settled at the top and bottom to come out - if the walls of the bag aren't allowed to be shaken free, suction in the vacuum cleaner will be reduced. Once the bag has been shaken it can be put back into the Vax again; until the bag is completely black/brown with clogged dust that's the time to wash it - or you can wash it straight after the first empty. So when it comes to washing, the reusable cloth dust bag is supposed to be washed in a low temperature program and then can either be hung to dry until it is completely dry or without the plastic clip dried in a tumble dryer on a low temperature heat level. Don't add conditioner though as this will weaken the bag. If you want a sweet smelling room, you can add air freshener to the bag but it is best avoided adding capsules that can ruin the cotton. Because the plastic is stitched into the fabric both on the actual plastic grid holder and the back end of the bag where it is supposed to be sealed, a high temperature from the tumble dryer can unravel the stitching.
Installing the bag isn't difficult though. With a permanently installed black plastic ring it can be slid into the normal dust bag holder on the lower dust bin whilst a plastic clip can be a fiddly but no less time consuming to fold the plastic wings on the bag into the clip to seal it up. If you don't fold the wings together to meet each other the bag won't be sealed properly despite fitting into the plastic clip properly and you may find a burst bag when you open the Vax back up.
The Vax 2000 bag is worth a purchase if you still own a Vax canister vacuum cleaner, particularly in view of the fact that it is a cost effective accessory that should last you longer than paper dust bags. Additionally being made of cloth, the bags are effectively environmentally friendly. The only downside is emptying it, but then again with any reusable cloth dust bag for a vacuum, that is an inherent and known weakness. Why can't all manufacturers make cloth reuseable dust bags? Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2009