Remember the old “Dirt Devil” hand vacuum cleaners from 30 years ago that were going to revolutionize house cleaning? It was supposed to suck up everything in sight and keep you from having to pull out the heavy vacuum cleaner every time someone knocked over a house plant or a bowl of popcorn.
The commercials sucked you in (sorry, I couldn’t resist), and you had to have it. But one spill later, and you realized this thing had less suction power than a newborn Holstein bull. It couldn’t hold more than three Cheerios in the dirt cup. You were constantly emptying the thing out – and don’t get me started on the filter that clogged up with one swipe around the barn boots.
Fast forward to 2019, and the influencers on Instagram are telling me the Dirt Devil Power Stick is the answer to all of my housekeeping prayers. If you have hardwood floors, then this is a little piece of heaven on Earth. And it was on sale.
So of course, I bought one and just knew my house was going to be as clean as the farmhouses I saw on Instagram. I mean, these are real women and they wouldn’t embellish or anything to try to sell me something.
I unpacked it and looked it over to see how it worked. I was a tad skeptical when I saw the vacuuming apparatus was designed exactly like the Dirt Devil hand-held vac from back in the day. But surely, I thought, they have learned how to increase suction power in 30 years – right?
I took one swipe around the boots and it started in with that high-pitched squealing sound when your vacuum cleaner is clogged or full. I emptied it and tried it again and, to my disappointment, I realized this thing was not going to be the answer to my housekeeping needs.
But why do the women on Instagram have so much success with their power stick and I don’t? I have finally come to the conclusion that real farmhouses have real dirt. We live in the country where our boots walk through mud, manure, sand, and hay chaff. As much as we try to wipe our feet off, we still track it in the house.
Those ladies of suburbia have paved driveways and connected garages. Their feet don’t even touch grass, much less wade through sloppy manure. They don’t have to mess with straw chaff in the corners of their hardwood floors and they don’t have to throw away their socks because of tiny pieces of shavings stuck in the stitching.
They are constantly touting the attributes of dry shampoo, but not because it makes their hair smell less like manure; they use it to texturize.
And do you know why their front-load washing machines never need to be fixed? Because they don’t have three loads of hoodies soaked in manure, teat dip, and milk replacer. And they have never had to wash a load of overalls with caked-on mud and straw chaff in the pockets.
We are in desperate need of a farm woman influencer on Instagram – one who can tell us which laundry soap works the best on grease, where to get the best paper towels for the cheapest price, and which air freshener works best in the car when your husband asks for a ride to the field after helping a heifer deliver a calf.
Until then I am going to stop following influencers who are younger than 35, have fewer than three kids, and can’t tell the difference between a gas and diesel engine.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.