Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro Review

dyson cinetic big ball animal pro review

dyson cinetic big ball animal pro review

I agreed to review the new Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro vacuum cleaner for Dyson. Now, I’ve never done a review like this before. Normally, I only review stuff that I’m thinking of stocking at Hello Charlie. As regular readers know, I’m pretty fussy about what we stock in the store, so I applied that thinking to my review of the Dyson. I wanted to make absolutely sure that I’d recommend it.

A couple of years back, I did a series of posts on detoxing your home. One of the things I recommended was getting a vacuum with a HEPA filter. At the time, my research showed me that the Dyson vacuums were one of the best available. So I was pretty keen to try it out.

Is the Dyson Cinetic easy to use?

First of all, I asked my 13 year old son to unbox it and set it up, thinking that if he could do it, anyone could. He did, and immediately began telling me he was a technical genius. I took this to mean that it was pretty simple to put together.

He was keen to use it, so he took it for a spin and told me that he found it easy to use. It does move easily, and it’s not heavy to pull around, plus it doesn’t kill my back. So far, all good.

We were very impressed by the amount of suction on that thing. I tried it out on my cow skin rug, and couldn’t believe how much more suction there was compared to my old Miele vacuum cleaner. Apparently you’re not supposed to use it like that, but I didn’t read the instructions until later. Still – pretty awesome suction!

pets with the dyson cinetic big ball animal pro
A couple of reasons why the Dyson had to work hard at my house!

I have a fluffy cat, who loves to leave fur everywhere. I have another cat, who refused all attempts to photograph her. And I have a very large dog, who’s not really allowed on the carpet, but of course he doesn’t always stay on his mat! I also have two boys, and an exchange student staying this year, so our carpet takes a bit of a pounding. I’d only vaccumed 2 days before when I started testing the Dyson, and I have to say that I was a little freaked out by the amount of dust and muck swirling around in that cylinder! It makes you realise how much dirt is actually on the carpet, even when you don’t leave it that long between cleans. Eek.

My 13 year old and I tried getting rid of the dirt in the Dyson, and it turns out to be super easy to empty. One click gets the dust cylinder off the vacuum, then you take it over to the bin and another click opens it up and empties. There’s no filters to wash with the Dyson Cinetic range, so this is a really simple process.

Dyson’s filters

Speaking of filters, one of the reasons why I really like this vacuum is because of the filtration system. All Dyson vacuums have HEPA filters. But as they explain on their website, it’s not just the filter that’s important – making sure that the dust doesn’t get blown straight back out of your vacuum cleaner is what’s really essential. I noticed when I was using the Dyson that I didn’t get any smell of dust, which I definitely do when I’m using my usual vacuum.

Another thing I love is that the Dyson Cinetic rights itself if you manage to tip it over. This is especially useful if you’re training the kids up to do the vacuuming, because they just don’t get that you’re not supposed to go careening around corners trailed by a vacuum. Of course, once they realised that the Dyson righted itself, they did plenty of careening around corners. It worked every time. Does it make the vacuum work better? No. Does it make vacuuming easier? Absolutely!

And that’s one of the things that I really like about this – so many little details have been thought of. It’s really easy to switch tools over, or to make the handle longer, or even to ease up on the suction while you’re vacuuming.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Tools – In the Box

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro Tools

Now, plenty of vacuum cleaners come with tools, but I have to admit that I don’t really use them all. But once again, I was impressed with the tools that are included. I gave them all a test run, and I reckon you’d use all of them.

Carbon fibre turbine floor tool. Okay, so now I feel like a revhead type bloke talking about how my car goes. Yeah mate it’s got one of those carbon fibre turbine floor tools and a double carburetter and air cooling. This is your everyday standard tool because you can use it on carpets and hard floors. It really does seem to pick heaps of dirt and dust up, too.

The combination tool is kind of cool – it’s got the skinny crevice tool and the brush in one. You slide the brush up and down when you need it. I found this very handy for doing things like skirting boards, and the tops of the curtain rails.

The reach under tool underwhelmed me at first. I had trouble pulling out the flexible rubber bit and had to resort to the interweb to find out how exactly you did it. I was still underwhelmed and very nearly put it back in the box, but I thought I should try it. I’m glad I did. What a useful little thingummy. All those dusty places, that let’s face it, you just can’t be arsed to clean even though you know you probably should, like down behind the kids bedheads. This little gadget reaches in and dusts the lot.

Carbon fibre soft dusting brush – this may be my favourite tool. I have those wooden blinds that look lovely, and do nothing but trap dust. My vacuum cleaner seems to do nothing but shift dust around on these. You can use the brush thingy and give them a once over, and then run your hand over them and still leave trails in the dust. I tried out the Dyson with the carbon fibre soft dusting brush – best result EVER. I was so impressed I started trying it on other things in my bedroom – hard to reach space down the back of the chest of drawers. Done. Top of the curtain rail? Done. Bedside lamp with covering of dust? Done. I may have gone on a little dusting brush frenzy – it’s so damn useful! And it picks up so much dust. Wow.

The stair tool gets right into the edge of the stairs, so that you don’t have to vacuum the larger area of the stairs with one bit, and the corners of the stairs with another bit. A small thing, but a thoughtful one.

Once I actually worked out the swivel head was for hard floors, (aren’t instructions marvellous?) I was sold. This little sucker (pun fully intended – sorry!) is amazing. I had a go with it in my ensuite, which is small but has annoying little gaps. There’s one about 10cms wide between the vanity and the shower, and of course it was home to a whole warren of dust bunnies because who can be bothered to pull the head off the vacuum cleaner and get down there? Ha! The swivelly head just went in sideways. Take that, dust bunnies. By this stage, I was starting to talk to the Dyson – we’d become quite friendly.

The tangle free turbine tool is actually an upholstery brush to get rid of hair. I decided to test this in the back of my friend’s car. She fosters dogs, and her latest is an enormous mastiff cross with short white hair that gets everywhere. Before we tested the Dyson, she’d had a go with her vacuum and got nowhere. Ten minutes with the turbine tool, and the back of her car was looking better than it had before she’d got the dog!

dyson cinetic big ball animal pro turbine tool

What’s the verdict on the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro?

I feel like I’m raving about this vacuum cleaner so much that you’re going to think that it’s because Dyson gave it to me to try out. But I have to say that I’m genuinely impressed with this thing.

  • it’s really easy to use (even if you don’t read the instructions!)
  • it’s not heavy, and you don’t get backache using it
  • the suction is amazing – I can’t believe how much dust and debris this thing has picked up off my carpets
  • the tools are actually useful
  • it’s light enough for kids to use
  • emptying the dust out is unbelieveably simple
  • it’s well designed

What didn’t we love?

  • My husband wasn’t keen on the fact that there was no place to store the tools
  • My kids don’t love the fact that it’s so easy to use that now I’m making them use it!
  • There’s no denying that these are expensive vacuum cleaners. But if you’ve got allergies, asthma or pets and kids, I reckon it’s worth it.

I actually looked into buying a Dyson late last year when my asthma flared up. If I’d realised how good they were, I’d have bought one then. And as for my friend with the foster dogs, she’s going shopping this weekend!

Disclaimer: Dyson sent me the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Pro to review. I’m glad I loved it, but you can be assured that if I didn’t, I’d have let you know! All opinions are my own.

How to Detox Your Kitchen

detox your kitchen

detox your kitchen

When you’ve got children, you spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen – making breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and endless snacks. So how do you make sure that your kitchen is the safest environment possible for you and your family? You detox your kitchen!

Start by having a look at the chemicals that you use.

Cleaning products

Ditch the disinfectants – avoid any products that contain microban, triclosan or other synthetic disinfectants. Go with natural soaps like Dr Bronner’s and add your own antibacterial essential oils.

Go through your cleaning products and remove any that have ‘caution’ on them. Choose an eco-friendly brand like ecostore. You’ll find greener alternatives to all your kitchen chemicals like dishwash powder and tablets (I swear by ecostore’s!), surface sprays, and dishwash liquids.

If you swear by your disinfecting surface sprays, try making your own with a spray bottle of water to which you’ve added a few drops of each of eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils – cuts through grease as well as being naturally antibacterial.

Chill out a little when it comes to germs. We’re not advocating that you stop washing your hands before you prepare dinner, but a little dirt is good for everyone. The rise of allergies and asthma in the western world is thought to be because children are not being exposed to enough germs, allowing them to develop their immune systems.

Scrub chopping boards between uses and stand them in the sun to bleach when you can.

Wash tea towels, sponges, and dishcloths everyday in the washing machine or dishwasher. I use colour coded facewashers, blue in the kitchen, green for floor spills, pink for bathroom, etc. You can sterilise sponges by putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds, too.

Reduce your paper waste in the kitchen. Paper towels are chlorine bleached, so try to choose TCF (totally chlorine free) or unbleached paper towels and napkins. Or even better, make the change to cloth – cloth napkins, tea towels, and tablecloths are so much nicer than disposable ones!

Food storage

Invest in better food storage. Go for glass, ceramic or stainless steel. Re-use glass jars that have had food in them, and go with old fashioned canisters for dry goods.

If you must use plastic food storage, choose BPA free and phthalate free, and make sure that it is a safe plastic. [link] As a rule of thumb, the more flexible the plastic, the more phthalates it will contain.

Ditch the glad wrap! If you’ve got leftovers, you can cover stuff with a plate instead. We’ve been doing this for years at home. You can also use baking paper or waxed paper with a rubber band around the top.

Cooking utensils

Go with BPA free by choosing wood, bamboo or stainless steel utensils. Silicone is a safer plastic alternative, too.

Say no to Teflon and non-stick cookware. Choose cast iron, stainless steel, glass, enamel or ceramic coated pans instead.

Other things to think about

Filter your water with a good water filter that will remove toxins from your tap. Go with a carbon ceramic filter or a reverse osmosis system.

Rethink the microwave – it emits EMF’s and irradiates your food. Reheat food on the stovetop instead. It’s faster, and it heats through more evenly.

To avoid EMFs, stand away from the microwave when you’re using it, and stand back from the induction cooker and flashing digitals.

Skip the air fresheners. Empty the rubbish every day, get a couple of plants in (go even more eco and keep some herbs on the windowsill) and wipe your rubbish bin down with an essential oil if you want a nice smell.

Images: Depositphoto

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Detox Your Home: The Bathroom

The bathroom is a place where you use lots of chemicals – not just how you clean the bathroom, but all the chemicals you put on your body, everyday.

Go Anti Antibacterials

Washing your hands? Choose a soap without the antibacterials. Triclosan is just not necessary – it’s bad for you, bad for the environment and it’s thought is one of the reasons for the rise of superbugs. Check out  our blog post on Triclosan for more information. Go with a natural hand wash from a brand like ecostore, or use the good old Dr Bronner’s.

Check the rest of your products for triclosan, too. You’ll find it in products like toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant and even in your socks. Microban is another name that you’ll find on things like chopping boards and food containers. Be aware, and read the ingredients before you buy!

Get fresh

Ventilate! Nowhere is it more important to get lots of fresh air than the bathroom (and toilet). Open the window in the toilet, and you won’t need to use toxic air fresheners. Of course, you can always choose a natural one, or go with some essential oils if you prefer.

The bathroom is one room in the house which is the perfect environment for mould and mildew, which can cause all sorts of health issues, aggravating allergies, asthma. Give the shower a quick once over with a dry cloth, or even a window wiper, and wipe any excess water off the counter and around the taps. Open those windows to let the fresh air in and get everything dried out.

Green cleaning

Giving things a quick once over every day will also reduce your need for toxic cleaning chemicals in the bathroom, too.

Ever used a shower cleaner where you’ve had to hold your breath while using it? Hmmm. Not so good for you. Keep a squeegee in the shower and give it a wipe down before you get out. This will cut back on limescale and will keep the mould down, too.

Try spraying diluted vinegar or lemon juice on your porcelain, leave it for half an hour and then give it a scrub. You can also make a paste of baking soda,  Dr Bronner’s and essential oil for a good cream cleanser. Spray vinegar and baking soda on your glass to remove limescale, let it sit a while, then clean off. Dilute some clove oil tea tree oil and vinegar to spray it on anywhere there’s mould and damp – it’s a non toxic mould buster.

If you don’t want to go with the DIY solutions, try an eco brand like  ecostore.


Change your hand towels regularly, and your towels. Wash them in an eco friendly laundry powder. Dry them on the line, and if you want to soften them up, run them through the tumble dryer for a few minutes, rather than completely drying in the dryer.

Freshen up

Skip the toxic air fresheners. Get in some detoxifying plants, open those windows and go for essential oils if you want masking smells.

Ditch the disposables

Try switching to reusables, like face washers instead of cotton pads to remove makeup. If you do choose disposables, try organic cotton or bamboo brands from the likes of  Simply Gentle and Go Bamboo.

We’re not hardcore enough to recommend reusable toilet paper – euww! However, it’s easy to switch to recycled and unbleached brands which are easier on the environment.

Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

This is a whole post in itself, but you can check out one of our really useful blogs on ingredients to avoid in our Dirty Thirty Personal Care Ingredients.

Detox Your Home: The Laundry

You don’t have to revert to the laundry mangle to go green in the laundry. It’s really easy to switch to greener products that don’t have as much impact on your or the environment, and as a bonus will save you money, too.

Clothes washing detergents and fabric softener

One of the worst allergic reactions I’ve ever had was to a laundry powder. My mother in law very kindly did my washing for me, and I broke out in a rash all over. I couldn’t for the life of me work out what it was, and of course it cleared up when I did my own washing again. The next time she did my washing for me, I broke out again and finally put two and two together.

I’ve been using natural laundry powders for years, and never have any problem with staining. Unless my laundry is really really stained, I use half the recommended amount and have absolutely no complaints. Eco friendly laundry powders really do work!

They’re not only gentler on your skin, they’re better for the environment, too, and are quite often better on your clothes as well.

Skip anything with optical brighteners, which cause algal blooms that choke off aquatic life. Make sure it’s biodegradable, grey water safe, and if you choose concentrated or powdered versions, you’ll save on packaging as well.

My favourite brand is ecostore, but I’ve also used and loved ecover, and BEE.

Stain removers

Hang clothes in the sun to bleach naturally. You’ll be amazed at how well it works. To help it along, you can dilute some white vinegar in water and spray a little on to the stain while the clothes are still wet.

Go with an oxygen whitener, rather than bleach. The chlorine in bleach is a respiratory irritant, and a reproductive toxin. Try the ecostore oxygen whitener, which you can use as a soak, or just pop a little in with your wash. I’ve used this for on my husband’s office shirts and the children’s martial arts uniforms.

Get a clothes line or a clothes horse

Clothes dryers can cost you hundreds of dollars a year to run, not to mention the hundreds of kilos of carbon emissions. Line drying, on the other hand, costs nothing to either you or the planet. Air dried clothes never go static. And there is absolutely nothing better than the smell of air dried laundry!

If you absolutely must run your towels through the dryer to soften them up (personally, I like a rough towel!), line dry them first, then just give them a couple of minutes hit in the dryer.

Here in Melbourne, I have a couple of handy clothes horses that I put into a corner of the garage or the rumpus room when the weather is too wet to hang clothes on the line.

Use common scents

I’ll admit that there are times (especially during a damp Melbourne winter) that you need to use a dryer. But I will not admit that you need a dryer fabric softener or scented dryer sheets!

The chemicals used in these are suspected carcinogens, and it’s so easy to avoid these products. Add half a cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your wash to soften your clothes. The bonus with this is that it also gets rid of that musty smell when you’ve left the wet laundry in the machine for too long). You can add a few drops of essential oils like lavender, lemon, or my favouite, rose geranium oil to the rinse can help make things smell fresh and lovely.

Instead of dryer sheets, you could try felted wool dryer balls that I’ve seen on etsy, or you could do my trick and throw an old hand towel into the dryer, with a few drops of essential oil on them.

Ditch the Dry Cleaner

Most drycleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene, which has been linked to cancer and fertility issues. Some eco-friendly dry cleaners now use silicone solvent-based or liquid CO2 cleaning methods, which are healthier alternatives.

Or ever better: skip the dry cleaner altogether.Try gentle handwashing in a delicates laundry liquid, which will also prolong the life of those delicate fabrics.

Shop smarter and buy fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning. If you absolutely have to dry clean something, take it out of the plastic and hang it outside for as long as you can before you hang it in your wardrobe or wear it. At least four hours, or better still, a few days.

Links and further reading:

NSW EPA: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/drycleaningwaste.htm

Cancer.org: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/otherca…

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Detox Your Home: The Bedroom

Home Detox: Detoxing Your Bedroom

According to the US Environment Protection Agency, indoor air pollution is 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor pollution. When it’s really cold, or if it’s really hot, we spend most of our time indoors with all the doors and windows shut in an attempt to control our environment. The problem is that we’re shutting lots of toxins inside the house with us.

It’s actually pretty easy to improve your indoor air quality, and for lots of things it’s as simple as changing the way you do things, rather than spending money. In the first part of our Detox Your Home series, we’re starting with the bedroom. You spend more time in your bedroom than in any other room in the house, so if you can only do one room, detox the bedroom!


Furniture made from particle board can often be glued together with adhesives that contain formaldehyde. Other chemicals, such as butyl acetate and methyl chloride, can be found in the lacquers and paints on new furniture. If you have a sensitive nose, you may be able to smell these gasses – a bit like the new car smell. This smell is the VOCs off gassing and these gases peak within a couple of weeks of the furniture being made.

The good news is that most of the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) will dissipate within 3 to 12 months after the furniture is made.

So, how to avoid VOCs in furniture?

  • Try to choose real wood furniture.
  • Take the new furniture out of all the packaging, and air it out for as long as you can before you put it in your bedroom.
  • Look for furniture made with low emission materials.
  • Avoid stain resistant treatments.
  • Buy secondhand furniture.

If you’re redecorating your bedroom, here’s a few more tips to help keep the toxins down:

  • Choose low or no VOC paint, or eco friendly wallpaper
  • Go with wooden floors rather than carpet, which can harbour all sorts of dust, germs and toxins. Choose a natural fibre rug instead.
  • Look for natural fabrics for curtains and blinds

The bed

This is where you spend most time, so it’s worth prioritising your bedding and mattress. Go with organic cotton bedding if you can. If you can’t get organic, or can’t afford it, go natural with 100% linen or cotton and make sure that you wash it a couple of times in an eco laundry powder before you sleep in it for the first time.

Change your bedding regularly. Your sheets collect dust mites, skin cells, sweat and bacteria, so it’s important that you change them at least every couple of weeks.

When you change the sheets, hang your doona and pillows outside in the sunshine to naturally bleach and disinfect. The bonus is that they smell so good when you bring them in!

Mattresses can often be the source of toxic chemicals. Finding an eco friendly mattress in Australia is tricky, but you could think about buying a wool or organic cotton mattress topper.


Dust your bedroom regularly using a damp cloth to wipe over and pick up dust. Using a dry duster just moves the dust around, but using a damp cloth picks up the dust and actually removes it.

If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, buy one with a HEPA filter. The HEPA filter traps harmful particles like pollen, dust mites, pet fur and smoke. Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to own a vacuum with a HEPA filter – you do actually have to use it!

Institute a ‘no shoes in the house’ policey. Take shoes off at the front door and get a pair of slippers that you only wear in the house. That way you won’t be tracking in all the muck and dirt from outside and in onto your floors, and then into the bedroom.

Clean with non toxic household cleaners, like the ecostore range of products.

Air quality

Get some plants in your bedroom. These will clear the air and remove toxins. See article on plants in the bedroom.

Open the windows! Just 15 minutes a day is all it needs to get all those VOCs out and let the fresh air in.

Consider buying an air purifier to help clean your air.

If you burn candles in your room, make sure you choose natural candles. Look for organic palm wax, beeswax or eco soy wax, not paraffin candles. Paraffin is a petrochemical and contains all sorts of contaminants.

Don’t use toxic air fresheners. If you must scent the air (and trust me, if you open the windows for 15 minutes a day, you won’t need to!), choose organic essential oils and add them to your diffuser. You can also find natural air fresheners to spritz around the room.

Avoid dry cleaning, and if you absolutely have to dry clean, make sure you take the garment out of the plastic bag and hang it in the open air for at least four hours, preferably overnight, before you wear it or hang it in your cupboard.


Switch off electronics in your bedroom to keep your bedroom free from electromagnetic radiation. Even better, keep electronics out of the bedroom – you’ll sleep better!

Keep things like your wireless router in a different room, or at least make sure that you switch it off at night if possible.

Don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow, and do switch off broadband and Bluetooth.

Further reading:




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