Okay, Raycop RS2 is a silly name and it doesn’t describe this product very well. But when I saw it at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, I had to learn more. This small handheld vacuum cleaner promises to go where no other vacuums have gone in eliminating household dust, allergens and bacteria on household fabrics. Not only does it have a HEPA level filter, but using ultraviolet (UV) light, it also disinfects as you vacuum.
More importantly for our family, it promises to also suck up 99% of allergens including dust mites (and their refuse). We have one child so severely affected by pollen, dust mites and pet allergies that he’s been taking shots for four years. I was excited to give the Raycop a try.
Why you might want one even if you don’t have allergies
Every second pollutants like dust mites, bacteria and viruses settle into your fabrics. E-coli and staphylococcus bacteria and the H1N1 virus have all been found in mattresses and are invisible to the naked eye.
With proper care, your risks for infection by these bacteria are low, but you may be more worried with a new baby in the house. We’re not saying you have to constantly make super-human efforts to sterilize everything around you, but we are sympathetic if your nesting instinct includes a worry about viruses and bacteria.
Other home detection devices, like Netatmo (reviewed here,) might tell you what the air quality is in your house but they don’t measure allergens or viruses and bacteria clinging to sheets and upholstery.
Probably the worst thing in your bed is the presence of dust mites, their carcasses and their fecal mattter. It’s really too disgusting to get into in this short review, but the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America says that dust mites and their waste products are one of the most common causes of year-round allergy and asthma. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a single mattress may be home to as many as 10 million dust mites and a multitude of bacteria and viruses. You can get more tips on how to manage dust mites on this very good Mayo Clinic dust mite page.
The Raycop is designed to effectively eliminate dust mite matter, bacteria, pollen, viruses and other common allergens from fabric surfaces because it has a HEPA filter, targeted suction pads, and the ultraviolet light. Raycop says that the RS2 is three times more effective than a regular vacuum.
Simple to use?
The Raycop is perhaps too simple to use. It uses a retractable plug to power it on with an easy-to-use child-protected power switch. It’s relatively lightweight (6 lbs) and the handle is comfortable making it easy to steer around your upholstery. Keep in mind that this tool is not for the floor and you’ll want to be able to maneuver it while reaching over a bed.
The reason I say it’s almost too simple though is because it looks deceptively simple to just wave a magic wand over your bedclothes to sterilize and remove all allergens. It actually takes some concentrated work to make sure you are effectively using the Raycop.
First, the printed “guide rails” on the device show that the 9″ wide path you are effectively covering. If you’re going over a large bedspread, 9″ trails will take a while to get through especially if you’re careful not to miss a lot of spots. Additionally, in some cases you’re going to have to move the Raycop very slowly across your upholstery.
For bacteria, the process is fast. In laboratory tests, the survival rate of commonly found E-Coli and Staphylococcus bacteria was close to 0% after just 1-2 seconds of exposure to the Raycop’s ultraviolet light.
If you’re trying to remove pollen allergens, 99.8% will be captured after about one minute. You’ll need to use the RS2 for about 1 minutes on the fabric area to pick up 99% of dust and dust mite matter deep in the fabrics. For someone with moderate to severe allergies to dust and/or pollen, Raycop would recommend using the RS2 on all bedding (pillows, blankets and mattress) 3 or 4 times a week.
You can see how this could become time-consuming.
At $349, the Raycop RS2 is not an inexpensive device. However, if you have allergies yourself, or are already concerned about pollutants or germs for your little one, it may not seem a very large price to pay to finally get some relief. We have been pleasantly surprised with the results so far, at least as far as allergens (pollen and dust mites) go. After a complete vacuuming and washing of all the linens and mattresses and encasement of the mattress and box springs, my allergy-prone son is not sniffling in the morning. Time will tell if it is motivating enough to him to continue a thorough cleaning as part of his routine. Allergies are funny. Since there is usually a lag between exposure and effect, playing with cats and dogs can seem like a good idea until 15 minutes later. Likewise with the Raycop. Sadly, you don’t get any immediate feedback, either physical or on the device, that you’ve actually fixed the problem
Note: Raycopy Lite also is available for $189.99. It has slightly weaker power in all areas, lacks a retractable cord and does not come with a stand.