Thread Number: 36460  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
Rainbow vacuum ?
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Post# 390678   4/18/2018 at 18:10 (187 days old) by quebecois (Quebec, Canada)        

Earlier today I saw an ad about a "vintage vacuum", the make isn't specified at all, I'm not sure but I think it is a Rainbow vacuum from the '80s, according to pictures in Doug's collection.

I've never seen machines like that before, are they good ? I like their logo.

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Post# 390680 , Reply# 1   4/18/2018 at 18:20 (187 days old) by repairman (Stickney, IL)        

The model pictured here is a Rainbow D3C made in the 80's. My aunt still has her's from the day she bought it and has never had any problems. If repairs are needed, they are very easy to take apart and rebuild as parts are always available. I would buy it if I were you. These machines are true workhorses as long as the separator is cleaned and you always dump the water after each use.

Post# 390681 , Reply# 2   4/18/2018 at 18:22 (187 days old) by quebecois (Quebec, Canada)        

Dump the water ?

Post# 390683 , Reply# 3   4/18/2018 at 18:43 (187 days old) by repairman (Stickney, IL)        

The unique feature about Rainbow vacuums, is that there is no bag or filter (on older models). Newer models such as the E Series have an exhaust filter whereas the D series do not. The machine has a basin in which you fill it with water, vacuum, and then dump the water. The story behind the water, is that the dust will be wet and it won't go airborne. I've attached the link to a How-To Video for a model newer than yours, but the process is the same.


Post# 390688 , Reply# 4   4/18/2018 at 22:09 (187 days old) by quebecois (Quebec, Canada)        

Interesting ! I'd be curious to actually operate one for a few minutes.

Post# 390689 , Reply# 5   4/18/2018 at 22:12 (187 days old) by quebecois (Quebec, Canada)        

it should be heavy even if just partially filled with water, it would be more appropriate in a house without split levels.

Post# 390694 , Reply# 6   4/19/2018 at 02:42 (187 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

In my old neighborhood there is a gal down the street that I take care of.....she has a D4 upstairs and a Electrolux Diamond J downstairs...original owner of both. Her carpet upstairs is immaculate. I have no experiences with the Rexair/Rainbow other than we had two different ones growing up and always an upright Hoover. My beginning experience with Electrolux started with a used G and then I bought a new Diamond J.  


I don't know why she has this particular combination, but she loves both.



Post# 390697 , Reply# 7   4/19/2018 at 07:06 (187 days old) by quebecois (Quebec, Canada)        

I personally planned to have a SuperJ upstairs and something lighter in the basement that I'll also use for my carpeted stairway between basement and second floor. But this Rainbow could replace the SuperJ upstairs !

Post# 390699 , Reply# 8   4/19/2018 at 07:41 (187 days old) by s31463221 (Frenchburg, KY)        

s31463221's profile picture
It has been said before, and it's very true about a Rainbow vacuum. They aren't for everyone! I have five of them (six if you count a parts machine) ranging from a Model B (small, black metal vacuum) all the way up to the newest model with the lighted basin. I have two of the D4 SE models which is very similar to yours (think early to mid 90's). If you suffer from allergies, they are truly wonderful machines. They don't blow dust out everywhere when you turn them on, there's no stinky bags or dirt cups to empty that inevitably belches dust in your face when you go to dump it out. Plus, I think it's really neat (in a strange way I suppose) to see all the "junk" you vacuum up off the floor floating around in that bowl of water......the newer Rainbows have a brushless motor that allows them to run continuously on low speed 24/7 if you wish. So even when you're not running it to vacuum your floors, it's "washing" the air in your home. Another good feature is that if you have young children running loose in your home, spills and messes are bound to happen. In fact, the last time I used the Rainbow, my young son turned an entire bottle of Gatorade over and poured it all over the living room floor. I didn't bat an eye, just turned the Rainbow around and sucked every drop of it having to stop, grab paper towels, or a shop vac, no fear of damaging the motor in my vacuum, etc.

Now, with that said, getting back to my first statement, a Rainbow isn't something that you can just use, turn off, and stick back in the closet and forget about it until the next time it's needed (like you can with an Electrolux or other non-water vacuum). Each time you finish using the vacuum, you will need to dump the water out of the tank, scrub it good, and dry it. I also remove and clean the separator each time as well just in case. Also, Rexair (the parent company of Rainbow) is very specific that you are not supposed to store your water basin attached to your vacuum. So you have to make sure you have plenty of time after you finish to properly clean the vacuum and store it. I'm not trying to scare you off from these types of vacuums, but I do want to make you aware that Rainbows (all water vacuums really) require a bit more upkeep than your standard Electrolux, Kirby, Hoover, etc.

This post was last edited 04/19/2018 at 13:26
Post# 390700 , Reply# 9   4/19/2018 at 07:58 (187 days old) by quebecois (Quebec, Canada)        

Thank you for all these informations ! If you'd have to buy a used Rainbow like the one pictured in the ad, what would you pay special attention to ?

Post# 390844 , Reply# 10   4/21/2018 at 13:18 (184 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

 The integrity of the separator and seals before the motor.


One thing I've heard negative about the Rainbow is that their suction and CFM are not spectactular...for the money.  And more recently someone said that really fine dust (like sheetrock) will skip over the water and not be absorbed.


I'm not bashing Rexair....we had them growing up.....I just have no adult experience with them pitted against Electrolux et al.








Post# 390846 , Reply# 11   4/21/2018 at 13:29 (184 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

I personally planned to have a SuperJ upstairs and something lighter in the basement that I'll also use for my carpeted stairway between basement and second floor. But this Rainbow could replace the SuperJ upstairs !


As I stated earlier, the elderly lady I take care of has the Elux down in the basement (finished) and the Rexair upstairs....I think some D4 iteration. I don't fully understand her rationale for that, but she's pretty anal.



Post# 390886 , Reply# 12   4/22/2018 at 09:51 (184 days old) by quebecois (Quebec, Canada)        

THanks Kevin, i'll have another look at Rainbow vac videos on YouTube to make sure where is the separator and what it is supposed to look like

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