Your Vacuum is NOT a Garbage Can!

Take it from us (and Oscar, here)…There is stuff you should never suck up with your vacuum – no matter how harmless it looks!Your vacuum is NOT a garbage can

I shamelessly solicited topic advice for this newsletter while I was on Facebook one day. My cousin posted a great question…
“Are there certain things you should NEVER vacuum up? What I thought was going to be used as a quick Q&A piece turned into a full blown article. Lucky you!

The simple answer is “Oh, YES!” There are plenty of vacuum NO-NO’s I can list off the top of my head! Being in the repair business, we see the consequences of sucking up a whole host of bizarre things. But for the sake of this article, let’s look at stuff vacuum users have mistakenly thought would be okay to suck up…

TOP TEN things you should never pick up with your vacuum cleaner (and WHY!):

10. Live Bugs – If you use a bagless vacuum, this isn’t the best idea. You might want to wait until you’re sure all critters are dead before you empty the dirt collection bin! 

9. Broken Glass / Ceramic – If you use a bagless vacuum you risk getting cut by these particles when you empty the dirt bin or clean the filters! Also at risk of getting cut is the vacuum’s drive belt, or hoses. Big chunks can break the vac’s fan, or cause clogs. Only certain vacuums (like Miele, that use a very thick cloth disposable cloth bag) can handle this material safely.

8. Coins or Pebbles – Hard, heavy (albeit small) objects like these can obstruct the brushroller and break the belt, or worse – in certain machines, shatter an upright vacuum’s fan.

7. Staples / Paperclips / Bobby Pins – These can obstruct the brushroller, tear up the belt, or get stuck sideways and cause clogs.

6. Pine Needles, Paper Shreddings or Leaves – These also tend to cause terrible clogs in the hose, and fill your bag prematurely (wasteful….just sweep that stuff up, silly.)

5. Dirt – I don’t care what commercials or advertisements show…flower pot dirt and muddy dog tracks is ALIVE and usually is moist (see below.) Sweep up as much as you can, let the area dry, and then vacuum gently.

4. Kitty Litter – The fine dust clogs the bag and filters, and (obviously) breeds nasty smells and bacteria inside the vacuum!

3. Water / Moist Stuff – You know not to vacuum puddles, but many folk’s vacuum areas that are still damp. The moisture breeds mildew, “sludges up” the brushroller housing and may rust the vac’s motor.

2. Food – Anything perishable or moist will rot inside the vacuum. Greasier foods slime your internal housing and hose. ‘Nuff said! Dry spills like rice, pretzels or a small amount of flour is safe. Dry cereal is ok too, unless is has been touched by milk.

Drum roll Please….

1. Baking Soda / Powders / Sheetrock Dust – This type of fine particulate seems harmless, but can quickly clog the tiny pores of your vacuum’s bag and/or filters. A very small amount is fine…But too much and the vacuum clogs, suffocates and the motor may short out prematurely!

Moral of the story? Your vacuum cleaner is NOT a garbage can! Use a little common sense, and WHEN IN DOUBT – THROW IT OUT. Pick up, sweep up or blot up the questionable item or substance on your floor instead of letting your poor vacuum cleaner consume it!