8 Things You Should Never Vacuum Up

We know you love your vacuum, and we love our vacuums too. We depend on our vacuums to help us clean so many messes in our Salt Lake City homes. But there are some things you shouldn’t use your vacuum to clean up. What is it that is unsafe to vacuum up? The experts at Vacuums 360 will tell you.

  1. Liquids: Never vacuum up water or any other type of liquid with your vacuum cleaner. Mixing water with electricity is a recipe for disaster. At best, you would need vacuum cleaner repair; at worst, you could electrocute yourself. Manufacturers make vacuum cleaners that are specially designed to vacuum up water and other liquids. The best known is probably Shop-Vac, but there are other brands out there as well.While you can vacuum pool water with a wet/dry vacuum, it would take a long time. Wet/dry vacuums usually hold about five to 10 gallons of water, and most home pools hold more than 10,000 gallons of water, so while you could technically clean your pool with a wet/dry vacuum, you probably wouldn’t want to.

    One exception would be if you wanted to vacuum a particular area. For instance, if someone vomited in your pool, you could quickly remove it with a wet/dry vacuum, limiting the spread of bacteria.

    Although wet/dry vacuums are designed to safely vacuum liquids, the risk of electrocution is not eliminated with these devices. That’s why you should always plug your wet/dry vac into a GFCI outlet to protect yourself. These devices will cut power in dangerous situations.

    Also, even though we say you can vacuum “liquids” with a wet/dry vac, we mean safe liquids like water and juice. You can use a wet/dry vac to vacuum up urine, but never vacuum flammable liquids like gasoline. Your vacuum could easily explode.

    If you accidentally vacuum up something wet, turn your vacuum off, unplug it and bring it into Vacuums 360 to see if you need vacuum repair.

  2. Bugs: Vacuuming up bugs does not kill them; it simply moves them inside your vacuum cleaner.Depending on what type of bug you just vacuumed, you could be making the situation worse. For instance, if you vacuumed up a spider, you probably won’t see him again anytime soon. But if you vacuum up ants or roaches, they may continue to live in your vacuum bag, eating crumbs and other food scraps you may have vacuumed earlier.

    If someone in your household has head lice, vacuuming the furniture and carpeting every day is helpful. Lice can only live a day or two off the body, and will likely die in your vacuum. Bedbugs, however, can live a year or more without food. Fleas can live up to 100 days off the body. So if you are vacuuming up bedbugs or fleas, empty the vacuum bag immediately after and keep it outside of the house until you can dispose of it entirely.

  3. Sharp objects: Any sharp objects such as thumbtacks, nails, broken glass, etc., has the potential to tear holes in your vacuum bag and possibly get stuck in your vacuum’s moving parts. If this happens, you’ll need vacuum cleaner repair.Never vacuum up sharp objects. If you break a glass, pick up the biggest pieces and sweep up the small ones. You can vacuum after you have cleaned up all the visible pieces of glass — tiny shards are safe to vacuum up.
  4. Poisons: Powder insecticides, including boric acid, should not be vacuumed. That’s because it is possible for the vacuum to release some of the poison into the air, where people may inhale it.Additionally, any fine power, including baking soda, corn starch and diatomaceous earth, is unsafe to vacuum. That’s because the particles are so fine that they can pass right through the bag and infiltrate your vacuum’s motor. There, these powders will gum up the works and eventually cause you to need vacuum repair.
  5. Mouse droppings: Mouse droppings can be contaminated with hantavirus, which can be fatal to humans. Hantavirus is airborne — you contract it by breathing it in when you disturb the droppings. Sweeping mouse droppings is not safe, and vacuuming them blows the virus all over your home.If you find mouse droppings, you should wear a mask and gloves to clean them up. First, ventilate the area, if possible, by opening doors and windows. Next, pour bleach on the droppings and let it sit for five minutes. Then pick up the droppings with paper towels, seal them in a plastic bag and bring them outside your home.
  6. Anything hot: Many people have accidentally started house fires by vacuuming up lit cigarette butts, hot ashes, hot coals or other hot materials. Ashes should not be vacuumed up even when they are cool because they are too fine and powdery. They can damage your vacuum’s motor.Accidentally vacuuming up another hot item could start a fire inside your vacuum or melt parts of your vacuum. Vacuum cleaner repair is rarely possible in these circumstances.
  7. Live animals or people: You may have seen videos of people vacuuming their cats or dogs, but it’s best to be extra careful if you attempt this.First, most animals are afraid of the vacuum because it is loud. If your pet is not afraid of the vacuum and you want to try vacuuming their fur, get a special pet hair attachment — don’t use the attachments that came with your vacuum. You could injure your pet. And never vacuum small pets like guinea pigs, hamsters or gerbils. You could hurt them — or worse, suck them up into the vacuum.

    Don’t vacuum your own hair either. The suction may pull out more of your hair than you would like. Plus, your hair may get caught or tangled in the vacuum and you may have to cut it to get it out.

    You may have heard of ear wax vacuums, but these are special devices that are different from commercial vacuum cleaners. Never try to vacuum ear wax with a regular vacuum cleaner — you could seriously damage your eardrum.

  8. Anything moist or sticky: If you vacuum wet cat litter, wet pet food, mud, candy, etc., it could get stuck inside your vacuum cleaner’s hose or bag and clog it. Even if the item makes its way to the bag, it can get moldy inside the vacuum bag, and the next time you turn on your vacuum, you could blow invisible mold spores around your home.

We hope this has been valuable advice to you about what not to vacuum up at your home. We want you to use your vacuum safely to keep your home clean.

If, however, you ever accidentally vacuum up an unsafe substance, don’t hesitate to bring your machine in for vacuum cleaner repair. Vacuums 360 is the leading vacuum repair shop in Salt Lake City.

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