Caution: Objects In Your Vacuum Cleaner May Be More Damaging Than They Appear

September 21, 2018
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There are some things in life you should just never do. For examples – touch your tongue to a frozen pole; poke a sleeping bear; tell your mother-in-law how you really feel, etc.

On that same list (albeit a bit further down) are things you should never suction up with a vacuum cleaner. Spills happen and should be cleaned up quickly. That doesn’t mean you need to break or damage your lean, mean cleaning machine in the process. Check out this website for more information about vacuum cleaners and read below.

Guest Post, Objects In Your Vacuum Cleaner May Be More Damaging Than They Appear, Home and Living, Home Aids, Cleaning Tips, All-Around Pinay Mama Blog, SJ Valdez

Here’s a list of things to definitely not suck up with your vacuum cleaner.

Dead Flowers

They were once pretty. Now they’re lying in pieces on your windowsills and floors. This is manual labor, my friends – pick them up with your hands so they don’t clog up your hoses or stick in your roller.


It’s so, so tempting to want to break out the vacuum cleaner after dirty boots storm into the house and mess up your floors. Resist! Wet soil can cause stains (you have no idea what else is in it, including oil, etc.). And running the vacuum cleaner over the mess can actually have the opposite of the desired effect by grinding the dirt further into your carpet piles. It can also damage your motor. Wait until it dries/hardens; break it up with a pumice stone and then vacuum.

Ashes to Ashes

You’d think it was a good idea to use the vacuum cleaner to suck up ashes from your fireplace. Nope! Ash is so small it will basically just get thrust right back out into your room, only this time, spreading further. Try a damp cloth instead.

Dust to Dust

Sawdust and drywall dust are nasty to clean. Like ash, they basically will get thrown back out through your vacuum cleaner and spread around your house so you have to sweep them up with a broom, use a damp cloth and/or an industrial-rated shop vac.

Wet foods

This seems obvious but sometimes…we forget. Spices are one thing. If you change your bag and clean out your hoses or containers, dry spills can be ok to suction up with your vacuum cleaner. But do not suck up rice, vegetable pieces, tuna and cookie crumbs into your machine. Why? Mold is the biggest reason. Clogging and damage is not far behind. Use a broom and/or your hands to get the majority picked up before running your vacuum cleaner. And make sure you clean out your filters, containers, and hoses even then to avoid mold or mildew issues that can cause serious health problems.

It’s Not A Shocker

Electrocution is not on my bucket list. I doubt it is on yours as well, so don’t suck up liquids – at all – ever – with your vacuum cleaner. If you don’t get zapped, your machine sure will take damage. There are dry/wet vacs out there made for these types of scenarios. Plus mops and Swiffer products and towels and, you know … things that don’t get you shocked.

Anything Named “Joe”…

…especially used coffee grounds. This kind of goes into the “duh” category with liquids and wet food but it’s worth repeating. Used coffee grounds are wet. They will damage your machines and lead to mildew and bacterial growths. Suck it up, figuratively, and use a cloth and dustpan by hand.

A Shred Of Logic

Fine. You have a paper shredder. We did, too. Sometimes the trashcan tips over and sometimes it overflows. The bottom line is that shredded paper clogs vacuum cleaners and can cause belts to snap. The convenience of an electronic shredder will be negated by the cost of a replacement vacuum or repair bill, so be logical and pick the shreds up by hand.

Clumps of hair

Hair has a similar effect as shredded paper only often that effect is worse. Hair is hard to clean up, especially when it’s coiled tightly around your vacuum’s roller brush. Drano doesn’t even always unclog hair from your drains, and that’s a chemical made to do just that. Sweep hair up with a broom, use a shop vac that can handle the task, or get a pumice stone and rub it along the hair-balled area.

Don’t Give Your Vacuum Cleaner A Makeover

Makeup melts, my friends. Vacuums get heated. All those products that make you so beautiful will destroy your vacuum cleaner and possibly stain your carpets. Use your hand or other techniques but never ever suction up makeup products into your vacuum cleaner.

A Penny For Your Thoughts?

My thoughts are that you should not suck coins into your vacuum cleaner. That goes for small toys as well. Granted, you likely know this and try to avoid it. So be prepared and run a safety check on your floors before running your vacuum cleaner. If you are absolutely not sure you can attach a nylon stocking tightly to a hose attachment and run that over the suspect areas first. Items will still get sucked up but the nylons serve as a filter that they can’t get through.

Striking A Cord (sic)

Back to basics we go. Don’t run over your power cables. If they get snagged the wrong way they can fray and short out. They can electrocute you and break your machine. At best they can wrap around your roller brush and snap the belt. Just…be careful and watch where you’re cleaning to avoid all cables.

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