A vacuum cleaner is an indispensable household appliance that makes cleaning a breeze. They make cleaning easier and more efficient by quickly and effectively removing dirt, dust, and debris from carpets, floors, and upholstery.
With its powerful suction, it quickly removes dirt, dust, and debris from various surfaces in our homes. But not everything can be safely cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.
It’s important to know what items should be avoided to keep the vacuum cleaner in good condition and to prevent potential harm to yourself and the environment.
What shouldn’t I clean with a vacuum cleaner?
A vacuum cleaner’s powerful suction can cause damage to certain items such as fragile items, delicate fabrics, electronics and electrical cords, and large debris.
This not only puts our belongings at risk but can also damage the vacuum cleaner itself. By understanding what items to avoid cleaning with a vacuum cleaner, we can ensure that our cleaning process is safe and effective.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories.
1. Fragile Items
Fragile items like glass objects, ceramic items, or delicate ornaments must be handled with care while cleaning.
The suction power of a vacuum cleaner can easily cause damage to these items, so it is important to avoid cleaning them with a vacuum cleaner.
You can use our Vacuum cleaner suction power calculator to calculate for your vacuum cleaner.
Vases, figurines, mirrors, and other glass objects can easily crack or break if they come into contact with the vacuum cleaner. Cleaning these items with a vacuum cleaner can cause irreparable damage.
If you need to clean up broken glass, it’s best to use a broom and dustpan or a damp cloth to pick up the pieces.
Mugs, plates, vases, and other ceramic items are delicate and can easily be damaged by the suction power of a vacuum cleaner. Chips or cracks can be formed on these items if cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.
Delicate ornaments made of glass, ceramic, or crystal must not be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner’s suction power can cause these items to break or shatter, resulting in permanent damage.
2. Soft, Delicate, or Upholstery Fabrics
Vacuum cleaners are designed to have strong suction to remove dirt and debris from surfaces. However, this suction can be too powerful for delicate fabrics like silk or velvet.
The strong suction can damage the fabric, causing it to stretch, tear, or lose its soft texture.
Clothing made of delicate fabrics like silk, lace, or chiffon must not be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. The suction power of the vacuum cleaner can cause tears, holes, or other types of damage to the fabric.
Upholstery fabric is delicate and prone to snags from the bristles on a vacuum cleaner brush head. These snags can compromise their strength and durability over time if not treated carefully.
For upholstery fabrics such as velvet or chenille, use an attachment specifically made for upholstery cleaning (or have them professionally cleaned).
Soft toys made of plush material can easily be damaged by the suction power of a vacuum cleaner. Cleaning these toys with a vacuum cleaner can cause the material to rip or become tangled.
Drapes and Curtains
Drapes and curtains can easily get tangled or pulled by the vacuum cleaner, causing damage to the fabric. Vacuuming curtains can damage them by snagging on any loose threads or stitches, causing rips and tears.
It can also cause the fabric to lose shape over time and reduce its life span. Instead, use an upright vacuum to remove dust from curtains without damaging them.
Moreover, if you need to clean these fabrics, it’s best to use a soft brush attachment or to gently brush them to remove any dirt or dust.
3. Electronics and Electrical Cords
Never use a vacuum cleaner on electrical cords as it could damage the insulation around the wires and lead to electrical shocks or other dangers.
Televisions can easily be damaged by the suction power of a vacuum cleaner, especially if it comes into direct contact with the screen.
Cleaning televisions with a vacuum cleaner can cause cracks, scratches, or other types of damage to the screen.
Laptops and other electronic devices must not be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. The suction power of the vacuum cleaner can cause damage to the device or its components.
Cleaning these items with a vacuum cleaner can cause the device to malfunction.
The delicate parts of lamps can easily be damaged by vacuuming, so it’s best to avoid this task altogether. Dust lamps with a slightly damp cloth or duster instead. Make sure it’s unplugged first.
Extension cords and other electrical cords must not be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. The suction power of the vacuum cleaner can cause damage to the cord.
Cleaning these items with a vacuum cleaner can cause the cord to fray or become misshapen.
For cleaning these items, use a damp cloth for quick cord cleaning instead of risking an electric shock.
4. Sharp Objects and Large Debris
Sharp objects and large debris like glass, nails, rocks, stones, or toys with small parts can cause serious damage to a vacuum cleaner. They can puncture the hose, damage the motor, or become lodged in the machine.
To avoid these problems, it’s important to remove any large debris and sharp objects from the floor or surface before vacuuming.
Rocks and Stones
Rocks and stones can easily damage the vacuum cleaner, especially if they get caught in the suction mechanism.
Cleaning large debris like rocks and stones with a vacuum cleaner can cause the machine to become damaged or clogged.
Toys with Small Parts
Toys with small parts like Legos or action figures can easily become entangled in the suction mechanism of a vacuum cleaner, causing damage to the machine.
Cleaning toys with small parts with a vacuum cleaner can also cause the small parts to become lost or scattered.
5. Hot Ash or Embers
Hot ash or embers from a fireplace or wood stove should never be vacuumed. The heat from these items can cause serious damage to the vacuum cleaner and pose a fire hazard.
Before attempting to clean ash or embers, it’s important to let them cool completely. Once they are cool, they can be removed using a shovel or dustpan.
6. Wet or Sticky Substances
Wet or sticky substances like spilled liquids, gum, crayons, and stickers should never be vacuumed. These substances can clog the nozzle on your vacuum cleaner and damage the internal components in the process.
Moreover, vacuums are generally not designed to pick up liquids. They can cause electrical short circuits within the vacuum motor if they come into contact with any of its components.
If you need to clean up a spill, it’s best to use a sponge, cloth, or paper towel to soak up the liquid or remove the sticky substance.
7. Chemicals or Toxic Substances
Chemicals or toxic substances like pesticides or cleaning products should never be vacuumed. The fumes from these substances can be hazardous to your health, and vacuuming can spread toxic particles into the air.
If you need to clean up chemicals or toxic substances, it’s best to use gloves, protective gear, and proper disposal methods to ensure your safety and the safety of the environment.
Why is it important to know what not to vacuum?
Knowing what not to vacuum is important for several reasons:
- Vacuuming the wrong items can damage your vacuum cleaner itself. Vacuums use powerful suction that can easily cause things like small objects or loose strings to get caught in the broom head or suction chamber. This could potentially damage the internal components of your machine.
- Vacuuming certain items can lead to them being spread around the house or even sucked into other household appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators. This could potentially pose a safety hazard or cause significant damage to these machines (as well as their contents).
- Some materials may be too delicate for the powerful suction of a vacuum cleaner. Understanding what should stay off-limits will help protect those items from being damaged or destroyed by the power of your machine.
How do I know what materials my vacuum is made out of?
If you’re unsure about what kind of materials your particular model of vacuum cleaner is made out of or which parts might be vulnerable to damage from certain substances, it’s best to consult the owner’s manual for your specific model before using it on any material in question.
The manual will provide information about which materials are safe for use in your machine and which ones should be avoided at all costs.
What should I use instead for these items?
Once you know which items or surfaces should never be cleaned by a regular household vacuum cleaner, then what do you use instead? Fortunately, there are some alternatives:
Brooms or mops
For the surfaces such as floors or counters, brooms, and mops are great tools for cleaning up dust and debris. In addition, there won’t be any risk of damaging any parts inside your vacuum cleaner.
Moreover, a broom can be used with a dustpan to clean large debris like rocks, stones, or toys with small parts.
Paper towels/cloth rags
For sticky substances that need to be wiped away immediately (like spilled food or drinks), paper towels or cloth rags can quickly take care of them.
You don’t have to worry about damaging any parts inside your machine.
If you need to clean small areas where standard vacuums won’t fit (like corners or crevices) then a handheld dustbuster may be able to help get rid of dust and other messes.
A hand-held dustbuster can be used to clean small items like glass objects, delicate fabrics, or electronics and electrical cords.
Additionally, it will help you get rid of worrying about damaging anything else in your home.
Soft Brush or Cloth
A soft brush or cloth can be used to clean delicate fabrics like clothing, drapes, or curtains.
Moreover, when cleaning near electronics like televisions or laptops, use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the area.
For heavy-duty spills that require more suction power than what a regular household model offers (such as flooded basements), wet/dry vacs may be necessary since they’re specially designed for this type of situation.
Also, learn how to dry carpets after cleaning quickly.
Knowing what not to clean with a vacuum cleaner is just as important as knowing what you should clean with one. It’s important to be mindful of it to keep the machine in good condition and to prevent potential harm to yourself and the environment.
Remembering which tasks require alternative methods, you’ll be able to keep both yourself and your vacuum machine safe while continuing to enjoy all the benefits they offer for an effective and efficient cleaning experience.