5 Things NOT to Vacuum

While it's tempting to use your vacuum to clean up all your spills and messes, some things are just not meant to be vacuumed. Sure, it's easy and convenient, but it isn’t worth putting your vacuum cleaner out of commission. To keep your vacuum running properly, you should never try to vacuum up these 5 messes:

1. Large Pieces of Glass:

This is an extra bad idea if your vacuum uses a bag to collect debris. The glass shards can easily puncture the bag, and then you have dust and dirt spewing back onto the floor you just cleaned. Of course, that's if the glass actually makes its way to the bag and doesn't get stuck in the vacuum hose. If this happens, it can be frustrating and risky to dislodge the glass. Even if it doesn't get stuck, glass is sharp and will damage the interior of your vacuum.

While it's easy to simply vacuum up broken glass, it's not the best idea. We recommend using a broom to clean up the large pieces and then using a damp paper towel to clean up any remaining pieces.

2. Fine Dust:

“But isn't that exactly what a vacuum is supposed to pick up?” Well yes, but not extremely fine dust and debris. Posthole dust bunnies are okay, however, things like sawdust and other tiny particles should really be handled by a utility vacuum, not your everyday vacuum cleaner. Not only does it put more strain on your motor to vacuum such small particles, but they may actually be too fine to be caught in your vacuum's filter. Which means rather than cleaning up the dust, you may just be re-distributing it around the room.

We recommend that you use a broom to clean up any fine dust to ensure that your vacuum is safe and that your home is properly cleaned.

3. Wet Food:

Vacuuming up wet anything with your household vacuum is a no-no. Vacuums aren’t built to withstand moisture, so anything from water to spaghetti sauce can be damaging, and remember, moisture and electricity don't mix. While the risk is low, there is a possibility you could get shocked or electrocuted when vacuuming wet or damp messes. To make things even worse, foods can actually spoil inside of your vacuum cleaner, turning the air exhaust into a compost-scented air freshener, gross.

Instead, use a paper towel to clean up any wet food messes. If you frequently need to clean up large food messes, consider investing in a wet/dry vacuum.

4. Fireplace Ashes:

While we all love getting cozy by the fire, the leftover ashes can make a mess. It seems like a perfect job for our household vacuum, but stop, it's not! The ashes can retain heat for days at a time and vacuuming them up can not only damage your vacuum but may even pose a fire risk. Additionally, like fine dust, fireplace ashes are often too small to get caught in your filter and are instead spread around the room through the exhaust.

Instead of using your household vacuum, it's best to let the ashes cool for four days and then use a utility vacuum or a broom to clean up the mess. If you are using a broom, consider covering the ashes with wet coffee grounds before sweeping them up to avoid inhaling potentially harmful dust.

5. Small Metal Objects:

Small metal objects (Coins, paper clips, thumbtacks, etc.) are a pain to pick up by hand, and good luck sweeping them up without getting frustrated. Sadly though, your vacuum is not the right tool for the job either. These items can shred up your vacuum, breaking apart pieces of plastic in its interior.

We recommend picking up anything that isn't dust, dirt, or hair by hand before breaking out your vacuum cleaner. While it may be tedious, it will help your vacuum perform better and last longer.


A vacuum cleaner is a great way to clean up most messes around the home, but there are many messes that you shouldn’t use it for. If you aren’t sure if your vacuum is the right tool for the job, make sure to always double-check before you put your vacuum at risk. Even though many modern vacuums have a wide array of fancy features, they aren't indestructible and can be expensive to replace, which is why it's important to keep yours in tip-top shape.

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