Things you should not clean using a vacuum cleaner

Our ever-increasing dependability on vacuuming for precision cleaning has made vacuum cleaners the most sought after and versatile cleaning tool.

It may be tempting to use a vacuum cleaner as a quick fix solution for cleaning any spills or surfaces with refreshing ease. 

However, vacuuming is not the solution for your every cleaning need. Some things are not designed to be cleaned by vacuuming. 

Let’s discuss the things we should not clean using a vacuum cleaner.

Large pieces of glass 

The broken pieces of glass pose big risks to the health of your vacuum cleaner.

The glass pieces with their sharp edges may scratch up the interiors of the vacuum. 

They may also land a heavy blow as they can puncture the bag of vacuum that requires expensive repairs.

Some of these pieces also get lodged in the hose and cause its clogging. 

Thus, rather than vacuuming sweep the area using a broom to clean the pieces of broken glass. 

Take a broom and sweep away the bigger pieces of glass. Now pick up the tiny pieces using a wet paper towel or a piece of bread that flawlessly clean the area. 

Water and wet surfaces

It may seem strange but you can’t put your average vacuum cleaner to vacuum water or any wet surfaces. 

Vacuuming any water spills or wet surfaces would run the risks of moisture buildup inside the vacuum. 

The trapped moisture and damped surroundings may result in the growth and spread of molds. 

The presence of moisture may also cause electrical malfunctioning that necessitates immediate repairs.

Moreover, the sucked water may produce a messy filthy mixture with dust, dirt, and garbage in the vacuum canister or bag.

To work around this problem, you may use wet/ dry vacuum cleaners that are engineered for cleaning the water spills or wet surfaces. 

Another traditional alternative is to use a microfiber cloth with good absorbent properties for wiping water and other wet surfaces

Wet foods

A kitchen is subjected to various kinds of food spills such as soggy cereals or spilled curries. 

These wet foods are not suitable for vacuuming as they present the risk of clogging the air way and lead to mildew growth due to moisture. 

Moreover, these foods may get rotten and produce a foul smell. It would lead to complex and messy cleaning issues.

For any wet foods, use a good absorbent microfiber cloth or paper towel for blotting the excess of the wetness of oil or liquids. Then pick up the residue with tissue or paper towel. 

Now mops the surface with your regular spinning mop or mopping cloth.

Fireplace hot ashes & fine dust

Never use your regular household vacuum cleaner to clean up the fireplace hot ashes and fine dust particles. 

These ashes and fine dust particles trap the heat generated during the fire and may lead to immense harm to the vacuum cleaner. 

These particles form a fine layer on the interiors of your vacuum, mix with the dirt and dust resulting in the clogging. 

Moreover, the ashes and fine particles are not captured by filters and blown away back into the circulating air. 

Wait for a few days to let the ashes cool down. Sweep away the ashes using a broom. Settle the fine dust by spraying any wet substance. 

Now use a wet/dry vacuum for cleaning the area.

Construction dust

The construction dust like the fine ashes particles is not meant to be vacuumed. 

These fine particles can create havoc for your vacuum cleaner by sticking to its components and paralyzing its functions.

Moreover, they may be blown back again into the air as they easily escaped the vacuum filters.

Clean the construction dust by sweeping it off the floor using a broom.


Vacuuming heavy and small items like coins is a risky affair. The coins can get stuck in the rotating brush or sucked up inside through suction.  

When sucked inside, these coins can break the small components of the vacuum cleaner. The coins can interfere with the vacuum’s motor and even rip open the bags.

Before you begin vacuuming, ensure to pick up any hard items like coins, small plastic pieces, safety pins, etc. 

Clean these items by dusting using a dry cloth or rinse them with water and wipe them off with a dry towel.   

Long Hair

What would you do if you see a bunch of hair lying in your bedroom? 

Before you quickly pick your vacuum cleaner for cleaning up the mess, resist the temptation.

Vacuuming the small strands of hair lying on the floor or carpets is perfectly fine. However, cleaning the heaps of long hair using your vacuum would lead to dire consequences.

The strands of long hair get entangled over your vacuum brush and clog its pathway. It hampers the efficiency of your vacuum. 

Instead, clean the clusters of long hair using a broom and dustpan.

If there are bunches of hair clogging your vacuum, remove it gently using a pair of scissors and an old toothbrush.

If you have a pet, we suggest getting a special vacuum cleaner for pet hair.

Cosmetics and Makeup

It’s ubiquitous to find your cosmetics and makeup items spilled on the carpet or floor when rushing through your makeup before going to the office or attending any function.

The moment you notice the make-up items like lipstick, foundation, eyeshadow, mascara, etc; spilled on your carpet, you need to clean them immediately.

Vacuuming these cosmetic items would further complicate the mess rather than cleaning it.

The vacuum brush may further spread the stain or spill on the carpet. It can create lasting stains on your carpets and spoils their beauty.

Being sticky, the cosmetic spills won’t get sucked up completely through suction. 

Even if they get sucked up, they create a mess within the vacuum and interfere with their normal functioning.

For cosmetic spills, you should use blotting paper to absorb as much stain as possible.

Use a cleaning solution prepared using white vinegar and baking soda to clean the stain.

Electrical Cords

The electrical cords are not meant to be vacuumed. What happens if you accidentally run your vacuum cleaner over the cords?

It would get stuck to the vacuum and you need to apply great force to remove it from the vacuum. It might also result in a tattered and twisted mass of wires.

You have to be careful about not running over cords while vacuuming.

If you come across the electrical cords while vacuuming, simply lift them and keep them aside.

Also, ensure that your vacuum cords are also safe and out of your vacuuming curve. You can also keep vacuum cords in place using vacuum clips.

Hard Objects

Avoid using a vacuum cleaner for cleaning hard objects. The small hard objects like marble pieces may get sucked up and lodge in the interiors of vacuum.

These hard objects may inflict serious damage to the vacuum machinery and even break their smaller components.  They cannot be removed easily if they reach deep into the interiors of your vacuum.

Therefore, you must not clean any hard objects using a vacuum cleaner. 

Instead, simply rinse them with water and a safe detergent solution. Dry them out with a towel or napkin.

Used coffee grounds

Cleaning wet coffee grounds is a painstakingly difficult task. However, you must not use your vacuum cleaner for cleaning them.

The wet coffee grounds are a paradise for the growth of mold. When vacuumed, they run the risk of mildew growth inside the vacuum.

The wet particles of coffee grounds stick to the interiors of vacuum clog the pipes and make it difficult to clean them.

Moreover, vacuuming the dry coffee particles may lead to the blockage of filters. 

They can also interfere with the normal functioning of the vacuum engine and hampers the efficiency of the vacuum cleaner.


If you have a large amount of spilled flour, it’s better to collect them manually using a big serving spoon and empty food storage container.

Vacuuming large quantities of flour would block the filters. The smaller flour particles stick to the engine of the vacuum and interfere with its normal functioning. 

They also create a filthy mess inside the vacuum and are even blown back into the air.

For a smaller amount of flour spills, you can use a vacuum cleaner. However, for cleaning a large quantity of flour, avoid vacuuming strictly. 

Soil, flowers, and leaves of house plants

The soil, dried flowers, and leaves of indoor plants make their way on your carpets or floors.

Vacuuming your carpets or floors in such a situation would only push the dirt deeper inside the carpet and makes it very tedious to clean them.

The leaves and flowers may choke the vacuum by blocking the filters or hose. 

Moreover, they may retain moisture and promote the growth of mold inside the vacuum. 

Avoid cleaning the soil, flowers, or leaves of houseplants using a vacuum cleaner.


Even though a vacuum cleaner is the most versatile cleaning tool, it has its limitations. 

Some things are better off cleaning without using a vacuum cleaner. 

Learning about the things you should not clean using a vacuum cleaner, would keep your vacuum cleaner safe and ensures mess-free cleaning.


Dolly Savla

Dolly is a part of the content creation team at Her strength lies in creating content about sports, fitness and lifestyle. Creating art, drinking coffee and reading books, makes her happy when not working with reviews.

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