Can Vacuum Cleaners Negatively Affect Your Health?

The quick answer is yes. The reasons are the interesting part.

You may have noticed that when you vacuum your home, your machine might kick up a lot of dust and particles. If your vacuum cleaner happens to be a poorly maintained, older model of vacuum, there is a good chance it might be causing just as much harm as good.

Vacuum cleaners can collect dust and particles in their parts, and if not cleaned or maintained regularly, can release those particles back into the air during cleaning. Things like spores, bacteria and other nasty stuff can be included in this.

Basically, the best things to do to ensure that your vacuum cleaning is actually having a positive impact on your health are:

  • Buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
  • Clean your vacuum regularly
  • Clean any filters and parts that collect dust regularly
  • Clean our house regularly
  • Clean tough spots (under furniture or behind furniture) regularly

Regularity seems to be the key concept here. Don’t lapse on cleaning or vacuum maintenance, and buy a decent vacuum (it doesn’t have to be the high-end stuff) with a HEPA filter.

Another tip that I use, personally, is to run my air purifier when vacuuming.

I like to compare the air in my apartment to the water in my fish tank. Except you can’t see what’s in the air whereas you can see what’s in the water (usually).

If you stir up the sand in the bottom of my fish tank, the water becomes foggy, and the filters in the fish tank need to work harder to clear the fog in the water. The same thing happens to the air in your home when you vacuum. The vacuum cleaning process will likely kick up dust and particles into the air. Except you probably won’t be able to see them. If you have strong in-home air purification, the air will be cleared quickly, such as in the case where you might have an air purifier connected to your central heating or cooling system. A stand-alone air purifier can also be used to clear the air after vacuuming as well.

The idea of an air purifier might not be as necessary in a very low-dust home or environment. But if you have pets, kids, or lots of indoor-to-outdoor traffic and vice-versa, you might have a tendency to kick up a lot of dust when cleaning. If you need some tips on picking a good stand alone air purifier, check out our air purifier reviews.

As far as health/vacuuming goes, the bottom line is this: care for your equipment and clean regularly. If you have really old or bad vacuuming equipment, consider replacing it. If you are having problems with dust after vacuuming, consider further air filtration. Or maybe consider getting rid of your carpets, seriously. Hard floors don’t nearly promote the dust and air related health problems that carpets and rugs can.

More at: CBS News

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