Vacuum Cleaner Mistakes

And How to Avoid Them

Best vacuum cleaner
Travis Wise/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

My vacuum cleaner is probably my favorite cleaning tool in the house. Vacuuming the surfaces in my home gets them clean without a lot of effort on my part whether it is vacuuming furniture, baseboards, or carpets.  When there is dirt, with a flick of a switch my vacuum cleaner makes it disappear.  But as much as we rely on our vacuum cleaners, we are bound to make a few mistakes with them.  Try to avoid these mistakes that can cause injuries or damage to surfaces and the vacuum cleaner.

Don't let fingers, hair, and clothing get too near the brushes and openings.

If you have to turn the vacuum over and look at the brush roll, turn off the vacuum cleaner and unplug it. The brush roll on a vacuum cleaner can rip out hair from your head, damage clothes, and injure body parts. Take caution and don't get anything near the openings on your vacuum cleaner. If you allow children to use a vacuum cleaner, these safety warnings need to be part of your cleaning lessons as well.

Don't use a faulty extension cord.

Extension cords have a wattage listed or an amp rating to help you know what types of things they can power. Too often vacuum cleaners get used with extension cords that are not designed for them. Vacuum cleaners can be damaged and fire risk is increased when an improper extension cord is used.

Don't carry a vacuum cleaner by the cord.

Carrying a vacuum cleaner by the cord or pulling the cord are big mistakes, too.

Yes, this includes trying to pull the cord from the wall socket so that you don't have to go over and unplug it. Damage can occur quickly to a cord that is being abused. Vacuum cleaners with damaged cords should never be used. The risk of electrocution or fire is just too high. Be sure to inspect your ​vacuum cords monthly to be sure they are safe to use.

To be safe, make sure that the vacuum cleaner is off and in the stationary position when it is being plugged in or unplugged.

Don't use an indoor vac outside, or a dry vac on a wet surface.

Don't use an indoor vacuum cleaner outside. Indoor vacuum cleaners aren't meant to be used on outside surfaces. Similarly, never use a dry vacuum cleaner on wet surfaces. There are indoor/outdoor vacuum cleaners and wet/dry vacuum cleaners that are designed to handle these kinds of jobs, but if you use the wrong type, you will ruin or shorten the life of your vacuum cleaner.

Don't pick up hard items.

Don't want to take the time to pick up the penny on the floor? Think again before you vacuum over it. Hard and sharp objects can chip or crack the fan blade on your vacuum cleaner. Don't knowingly vacuum hard and sharp objects. Be sure to scan the room for these objects before you vacuum. It's easy to vacuum over it and hope for the best.  It's a lot more difficult to hand over the money for a new machine.

Don't pick up powders.

A little dust and powder will not hurt your vacuum cleaner, but a lot has the ability to clog your filter and eventually block the suction of your vacuum cleaner.  With a blocked filter you run the risk of overheating the motor.

  Outdoor and wet/dry vacuums are much more capable of dealing with a lot of dust or powder.  If you don't have one of those, sweep up as much as you can and then vacuum the rest. So the next time someone spills a ton of flour or a bottle of baby powder, reach for the broom first.

Don't fail to maintain your vacuum cleaner.

It only takes a little bit of maintenance to clean your vacuum cleaner, including the brush roll, washing/replacing filters, and emptying the dirt container or bag. But not doing it regularly will ruin your vacuum cleaner.  Double check the manual and instructions for maintenance.  If your manual is long gone, do an internet search for your vacuum model and chances are there will be a manual online for it. It's also important to clean out clogs that may happen in the hoses and suction pathway of the vacuum cleaner.

  This puts less wear and tear on the engine.