Yes, You Really Do Need to Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner—Here's How
Warning: Things are about to get pretty gross.
You may think you’re a diligent cleaner: Your home is always tidy, you clean your surfaces every day using organic and/or all-natural products, you dust, and even vacuum every few days. Yes, it appears things may be on the up and up—until you learn what’s lurking in your vacuum cleaner, and just how grimy it really is.
The acknowledgement that vacuum cleaners need their own cleaning attention is nothing new (thanks to Monica Geller). According to a 2008 study by researchers at the University of Arizona, common vacuums and their brushes are absolutely smothered in germs and bacteria. Of the vacuums tested, 50 percent contained fecal bacteria,13 percent contained E. coli, and every single vacuum tested contained mold.
But wait, there’s more. A 2013 study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology found more mold, the clostridium botulinum toxin gene, and bacteria carrying antibiotic resistance genes.
“Our results show that although vacuum operation is typically brief, vacuum emissions can release appreciable quantities of human-derived bacteria,” the researchers wrote. “Such emissions could potentially lead to inhalation of infectious or allergenic aerosols." And the effect of mold- and bacteria-laden dust can be even worse for those suffering from allergies.
Kind of makes you want to throw out your vacuum and start sweeping again right? Well, hold your horses as there may be a better way. All you need to do is put in a little elbow grease to clean your vacuum every now and then to eliminate germs there too.