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vacuuming soilPhoto: Getty Images

Vacuuming is by far my most dreaded task -- the moving of the furniture, clearing of surfaces -- and then there's all the dog hair to contend with (and the dog, whose arch nemesis is the vacuum cleaner).

But once I have that vacuum in hand, I've been known to suction whatever's in my path. I admit, I've vacuumed quite a few items that I now regret having sucked up in my haste.

So I've compiled a list of five items you should never run your vacuum over. (No, not even if you "didn't see it.")

1. Soil
Not only can soil stain carpets and/or rugs, but wet soil can become embedded in the surface itself, causing a bigger mess to clean up later. Instead, try this tip for cleaning up wet soil from your carpet: Using a butter knife, scrape the mess from surface of your carpet directly into a dustpan or other collection device.

cereal on floorGrab a broom and a mop for this mess -- not a vacuum! Photo: Getty Images

2. Fresh food
Feeding time with the baby got out of hand this morning, and you now have a floor full of milk-soaked Cheerios. Sure, it may seem smart to vacuum the mess, but chances are, that milk won't smell fantastic when caught in your HEPA container eight days later.

3. Lipstick
I know, I know. Who would vacuum their lipstick? I did, once. By accident, of course, but the repercussions were enough to ensure I never do the same again. Cosmetics are known to smear and melt, and they'll do the same in your vacuum, causing anything else you vacuum immediately afterward to miraculously turn the same bright shade of your new Revlon lipstick hue.

4. Paperclips
Everyone's vacuumed a paperclip or two in their lifetime, right? Like loose hardware, paperclips are a death trap of for your vacuum and should always be picked up by hand.

5. Loose hardware
Nails, tacks and screws can severely damage your vacuum's motor. A good rule of thumb? Avoid vacuuming any area of the garage. Instead, tackle that area with a simple broom and dustpan.

Keep metal items out of your vacuum. Photo: jupiterimages

Long story short? Your vacuum isn't a trash can -- use it wisely!

  • Blair

    Or, just use a 5 hp shop type vacuum for the "messier" jobs, after all, that's what they are designed for...

  • Laceyma

    I agree Blair, the only thing better than my 2.0 hp shop vac are the Magic Eraser and Comcast DVR, I can't live without them.

  • Wish Belkin

    A one gallon shop-vac costs less that twenty bucks and it will suck up anything. It'll even drink a gallon of milk out of a carpet.

  • Eric

    When I was laid off from my job back in December, I lost all my benefits. With no health insurance, I needed to find a new provider, and fast! That's when I heard about 2insure4less ( Http:// ) The team at 2insure4less was able to provide me with quotes for a few different providers and worked with me to find the one that best suited me. A month ago I got sick with the flu. I'm so thankful to have found the website when I did or I wouldn't have been able to afford the doctor's visits or the medication prescribed!

  • King David

    Oh, I thought this was 5 things you should never vacuum, like the fish tank, the cat, the dog, the baby, various body parts, etc.

  • deb

    I used to vacuum up my cat's cat liter that bits landed all over even though a rug was underneath and protected. That darn cat liter smelled up that vacuum in no time. Cleaned it, changed bags (of course) and filters.. Smell wouldn't go away. I would smell that cat liter in all rooms I vacuumed no matter what I tried to freshen it up.
    Guess what? I don't do that anymore, and Neither should you.
    Great day to all.

  • andy

    You forgot to mention needles from a Christmas Tree. That plugs up vacuums worst that anything I can think of.

  • Patrick

    You should never vacuum the hair off a shedding cat. They really hate the experience.

  • shempbat

    Not So, My girl Mugsey LOVES to be vacuumed. But only with a small Shark vac. She runs like her butt's on fire if I turn on the Bissel with the floor brush turned on. LOL!!!

  • King David

    it's really NOT a good thing to vacuum canaries or parakeets either!! lol

  • Linda

    I have several cats, but one of them LOVES to be vacuumed. He even turns over for his belly to be sucked HAHAHA Really unusual for sure!!

  • r8verboi

    Unless the cat is deaf! Then the vibrations from the vacuum, the kneading of the coat by the upholstrey attachment and removing loose's like a day at the Kitty Spa! lol

  • balugablue21

    don't forget about drywall dust

  • sunny

    I bought a $180 vacuum cleaner at the Goodwill Store for $20 because someone had filled it FULL of drywall dust.
    It took me 3 days.
    I had to dismantle the thing entirely and clean every nook and cranny but once I got it all out, the vacuum worked fine.
    Someone just looked at it and said "No way..: and threw it out.
    It was a great $20 bargain for me!

  • Sandra2012

    Now I know why people have always called me smart. LOL

  • chas

    Ok Who Would Vacuum a Cat ? and What would make them want to find out if they liked it ??

  • shempbat

    The first time I did it was when she came up and started rubbing her face on the wand while I was vacuuming!

  • Happy Camper

    You should also add, "Computer Circuit Boards" When you open your computer and are cleaning it out, it is often tempting to grab a vacuum to suck the dust from the inside of the circuit boards. This can be a fatal mistake, I did it once and it ruined my PC. I later learned and should have realized that the static electricity caused by the vacuum fried my mother board. I suppose that is why they make the cans of spray air to blow the dust from the PC rather than using a vacuum.

  • guy

    This guy has no idea what he is saying. Number one should be a cat. Believe me, I know.

  • Tracey

    Add baby powder.
    My son emptied a whole container on his rug. I vacuumed it up and then realized the next morning there was a thin layer of the stuff all over every surface and inside every tiny crevice of the whole room. Smelled lovely, but how annoying!
    Next day vacuumed another room, but a puff of powder warned me more was in the bag. I put in a new filter, emptied the receptacle, put the machine on the porch, turned the thing on, and let it run for 30 min. It still is a bit of a problem months later.


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