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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!

  • morris garrison

    what is the model? i also have three dogs, all huskie mixes, and my bissel clogs every time i use it, and i have to take it apart w/ a screwdriver to de-fur it!

  • TeeJay

    My nine year old daughter once vacuumed up puppy barf from the floor with our new Dyson sweeper. One day I got in the closet and smelled something putrid, checked the vaccum cleaner, confronted my daughter and just as I thought she had cleaned up the mess. It was hard to get the smell out of the brush that she had used. YUK.. Lesson learned..

  • LisaK

    You know what is sad is that some people actually needed this list. Some individuals never thought they should not attempt to vacuum up hardware or nails and stuff. LOL

  • Tim

    Does anyone know how to spell properly anymore? Did you uneducated, public school goers not learn about a dictionary or spell check? It floors me that no one knows proper English these days. How utterly embarrassing for yourselves!!!!

  • Debbie0913

    And never, never, ever, ever vacuum up peanuts! I did and the hot motor of the vacuum turned the peanuts into peanut butter. Needless to say, I ruined the vacuum cleaner and had to buy a new one.

  • Jack

    a simple fix to avoid vacuuming hardware is a piece of magnetic strip glued to the front of the Vacuum cleaner it will pick up screws nail and paperclips before they get sucked into the vac, at least it has for me

  • Tom

    OK,, NEVER EVER try to clean a mouse cage with the mice still in it. My daughter still hasn't recovered at the sight and sound of her 2 cute little mice getting sucked up the hose.. Dang, what a ride that must have been...Anyway people,, just kidding !! (I really didn't suck up her mice, just wish I could see your faces when you read it !!)

  • Ed

    One thing you NEVER want to vacuum, is a pile of dog poop. Years ago, our new "shelter" pup took a #2 in the corner of our living room, on our dark colored carpet. It was also in a rather dark spot in the family room. I was ready to throw the sweeper away, but my dear mother took it home and spent HOURS cleaning it out!!

  • Gina Kramm

    For picking up small metal items (pins, screws & nails) in a hurry don't underestimate the power of an oldspeaker magnet. It works great!

  • vacuumer

    well most of this is common sense, but the article was written for a reason, i read it because i thought i may have missed something, but no. Obviously theres ppl out there vacuuming crazy *&$#. Good Luck 2 u, hope u took notes!

  • meghan

    no effin duh your not suppose to vacuum over these things. if you do then your just being lazy.

  • michelle

    or packing peanuts,never ever vacuum packing peanuts

  • Christie

    Once when my daughter was just big enough to figure out how to get out of the crib, I noticed it was terribly quite in her room. When I opened the door, everything, including her was white! The only thing with color in it was her little black eyes! She had gotten the baby powder off the changing table and was squeezing it out in a cloud! I got out my trusty Electrolux canister vacuum and went to work. It took nearly two days to get all the powder up and several bags. Unfortunately, we had a wreck years later with our SUV and travel trailer. The Electrolux had a fatal wound where it was penetrated through the side. It was 21 years old. It was the best vacuum I ever owned. Now I have two vacuums, a Miele and a Riccar. They do a good job, but not as good as that old Electrolux!


    What you all need is a RAINBOW VACUUM it can handel all the 5 don'ts an alot more with ease. ( also does air purification for people with allergies / asthma while it cleans)

  • bwj

    don't attempt to use a vacuum cleaner to siphon gas out of the cars fuel tank, unless you like spending time in the ER if you even live.

  • TexasBiotch

    another thing not to vacuum up is the twist ties from a loaf of bread or coins of any kind, I learned this the hard way

  • molly2300

    Wow so many memories with the vacuum! What about number six little cars!

  • Billy Bingo

    #6 The family pet

  • A World of Morons

    Those hints were really, really good - and really, really needed by this generation of stupids that needs to have instructions in front of them on how to open a milk carton. Lord have mercy!

  • deb

    Why are you even reading this if you are so above others? Had to respond to your blog. I can't stand people who are so much smarter than me. (yeppppp!)


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