Can You Vacuum Away Toxic Chemicals?
Vacuuming and dusting are just a chore that most of us put off until it’s absolutely necessary. After all, you know it’s time to vacuum and dust when you start seeing spots (or trails!) of dirt or dust. But, is that really the way it should be? Frequent vacuuming is much more important than you may have thought.
It’s not just for aesthetics. While vacuuming does definitely make the house look tidy, it’s also to clean your living area. Cleaning is traditionally just for removing unsightly dirt, in other words, for hygienic purposes. That’s great and very necessary, but there is another crucial element. Now that factories use heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and known carcinogenic substances in your household items, you need to worry about removing those particles too.
The particles I’m talking about are chemicals, such as VOCs and formaldehyde, released from your appliances, electronics, furniture, rugs, etc. These particles then mix with the dust mites, pet dander, and general dirt from shoes and wind to make a mean dust bunny. When you come in contact with this dust, you may be exposed to the chemicals too.
What are the most effective vacuum cleaners?
Now you need to make sure your vacuum is good for the job. Or, if you’re looking for a new vacuum, make sure you get an effective one. Here’s what makes a vacuum effective:
- The HEPA filter: It stands for “high-efficiency particulate air” filter. This is essential for making sure you’re removing all those toxins that are mixed in with your dust. It’s a mechanical air filter that works by forcing air through a fine mesh. This traps the harmful particles – things like pollen, tobacco smoke, pet dander, chemicals, etc.
- Strong suction: The vacuum needs to be strong enough to lift the dust and dirt out of the corners on your hard floor. But if you’re vacuuming your carpets, it needs to be able to suck the particles out from between the fibers of the material. The power of a vacuum does not equal performance though. So you need to know the strength of the airflow because that is the real cleaning power. The amps and watts of the motor itself isn’t related to the filtration abilities. The two ratings to pay attention to are airflow and sealed suction (it may also be called “water lift”).
- Upright bag vacuum: The ideal type of vacuum is something like the Hoover Windtunnel MAX. An upright vacuum excels in cleaning synthetic carpets, but it’s versatile to be effective with any type of floor. This vacuum often has a revolving brush which is great for picking up all the extra missed particles. This brush provides agitation for carpets, but you can usually turn it off for vacuuming hard floors. Your vacuum needs to have a dust bag so you can be sure that all the dust you’re sucking up doesn’t get blown right back out into the air after it passes through your vacuum system. A bagless vacuum, although it can do a great job cleaning, will not trap all the particles the way that a vacuum with a dust bag does.
How to Vacuum to Get Rid of Toxic Chemicals?
If you are vacuuming a synthetic fiber rug or carpet, you’re going to need to use a strong-bristle revolving brush and high power setting. The particles can be trapped between all the fibers, so to be sure you’re removing them entirely, you need to know you’re sucking everything all the way to the bottom of the carpet or rug. If you have a natural fiber rug or carpet, such as wool, just be cautious with the revolving brush.
The bristles need to be softer to avoid adding premature wear and stress to the natural fibers. Your vacuum may have special attachments for getting into the crevices and corners. This can be used for stairs, couches, and even curtains. To get rid of toxic chemicals with your vacuum, you need to have an effective vacuum.
You need to be thorough in your cleaning, which means getting underneath items, in the “nooks and crannies” and making sure to spend sufficient time on high traffic areas such as walkways. You also need to vacuum frequently. Once new dust settles, it starts collecting and attracting more toxic particles.
The more often you vacuum, the less likely you are to come in contact with these particles. This will also help you if you have allergy or asthma problems because the dust will be removed before being knocked into the air where it can be inhaled.
What Else Can I Do to Get Rid of Dust?
- Use an air purifier: An air purifier can remove much more than just dust from the air. If you purchase a high quality one, it may even come with a HEPA filter. This means you can ventilate and purify the air from not just gases, but also liquid droplets as well. If you live in a humid environment, the toxins can linger in the moist air. So, air purifiers work fantastically to filter the air before it settles later as dust.
- Use a damp cloth: Feather dusters are fun, but not very effective. Using something dry like that will simply lift the dust and move it somewhere else. To remove dust from surfaces effectively, you need to use a damp cloth to trap the particles and prevent them from entering the air again. You can also use a non-toxic cleaner on the cloth to aid in the process.
- Don’t use carpets: Carpets trap dirt and dust quickly. The dirt can settle deep between the fibers and can be hard to remove, even with a strong vacuum. The most ideal option is to remove the dust-trapping carpeting altogether and instead have hard floors. They are easier and quicker to clean, and you can thoroughly clean them every time because there’s nowhere for the particles to hide.
If you’re asking yourself if you can vacuum away toxic chemicals, the answer is yes. Just make sure you use a high-quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, strong suction, and vacuum bags. Following the advice from this article will help you improve air quality at home and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals at your home.