A new study appearing in Environmental Science & Technology states that vacuum cleaners may be bad for your health.
“Both vacuum cleaning and the act of vacuuming can release and re-suspend dust and allergens, leading to increased exposure,” write study researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.
Researchers tested 21 vacuum cleaners from 11 different manufacturers. All vacuum cleaners released some bacteria, dust, and allergens back into the air. The study showed that newer and more expensive vacuum cleaners generally caused less indoor air pollution than older, cheaper models. Vacuums with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters proved to perform slightly better than vacuums without HEPA filters.
Assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the University of Miami School of Medicine Viviana Temino, MD. said, “For a vacuum to do more harm than good, it has to be a really old vacuum cleaner that has never been cleaned. In general, most vacuums do take up more dust, dirt, and allergens than they release.”
Bottom line: replace your vacuum if it’s old, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, clean your vacuum often and consider filtering the air in the room (while you vacuum) with an air filter or purifier.