Things That You Can, Should, and Shouldn’t Vacuum

Have you ever had to think twice about something that you plan on vacuuming?

Have you ever been curious as to what vacuums are capable of and what objects, creatures, and other random things are able to be vacuumed? If so, you’ll be happy to know that we’re going to cover just about every odd thing that you or someone else has thought of at one point in life.

Maybe you’ve tried vacuuming one of the objects on our list below, or maybe you just really want to know what you should and shouldn’t vacuum when using a vacuum cleaner. Uninformed decisions can be a costly or time-consuming mistake when it comes to your vacuum cleaner, so think twice!

Vacuuming Ants – Can You? Should You?

While vacuuming at some point in your life, you’ve probably come across an ant or two, or ten. Maybe even more!

You’ve probably been tempted to know if vacuuming ants is a smart idea or one that will actually work. The good news is that although you might want to address the bigger issue at hand, for the time being, vacuuming ants is a relatively low risk temporary solution to your ant problem.

There’s no harm in vacuuming a few ants. Although they always pose the risk of not all making it into the dirt cup or bag, most of the time the ants that you suck up will be contained in that area.

That also means that sometimes, you’ll kill them and you will have to deal with disposing them. Sometimes, the ants will survive. There are many factors that impact how likely the ant is to survive, such as the suction strength and design of your vacuum cleaner, the size of the ant, and how full or empty the dirt cup or bag is.

Some vacuums will kill the majority of the ants that you do manage to suck up, but like we previously mentioned, there’s always a possibility that some may survive.

To summarize, yes you can vacuum ants.

vacuuming ants

Should You Vacuum Ants?

If you suddenly have an ant situation on your hands spiraling out of control and you have no other way of addressing the problem immediately, using a vacuum cleaner is a perfectly acceptable choice.

Although using a vacuum cleaner is far from the best option available, it’s still an option nonetheless.

Just make sure to thoroughly empty either your canister or bag. It’s much easier to dispose of ants with a bagged vacuum cleaner, as you have the option of using an old bag or one that’s almost full. Once you’ve snagged a majority of the ants, quickly take it outside for garbage so that the ants can’t escape back into your home.

If you have a vacuum cleaner that uses a dirt cup or canister, it’s a little more tricky to get rid of ants in the event that they survive the trip. You always do have the option of using water, although not always the most ideal solution. If you’re dealing with a low amount of ants, the majority of them probably won’t survive, but you will still have to clean out the canister.

The best option other than addressing the main reason why you have ants in the first place, is to use a shop vac.

Shop vacuums are affordable, powerful, and will have no problem sucking up ants. Disposal is quick, you won’t have to worry about using up a bag, and it will have more than enough power to suck up even a large amount of ants.

Vacuuming Glass – Is It Safe? Can You Vacuum Glass With a Vacuum Cleaner?

Unfortunately, the short answer is vacuuming glass with a vacuum cleaner is not only unsafe, but you should avoid vacuuming glass with a vacuum cleaner altogether if you can.

Vacuuming glass is acceptable only once you’ve picked up as much as physically possible prior to vacuuming. This means getting any large, medium, or small sized pieces of glass first.

In fact, it’s for this very reason that we’ll need to break out the broom for the majority of this doozy.

How to Safely Clean Up Broken Glass by Using A Broom

    1. Start by isolating the area that needs to be cleaned up. Ideally, you’ll have some form of protection for your feet before you do this.
    2. Focus on any large chunks of glass first. Attempting to vacuum up large pieces or chunks of glass is dangerous and cannot only damage your vacuum cleaner, but can also harm you and anyone else in the nearby area. Don’t do it.
    3. Take your time and be thorough. Sweep up any visible glass that you might see.
    4. If you think you’ve gotten the maximum amount of usage out of your sweeper, then you can put it aside for now. Grab some damp paper towels. Address the corners and any other spot that you couldn’t get with your broom or sweeper.
    5. At this point, it’s relatively safe to use a vacuum cleaner to get any microscopic or small pieces that you might have missed. The smaller the glass that needs to be cleaned up, the less likely chance for it to be dangerous. Never use a brush roll to vacuum any type of potentially dangerous material. Ensure that the brush roll is turned off.
  1. Can I vacuum glass

There are tons of other ways to clean up glass too.

Ideally, you’ll have a bagless vacuum cleaner. Actually, the best type of vacuum cleaner that you can use for glass is a shop vac, hands down. It’s much less likely that a shop vac will be damaged from glass in comparison to a household vacuum cleaner.

Regardless of the type of vacuum cleaner, glass is still very sharp and can cause damage to vacuum cleaner tubing, vacuum bags, and can be dangerous.

Essentially, if you’re dead set on using a vacuum cleaner to vacuum up glass, a shop vac is one of the safest and most sensible options.

Vacuuming Water – Can I Vacuum Water With a Vacuum Cleaner?

If you’re wondering if you can use your household vacuum cleaner to vacuum up a small or large amount of water, the short answer is unless you use a shop vac, you can’t use a vacuum to vacuum up water. If you try to vacuum water with your Shark or Dyson vacuum, not only can it electrocute you and kill you, but it can also short-circuit and malfunction, leaving you with a non-functioning vacuum cleaner.

If you’re even thinking about considering if you can use a vacuum to clean up water, always use a shop vac that is wet/dry rated. Most shop vacs will need to have a filter removed in the event that you are going to be vacuuming up water, as water will cause damage to the dry filter.

Vacuuming Spiders – Can I Vacuum Spiders With a Vacuum Cleaner?

This answer will be similar to that regarding ants. Although the range of sizes that spiders come in are much more diverse than ants, yes, you can use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum up spiders.

Will a Vacuum Cleaner Kill a Spider?

In most situations, the answer is yes, a vacuum cleaner will probably kill most spiders.

Can I vacuum spiders

There are other factors such as the type of vacuum, suction strength, and the size of the spider. Essentially, the conditions are the same when compared to ants.

Vacuuming up a spider with the brush roll turned on will very likely kill it.

If you own a bagless vacuum, the good news is that you can easily locate the spider after you use your vacuum cleaner to target and suck it up.


This is good for the following two reasons:

  1. In the event that you actually do want to let the spider go if it does survive, you can easily locate it and safely allow it to vacate.
  2. Regardless of the size of the spider, you won’t have to second-guess where it is.

If you have a bagged vacuum, disposing of it will be a bit more tricky, as you can either hope it died in the bag, or you’ll have to toss the bag in the garbage to ensure the spider doesn’t reemerge into your home.

Can I Use a Vacuum Cleaner to Clean My PC?

Absolutely, but make sure that your PC is completely turned off and disconnected.

Ensure that you vacuum very carefully and take your time.

However, there are much better ways to clean your PC than using a vacuum cleaner. In this particular situation, a duster or can of compressed air will serve a much better purpose than a vacuum cleaner would ever in terms of cleaning capabilities for a PC or keyboard.

Because of dust buildup over time, if you try to use a vacuum cleaner to clean specific components or hard-to-reach places in your computer such as your fan blades, it will likely do a poor job.

So, although you can use vacuum cleaner to clean your PC or keyboard, a duster and compressed air are much better options.

Can I Vacuum My Dog

Can I Vacuum My Dog? Just a Little?

Unless you are using an accessory specifically made for dogs or pets, never use a regular vacuum cleaner on your dogs.

These accessories are created with your dog in mind, as the normal attachments that come with your regular vacuum cleaner aren’t designed for that.

Even though there are plenty of affordable pet vacuum cleaners, you have to make sure that your dog is comfortable around a vacuum cleaner. Many are not, but if you really want to vacuum your dog, invest in a specialty dog attachment for your particular model of the vacuum cleaner.

Alternatively, the cheapest option would be to simply isolate your dog for some grooming time, groom them in one spot, and vacuum up right after you’re done.

Wrapping Up

Although vacuum cleaners might seem like the ultimate cleaning machines, even vacuum cleaners have their limitations.

Vacuum cleaners certainly aren’t indestructible and can even be fragile. Just because a vacuum cleaner has the capability of vacuuming up something, that doesn’t mean there aren’t better alternatives out there.

Compressed air or dusters for example are much better at cleaning the inside of a PC or keyboard than your household vacuum cleaner.

You should never try to vacuum water with a vacuum cleaner. The same goes for your pets, unless you have a specialty attachment that is guaranteed to be safe for use.

Spiders, ants, and other bugs can technically be vacuumed, but if you value their life, you might want to try to get them out of your home a different way. If you don’t care, then go ahead and send them on a one-way ticket to your vacuum’s bag or canister.

Ultimately, if you’re concerned about vacuuming up bugs, objects that are potentially dangerous such as glass, or even water, a shop vacuum is capable of doing all of these things and has a much better chance of not only accomplishing the task at hand, but are much more durable than household vacuum cleaners.

Shop vacs can be surprisingly compact, powerful, and affordable, so you might want to consider owning one in the event that you’ll need it for a nontraditional cleanup.

Laura Smith is an author and philanthropist; runs several trust funds and teaches people in different forums the importance of developing actionable solutions, to help in the conservation of energy while limiting environmental degradation. She is passionate about everything tech and has written different reviews on a myriad of electrical gadgets. Technology and environmental degradation are a major challenge around the globe today, and many companies produce gadgets without a guideline on how to dispose of, after they have served their purpose. Laura has thus dedicated her life to finding eco-friendly solutions in the disposition of electrical gadgets in the middle of technological advancements.

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