We all love our vacuum cleaners. Almost every home has them, and vacuuming is a job that should be undertaken once a week for hard floors, and twice a week for carpeted areas - even more often if your home has pets.
Done on the recommended schedule, vacuuming helps reduce dust and allergens, keeps the air cleaner, and even ensures that your carpets last longer.
But, you might think, as you look at your reusable stainless steel water bottle and recycling bin - should I be worried about all those vacuum cleaner bags I’m using? Should I try to reuse them?
Spoiler alert: No. Here’s why.
There’s a Lot Going On in Your Vacuum Cleaner
When you’re changing out your bags, you might find yourself pondering just how they work. If the dust is simply going into the bag, and the paper isn’t torn - why not just remove the dirt and keep reusing the bag?
Other than spraying a lot of dust back into the air, this idea comes with other problems, some invisible. Don’t break out your microscope just yet. We’ll explain it to you.
When your vacuum cleaner bag fills up, it’s not just packing the bag with dirt and debris. It’s also filling in the pores of the paper it’s made of. You’ve probably noticed that your machine starts to lose suction as the bag fills. That’s not just because the bag is losing room - it’s also due to the paper becoming clogged as the fine particles are embedded.
When the pores become blocked because you have not changed the bag, the result is less a lack of suction that shows up in missed dirt on your carpets and floors.
It’s Just Not Healthy
In a bagged vacuum, dirt, soil, mold, pet dander, and pollen go in and accumulate on the interior walls of the bag. There’s no amount of shaking that will remove all of these allergens. Left behind in a bag that’s reused, they have all the right conditions to keep growing or being redistributed into the air as you vacuum again.
It’s just not worth it to decrease your home’s air quality for the cost of a pack of replacement bags. After all, scientific evidence has indicated that indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air.
Vacuuming regularly and changing out bags before they become too full is an easy way to keep down the number of potential irritants and allergens in your home.
It’s Not That Economical
When you don’t change your vacuum’s bag it is harder for air to get out, which causes strain on the motor, and putting extra strain on your vacuum cleaner’s motor will inevitably shorten the life of your machine. A senior test project leader stated that one of his top tips for lengthening a vacuum’s lifespan is “Don't let the bag or bin get filled to the brim, which can clog the machine.” In addition to the extra work, dust escaping from a reused bag tends to go right back into the motor, causing damage.
Vacuum cleaners are an investment and a machine with no suction will likely end up in the landfill, which is not a desirable outcome for the environment or your wallet. Bags can be inexpensive and you can purchase environmentally friendly vacuum bags that are made of 100% renewable sources and compostable.
Furthermore, rugs last longer when they’re cleaned effectively and frequently. Keeping your items working well is another way to limit your environmental impact, as you minimize what enters the waste stream.
Don’t be tempted to reuse vacuum cleaner bags. Your motives may be pure, but your air won’t be, and your vacuum cleaner may bite the dust (pun intended) years before its time. Stay stocked up on replacements, and you’ll be rewarded with fresher air, cleaner rugs and floors, and a vacuum that will work better and longer.