Your vacuum is making your allergies worse—here's how to stop it

Your health is nothing to sneeze at

Your vacuum can spread allergens. Credit: Shark

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Your vacuum should be making your house cleaner, not aggravating your allergies. Research from the University of Queensland and Laval University, showed that vacuums have the ability to spread allergens throughout your home. The threat is not just from the dust on the floor, but also from the bacteria that grows inside your vacuum.

However, this isn't a time to panic, it's a time for action. Here's what you need to do:

1. Empty your vacuum way before it's full

Credit: Dyson

You should empty your vacuum as frequently as you can.

Let's face it, we don't vacuum that often. So for a period of weeks, maybe even a month, our vacuums sit around with dirt and debris in them. Emptying out your vacuum more often will help keep bacteria from growing in dust bin or bag.

2. Open the windows when vacuuming

Open Window

Opening the windows while vacuuming can help keep allergens from concentrating.

Air leakage from your vacuum is going to happen, meaning dirt that should be sucked up and captured, gets blown around the room. So when you're vacuuming, try opening the windows to keep airborne contaminants from accumulating.

3. Invest in a bagged vacuum

Bagged Vacuum
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Oreck makes vacuum bags that are lined with antibacterial paper.

While bagless vacuums are way more convenient, bag vacuums can offer better filtration. Take the Oreck Elevate Conquer for example. This vacuum has a bag made of antibacterial paper, and this model also has charcoal-lined filters to prevent dirt leakage. While not all bagged vacuums are this good at filtration, the average bagged vacuum offers better filtration than the average bagless vacuum.

4. Change or wash the filter

Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

A washable filter is a nice feature, but only comes in handy if you do the work.

HEPA filters are nice, but they don't last forever. Be sure to change out the filter about six months to make sure it's in working order. Some vacuums have washable filters. It's nice not to have to constantly be buying new filters, but they only work if you take the time to wash them.

5. Think about getting rid of your rugs

Credit: Shark

Rugs can harbor allergens. Consider getting rid of them to improve your health.

Rugs are nice, but they are the perfect place for allergens to hide. If you find yourself suffering from allergies indoors, consider switching to all hardwood. With hardwood, there are less places for dirt to hide, and more options for you to remove it.

6. Go whole hog and get a central vacuum

Central Vacuum

A central vacuum is a huge investment. However, it's the most sealed of all systems.

Because none of the filtration systems are exposed, a central vacuum is the least likely to aggravate your allergies. However, the upkeep and installation can be very expensive. Central vacuum systems empty dirt right into a trash receptacle.

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