Does Vacuuming Clean The Air? (Answered)

  • Author: Irene Batres
  • Date: September 26, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Many of us have heard that regular vacuuming can make indoor air cleaner, but is this really true?

The fact is, vacuuming regularly can indeed remove allergens from the air.

This is especially true if you choose one with a HEPA filter, which is by far the best.

We’ve all heard that indoor air can be much worse than the air outside.

This is why removing as many allergens as possible is so important. If you vacuum regularly, fewer allergens will be there to bother you.

But is this the same thing as having a much better quality of air? In other words, does vacuuming clean the air?

Does Vacuuming Clean the Air?

Vacuuming can clean the air and improve indoor air quality. When you vacuum, allergens are removed from the air. But that doesn’t mean that all of the allergens are removed. HEPA filters remove more allergens than others, so if you’re not using a HEPA filter, practice caution.

In addition, if there are leaks in your vacuum cleaner or it’s very old, the allergens might spew back into the atmosphere. A lot of factors go into how well a vacuum cleans the air.

But regular vacuuming will still keep the air cleaner than it would otherwise be.

What Happens When You Vacuum Air?

When you use a vacuum cleaner, allergens are removed. Removed, but not eliminated.

To eliminate the allergens, make sure you clean the filter each time you use the vacuum.

Even better, you can buy an air filter that disintegrates all types of allergens. An air filter is almost always going to work better than a vacuum cleaner.

This is because air filters take in allergens and then destroy them so they are no longer there.

This is better and simpler than vacuuming, which sucks in allergens but doesn’t eliminate them unless the filter is cleaned or replaced.

Vacuuming also gets rid of all types of allergens.

This includes pollen, dust, bacteria, pet dander, and cigarette smoke, to name a few.

But if your filter isn’t a HEPA filter, you can count on it getting rid of fewer allergens. Your best bet is to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or a stand-alone air filter.

These two provide the ultimate when it comes to removing allergens and cleaning the air.

Can You Use a Vacuum As An Air Filter?

Does Vacuuming Improve Air Quality?

You can use a vacuum cleaner as an air filter, but an air filter is always going to be better. HEPA filters are the best, but the way a vacuum cleaner works prevents all of the allergens from being removed.

Not all of the allergens will get stuck inside of a vacuum cleaner. On the other hand, up to 99% of allergens will be removed with an air filter.

With a vacuum, some of the allergens will also spew out because of the way it is made. Besides, most vacuums aren’t meant to suck in up to 99% of allergens in the air. 

Although an air filter is better than a vacuum cleaner, the latter isn’t bad.

Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters are the next best thing to a good quality indoor air purifier. Purifiers grab hold of more allergens and will destroy nearly all of them, even the tiniest ones.

Also keep in mind that since purifiers are on 24/7, they have the chance to clean the air a lot better.

Vacuum cleaners remove allergens from the air but only for as long as they are turned on. This limits the amount of time they’re actually working.

Air purifiers remove allergens around the clock. This naturally means you can eventually have an allergen-free home.

What Cleans Dust Out Of The Air?

Both vacuum cleaners and air filters get rid of dust. Again, a HEPA filter catches the most dust and debris, and you can keep your home dust-free by:

  • Wiping down furniture and other dusty surfaces with a damp sponge or cloth
  • Dusting regularly, since it is impossible to catch all dust with a filter
  • Keeping your home clean
  • Replacing your AC filter regularly
  • Minimizing clutter to minimize dust buildup

Dust is particularly hard to remove from the air. This is because it is so very fine.

But a HEPA filter removes debris down to 0.3 microns in size, and this includes dust. If you both vacuum regularly and use an air filter, you’ll have much fewer problems with dust and allergens.

The air filter will work 24/7 to remove debris and the vacuuming is an added touch.

Taken together, these two methods are great at removing all types of allergens in the air, including dust.

Is Vacuum Dust Dangerous?

When you vacuum, part of the dust goes back into the air, even if it’s only a tiny amount. This can be dangerous.

The fact is, vacuum dust can be filled with mold, bacteria, and a lot of other unhealthy particulates. In some cases, it can spread illnesses such as salmonella and others.

This is the reason why vacuuming with the right vacuum cleaner is so important. Cleaning your vacuum regularly and replacing it occasionally are great ideas.

This will help keep the vacuum cleaner functioning properly.

This, in turn, means much more dust and debris will be removed from the air.

Final Thoughts: Does Vacuuming Improve Air Quality?

Although vacuuming alone doesn’t remove allergens from the air all the time, it goes a long way in removing unhealthy particulates.

Making sure you have a high-quality vacuum cleaner that uses a HEPA filter is the right start.

The more you vacuum, the more allergens are removed.

That being said, the allergens can build up again in between vacuuming. This is one reason why having a good air purifier is so smart. Air purifiers are turned on 24/7, whereas vacuuming is only done periodically.

If you want the healthiest indoor air quality, you need both a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and an air purifier.

If you have allergies or asthma, these two items can save you a lot of money and allow you to enjoy much better health.

Looking For Vacuum Guides?

If you’re looking for more vacuum resources, consider checking out our other posts on vacuums.

irene mills author of freshairdevices


Irene Batres is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.