Does Baking Soda Ruin A Vacuum? Carpet Cleaner Tips

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Does Baking Soda Ruin Your Vacuum

Baking soda is often recommended to be used as a deodorizer for your carpet fibers. Baking soda is said to help minimize bad odors or be used as a cleaning agent on your carpet in affected areas. But does baking soda ruin your vacuum by doing this?

box of baking soda with battery vacuum

Baking soda powder (also known as sodium bicarbonate) is one of the most common powders often thought of to be used on area rugs or in your living room carpet to help remove stubborn stains or smelly stains carpets. Sodium bicarbonate is often used because professional cleaning costs a lot of money, and a box of baking soda is pretty cheap to pick up from the grocery store.

Even though baking soda is a great deodorizer, and fights stains well, this may not be the best option to use for cleaning, especially when you use your vacuum to remove it from the carpet. Before we look at why exactly baking soda can ruin your vacuum, let’s first look at how baking soda is usually used as a carpet cleaner.

How to Use Baking Soda to Clean Carpets

When the carpets are dry, sprinkle baking soda lightly across the surface. You will want to be careful that you don’t sprinkle a generous amount on the affected area because a little bit can go a long way. After the baking soda has sat for a few hours, it is then said that you can vacuum the baking soda from your carpet.

Baking Soda to Clean Carpets

There are several reasons why using baking soda to clean carpets has been passed down for generations. Baking soda is a natural at getting rid of bad smells in your carpet. 

Let’s be honest using a box of baking soda is much cheaper than calling professional carpet cleaners. Using baking soda as your cleaning solution alone or mixed with white vinegar helps to get rid of pet odors or just general bad orders from your carpet.

Here’s the problem with using your vacuum to suck up baking soda from your carpet. Baking soda is such a fine powder, and it tends to kick together, to form a concrete-like substance if it gets just a little wet. 

box of baking soda

Because of the fine powder of baking soda, it runs the risk of clumping up inside your vacuum cleaners and motor and causing a clogged filter or ruining the motor of your vacuum. Because of this using your vacuum to suck up baking soda from your carpet could ruin your vacuum. 

Although you do run the risk of ruining your vacuum with the baking soda buildup inside of it, it is also important to point out that many people have successfully vacuumed up baking soda without it hurting their vacuum at all.

How Baking Soda Could Impact Your Vacuum

Clogged Filter

Small particles that go through your vacuum filter such as baking soda particles are so small, and uniquely shaped that they can stick together and cause a clogged filter inside of your vacuum. Sometimes a clogged filter can be fixable, but the repairs may be costly depending on the cost and the type of vacuum.

Vacuum Bag

The main place where a vacuum with a bag has trouble vacuuming baking soda powder is when it reaches the HEPA filter. The filtration system can easily get clogged with baking soda.

Sometimes when you do vacuum up baking soda with a bagged vacuum, you can clean it out when you finish. Occasionally the baking soda cakes to stick inside of the vacuum’s clogged filter and can’t be repaired. 

In general, it’s always a good idea to regularly clean out your vacuum filter, bags, and tank to be sure that it’s ready to go the next time. This will also help get rid of pet hair and any other buildup inside the vacuum. If you are choosing to try and vacuum up baking soda with your bag vacuum, and you will definitely want to clean it out after you finish cleaning the carpet.

vacuum and box of baking soda

Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

What about bagless vacuum cleaners or canister vacuum cleaners? The main problem point with bagless vacuum cleaners is at the post-motor HEPA filter. Baking soda is like a fine grit powder that builds up inside of the bagless vacuum cleaner, near the HEPA filter, and can cause major problems for the electric motor of your vacuum.

A good brand of this type of vacuum would be brands like the rainbow vacuum (Rainbow), which has a good water filtration system but are much more expensive than your average household vacuum cleaner.  

Dyson users might be wondering specifically about the Dyson vacuum. There are varying reports about this brand of bagless vacuums. 

Specifically, there is a thread on social media, where Dyson themselves say that machines with cyclone cylinders should not be used to vacuum up fine substances or particles such as flour, sawdust, or what they call “carpet powder”. This would seem to also apply to baking soda. (Source) 

The reason why these bagless vacuums are likely to clog isn’t only that the fine substance piles up inside of the canister or other inner workings of the vacuum. But also, because some parts of vacuums are safe to clean out with water, and other parts are not. Unfortunately, that’s where the problem comes in. When the parts of the vacuum cannot be thoroughly cleaned out, the fine white powders will pile up and can become a big problem.

Because of the debate around these bagless vacuums, possibly clogging the vacuum’s motor when vacuuming up the baking soda, especially with a Dyson vacuum, you may want to consider erring on the safe side cannot ruin your vacuum.

What about the canister vacuum cleaner?

The vacuum canister also functions like a bagless vacuum. Canister vacuums also should not be used to vacuum up baking soda powder as this fine residue could also ruin your canister vacuum. 

Does Baking Soda Ruin Your Vacuum: The Bottom Line

The bottom line for does baking soda ruin your vacuum is, that it depends. In most cases when you vacuum up baking soda under the right conditions it could cause permanent damage to your vacuum. While some of the damage can be repairable at a cost, some effects of vacuuming up baking soda or other fine white powdered substance cause irreparable damage to your vacuum cleaner.

In some cases, you may not have a problem when using your vacuum cleaner to suck up baking soda from your carpet. In other cases, it could be a very costly mistake. Essentially, it’s up to you, your specific vacuum cleaner, and the circumstances surrounding how to clean your vacuum, and if it’s the perfect storm for it to clog and cause irreparable damage to your vacuum cleaner. The choice is yours whether you want to take the gamble or not.

ryobi vacuum and baking soda

What is The Better Option?

Rather than using your vacuum to suck up baking soda from your carpet, or using baking soda to clean your carpet and possibly damage vacuum cleaners, is there a better alternative? Let’s look at some other options you might consider before using baking soda and your vacuum cleaner.

Carpet Cleaning Machine

A great alternative to cleaning your carpet with baking soda and a vacuum cleaner is to use a steam cleaner or another type of carpet cleaning machine. This type of machine can help to fight any odors, stains, or smells in your carpet, and clean it thoroughly. You could also consider using baking soda as the cleaner inside of the steam cleaner, to fight odors rather than sprinkling the powder directly on your carpet.

Use A Shop Vac

Another alternative to using a regular household vacuum to suck up baking soda is to try using a shop vac. Because shop vacs there more heavy-duty, this is much more likely to work for you.

A Different Approach

In addition to your regular vacuuming regiment as part of your cleaning routine, there are a few other alternatives that you can use as cleaning remedies, rather than sprinkling baking soda directly on your carpet.

DIY Baking Soda Cleaning Spray

Another alternative is to use a homemade baking soda cleaning spray with just a few natural ingredients. To do this you will want to use a spray bottle combined with a little baking soda, some clean water, and if desired a few drops of essential oil. 

You can combine these ingredients, then shake them to combine. You can then use the spray throughout your house to help fight stains and remove odors. This is a great alternative to using clumps of baking soda in designated areas.

Baking Soda Cleaning Spray Recipe: 

  • Spray Bottle
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp essential oil of your choice 

Other optional ingredients to include in this cleaning mix are white vinegar and dawn dish soap. Both of these ingredients help to strengthen the mixture and fight stubborn stains. 

What about Baby Powder?

Baby powder is another item that can be used to fight bad smells in your house. This one is another specific type of carpet deodorizer powders. While there are still some mixed suggestions as to whether you can vacuum up baby powder, in general, the results seem more favorable. 

If you choose to use baby powder to fight bad smells in your home, you will want to be careful where the baby powder is applied and what you use to remove the baby powder. Keep in mind that this could potentially hurt your vacuum as well.

baking soda and vacuum on carpet

Other White Powder Carpet Cleaners

There are other specific types of powdered cleaners that you can purchase and use to clean your carpet or other items in your home. You will want to make sure to read the user’s manual for your vacuum if you desire to use your vacuum to clean up after the white powder carpet cleaners.

Other Concerns with Baking Soda on your Carpet

In addition to baking soda possibly ruining your vacuum, by vacuuming the sodium bicarbonate powder off of your carpet, there are a few other concerns with using baking soda sprinkled directly in your carpet fibers.

Baking soda is a super fine powder and can be very difficult for it to be fully removed from your carpet. This is one of the reasons why you might consider not sprinkling baking soda directly into your carpet. It can be very difficult to remove completely.

The particles that make up your baking soda are super fine and surprisingly sharp. When the particles of the baking soda sink down into your carpet and work through the carpet fibers, it can deplete the strength of your carpet fibers over time. Eventually they will rub against your carpet fibers, and cause them to decompose, or get ruined much faster than they otherwise would. 

These are, both reasons baking soda can be rough on your carpet, in addition to the possibility of them clogging your vacuum and causing very expensive repairs. Because of this, it’s entirely up to you whether you want to take the gamble of using baking soda in your vacuum cleaner or if you want to find an alternative way to clean your carpet.

A Clean Home 

Cleaning your home on a regular basis helps it to maintain that nice fresh smell that is so welcoming to anyone who walks through your doors. There are many ways you can go about cleaning your home besides vacuuming up baking soda from the carpet. 

Consider using an alternative method before sprinkling baking soda on your carpet. If you do choose to use baking soda and then vacuum it up, make sure to thoroughly clean your vacuum when done so that there is not any baking soda residue that clumps up inside of your vacuum and causes it to get ruined.

I hope this has been helpful to you, and that you have some other ideas on how you can go about cleaning your home. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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About the author

Hi! My name is Faith, I am the creator behind My Sweet and Saucy. I have so many different things that I enjoy doing, and this is my space to share them all with you. I really hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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