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Should I still use my vacuum cleaner after using it (unknowingly) for asbestos?

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  1. #1
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    Default Should I still use my vacuum cleaner after using it (unknowingly) for asbestos?

    Hi everyone!

    I've been trying to find an answer to my question online but I haven't been lucky so far..

    Here is my story:

    I have drilled five 6mm holes in my bathroom wall last week. Afterwards I took the dust away with our normal home use vacuum cleaner.. Now we have had a test done for asbestos after we heard it's likely that the bathroom contains it...

    Getting the results was a bit of a shock.. There's asbestos in the wall I've been drilling.

    Should we now throw that vacuum cleaner away? It's a rather new one.

    We already bought a new one for our normal daily use, but I thought if it's enough to do a proper cleaning of the inside and rinsing the filters, that I could use the vacuum cleaner for cleaning other dirty work.

    I hope my question is clearly formulated enough now 😅

    Greetings and thanks in advance!

    Sam

  2. #2
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    Just throw the dust bag away and put a new one in, plus new filters if the vacuum has them. If your vacuum cleaner doesn't have a bag, throw it away and get one that does, preferably a Miele which will quite likely outlive you anyway.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

  3. #3
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    If it doesn't have a bag, surely the parts that filter the dust are removable and can be washed out in water.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    If it doesn't have a bag, surely the parts that filter the dust are removable and can be washed out in water.
    ... unless it’s a Dyson!
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

  5. #5
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    My little Dyson can be washed clean.

  6. #6
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Or take it down to the Paarlahti fjord and wash the whole thing out, leave in the sun for a few months and then see if it still works

  7. #7
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    There is generally no such thing as ‘likely to contain asbestos’ in an asbestos test. The wall either does or doesn’t contain asbestos. (That is why you pay for a test.) Which is it?

  8. #8
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    If your vacuum doesn't have a bag, or filter, then it is not going to contain all fibres above a certain size. That is a consequence of fundamental physics, and nothing to do how smart the designer of the vacuum cleaner is.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

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    Quote Originally Posted by joynz View Post
    There is generally no such thing as ‘likely to contain asbestos’ in an asbestos test. The wall either does or doesn’t contain asbestos. (That is why you pay for a test.) Which is it?


    We did the test because the neighbors told us there might be asbestos. The test results were clear, there IS asbestos in the wall.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone for the fast replies!

    Our vacuum cleaner does have a bag and separate filter where the air goes out.

    So reading here it sounds like replacing the bag and maybe a good rinsing of the filter (and other parts I can reach) should do the trick?

    Greetings

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by John2b View Post
    If your vacuum doesn't have a bag, or filter, then it is not going to contain all fibres above a certain size. That is a consequence of fundamental physics, and nothing to do how smart the designer of the vacuum cleaner is.
    Only a suitable HEPA filter will contain asbestos. A normal filter will not. Therefore the dust would not have been contained to the bag or filter of this vacuum cleaner.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sampi06 View Post
    Thanks everyone for the fast replies!

    Our vacuum cleaner does have a bag and separate filter where the air goes out.

    So reading here it sounds like replacing the bag and maybe a good rinsing of the filter (and other parts I can reach) should do the trick?

    Greetings
    You are asking for advice on an anonymous forum about something that is potentially life threatening.

    I recommend that you call the regulating body in the country in which you live and get some proper, qualified and expert advice.

  13. #13
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    You're probably right. It just seems that there's a lot of grey area when it comes to asbestos.

    One website will tell to throw everything away that has been touched by asbestos. Other websites tell that you can wipe it down with moist cloth.

    Since there was a separate part in this forum dedicated to asbestos I thought you guys would know more about it than me.

    Anyway the damage has been done in my bathroom. I cleaned with a vacuum cleaner that probably threw a load of the fibres in the air. And that won't happen again. I just wanted to know if the vacuum cleaner is now garbage or not.

    Thanks anyway for your time!

  14. #14
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Who can say what you should to do when the the risk is so low, I doubt you will find a statistic to identify your situation. Anyway even cheap vaccies have HEPA filters. If I let this worry me I would replace all the filters and bag.

    https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/...tos-key-handle
    clean up any asbestos cement residues in the work area, and on the tools and equipment used by using wet rags and a wet mop, or with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter which conforms to AS4260. Attachments with brushes should be avoided because they are difficult to decontaminate

  15. #15
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    The problem as you are finding is there is a lot of hype and scaremongering out there with regard to asbestos.

    Yes it has been found to be dangerous and was / is harmful when precautions are not taken, but to the average home owner some basic steps are all that is needed.
    Dispose of the dust bag, replace or wash any other filters and you are good to go.

    In every backyard / under house / ceiling space of Australian homes built in the 60 70’s you will find asbestos in one shape or form, but you don’t need to run from it.

    You are now more aware for any future work that is done. You cannot undo what has been done. Worrying about the small risk that it posed will most likely do more damage to your health than the risk itself.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by droog View Post
    The problem as you are finding is there is a lot of hype and scaremongering out there with regard to asbestos.

    Yes it has been found to be dangerous and was / is harmful when precautions are not taken, but to the average home owner some basic steps are all that is needed.
    Dispose of the dust bag, replace or wash any other filters and you are good to go.

    In every backyard / under house / ceiling space of Australian homes built in the 60 70’s you will find asbestos in one shape or form, but you don’t need to run from it.

    You are now more aware for any future work that is done. You cannot undo what has been done. Worrying about the small risk that it posed will most likely do more damage to your health than the risk itself.
    .

    I agree that the risk is low.

    However your cleaning suggestions are some what inadequate.

    What about the pipe and hose? And dust that has adhered to the inside of the casing and the exhaust and anywhere else dust from a domestic vacuum goes (since it’s not a HEPA filter)?

  17. #17
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    If it were my vac, I would probably dismantle the entire thing and clean each part individually. I had to do this with a dyson once when someone used it to vacuum up wet cat poop
    Rinse out the hose, attachments, etc with water and let them dry thoroughly outside. Wash the filter or replace it (I replaced mine, it was about $25). That would be enough to give me peace of mind.

  18. #18
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    what did u end up doing sampi? i'm in the same situation, my new-ish dyson does say it has a hepa filter but obviously it's only a domestic vacuum...

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