Dust in a vacuum

We had a little lie-in today (Saturday). Well, we deserved it, don’t you think? Then we started the day by going to Pane Vino for breakfast. (Yep, it is becoming a habit…) This agreeable distraction completed, there was nothing for it but to return home and continue with the work of clearing the place for the builders.

The main plan today was to get rid of the carpet in the front room. This had been in place for a good few years and was, well, let’s say past its best. With the room largely cleared of furniture, now was a good time to remove it. What we hadn’t reckoned with was what was under the carpet.

We up-ended the bed, moved other things around and began to roll the carpet back on itself. We cleared an area about a yard wide. We now had to move some articles onto it in order to continue rolling the carpet. It was at this point that I realized that I was leaving footprints in the cleared area. Looking more closely I saw that there was a thick layer of yellow dust where the carpet had been.

I was puzzled. The dust was very fine and I couldn’t imagine where it had come from. It wasn’t ordinary household dust. It might have been sand but I have never seen sand that fine. Tigger reckoned it was the backing on the carpet, which was pretty old, that had broken down and literally turned to dust.

Well, whatever it was, it had to be swept or vacuumed up or it would tread everywhere. I plugged in our little vacuum cleaner and got to work while Tigger went into the back room to do some more sorting. I was really getting on with the work when the vacuum cleaner died. It didn’t stop suddenly as if switched off but with a declining whine of the motor like a dying person expiring.

This was a bit of a set-back to be sure. I put on my coat and went to Chapel Market where I bought a dustpan and brush. The dust was so fine that using this method to clear it was lengthy and difficult. I explained this to Tigger. “So you think we should get a new vacuum cleaner,” she concluded.

Off we went to Argos, stopping only to have lunch on All Bar One. Two bus rides and £50 later, we returned home and set to work. I plugged in our new vacuum cleaner and got to work while Tigger went into the back room to do some more sorting. I was really getting on with the work when the vacuum cleaner died. It didn’t stop suddenly as if switched off but with a declining whine of the motor like a dying person expiring…

Now, I suppose I could spin this yarn out but that would be tedious. To cut a long story short, we realized that the yellow dust was so fine and there was so much of it that a domestic vacuum cleaner simply couldn’t cope with it. It clogged the innards and wrecked the machine.

Fortunately, the new vacuum cleaner has filters and when these are clogged the machine ceases to function. It doesn’t do so elegantly, however: all the lights in the flat flickered and one of the light bulbs blew. Potent stuff this yellow dust; maybe I should sell it to the MoD. The good news is that if you clean the filters and talk really nicely to the vacuum cleaner, it starts working again.

I now found myself in the ridiculous situation of using a brush and dustpan to clear the worst of the dust and only using the vacuum cleaner to tackle the light stuff left behind. Talk about keeping a dog and barking yourself.

At last the job was done. The carpet was removed from the flat and the floor was as clean as it was ever going to be. We realize in retrospect that for people like us, ordinary cleaning tools are inappropriate: we need industrial strength cleaning apparatus at least.

I suppose that’s hardly surprising when you do the housework only once every ten years.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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3 Responses to Dust in a vacuum

  1. Chris says:

    Presumably, what you really meant is that you only do the housework once every ten years…whether it needs it or not!

    Still, I can sympathise. We’ve wrecked our share of vacuum cleaners in the past few years.

    What you ought to have done with all that yellow dust though is employed a bit of lateral thinking. Instead of using something to suck up the dust (and which gets clogged up in the process), you could have got one of those garden leaf blowers and blown the dust away instead. As long as you remembered to open your front door first, you’d have been fine. The dust would then have dispersed harmlessly into the troposphere over Islington and beyond.

    Anyway, it’s too late now. You’ve already bought a vac. Might as well get used to it.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    The trouble with housework is that whatever level you decide to maintain, barely have you achieved it when it needs doing again… The best thing, therefore, is to adopt level zero and never do it at all.

    However, once the flat is refurbished and we have rearranged the furniture, the occasional whiz round with a vac (one that works) might be in order.

    We are thinking of returning the one we have just bought from Argos on the grounds that it is unsatisfactory and swapping it for one of those that are advertised for use in “workshop, garden and house, for wet and for dry”. That’s obviously the sort of thing we need.

  3. Pingback: Tigger abhors a vacuum « SilverTiger

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