Do we need a new hoover?

Sunday, 26 April 2009
The vacuum cleaner, a Dyson upright, which I bought about 5 years ago has gradually been breaking and becoming less efficient year on year. The suck has almost completely gone due to silly plastic hoses which keep on breaking. The carpet tape repairs make it almost impossible to pack it neatly away and the whole thing is turning into a potential landfill candidate......

So, as I am on a "next time something breaks consider if it really does need replacing" stint..... I'm thinking to myself do we need a hoover at all??

My Grandmother had a hoover, bought by her family as a labour saving gift. It stood unused in the front room. She continued to brush and sweep for the remainder of her life.

I think the hoover might be another of those "essential gadgets" we all take for granted that we need, but do we?

I have decided maybe not.

I am embarking on a whole month with no hoover to give it a trial. Ready for this I have purchased a British made stiff broom head from my local ironmongers, it cost the princely sum of £4.92 and has been fitted with a homemade stick of hazel taken from the hedge as a handle. This completes my brush set. The stiff one for the rugs, soft one for my hard floors and finally my little trusty hand brush complete with dust pan

for all the sweepings.

My last bit of dusty kit is my woolly long handled cobweb catcher. Its a wool alternative to a traditional feather duster. Basically its a strip of sheepskin wrapped around a cane. Works a treat. I purchased mine nearly 20 years ago from Cold harbour Mill in Devon.

So let the sweeping begin.....

Why is NOT having a vacuum cleaner a greener option?

  • Think of the amount of vacuum cleaners every year that go into landfill sites! They don't seem to be built to last anymore so only work for approx 5 years. If you buy your first cleaner at 20 and keep hoovering till you are 70 years old that's a whooping 10 huge lumps of plastic going into landfill.

  • If those 10 hoovers cost you a minimum of £100 each that's £1000 that you had to spend just to have the privilege of owning a hoover.

  • You are not only saving the cost of purchase BUT your electrical hoover needs to be plugged into an energy source... costing you and the earth more energy.

  • Hoovering is not that much quicker than sweeping. By the time you've unearthed the hoover from wherever you stash it, battle with the tangled heap of cable (because the last user did not tidy it up correctly) plugged in for one or two rooms, unplugged for next lot.... changed the150 different attachments you stick on the end of the hose for doing edges, skirting etc..... emptied the bag (if this is an option with your model), washed the filter because its not sucking properly.....

  • All you do with a brush, is.... well, brush!!!

  • Brushing and sweeping will help to work your upper body muscles, especially potentially flabby underarms. Women of years ago brushed daily and it didn't hurt them!

  • Hoovering is a back killer! Anyone with a bad back will know just what I mean. That constant stooping while you hoover the house is a killer! A broom with the correct length handle is much less of a strain as you still get to stand up... and you can do 1 room at a time.

  • My best friend has a passion for sweeping up.... it just might be therapeutic for you too!

Go forth housewives and sweep.....


  1. Brilliant blog!:) I sadly do need my hoover or the dog hair & dust would never come out of our carpet, but Hubby does a good job of gathering & recycling old Dysons from the local tip to keep it going :)

    Love your bread making post before...I use a bread machine but I really must try it the old fashioned way :)
    Thanks xx

  2. This post is very revelant to us, our similar aged Dyson is also on it's last legs. I have a carpet sweeper and a broom that I use for the kitchen and front room (laminate flooring and rugs in these rooms) but our dining room has a cream carpet that attracts dirt, hair and bits like a magnet. I hate carpet and would get rid of it if I could (it is concrete underneith and I cannot afford alternative flooring). So my dilemma is should we buy a new hoover just to keep one room clean?! The carpet sweeper struggles to get the hair out of it and get round the legs of the table. Please let us know how you get on being hoover free for a month!

  3. When my children were very small I couldn't afford a vacuum so got very used to sweeping by hand. I know why you had problems with the Dyson, they are machines from hell, designed to make you buy more and more plastic to replace the persistant broken parts, so I've recently bought a Seba and it's amazing and won't break for a very long time if at all. (I know someone who's had hers for over 25 years and it's never broken) I must add however, that most jobs I use a hand held brush and only get the vacuum out for complete house doings once a week. Great blog idea by the way!:)

  4. Linzi.... rip up the carpet!!! I havent any fitted carpets at all, just rugs where we need to sit down (sitting down... shocking isnt it!!!). My house has some rooms with solid wood floors, some old concrete. Same dilema, couldnt afford expensive flooring over the concrete, so I just painted them, a long time ago. They look old and worn from many years and many big and little feet running around on them but, they are very low maintenance. No worries about marking expensive linos, staining carpets, hoovering.....!!!! Invest in a stanley knife and liberate the floor! Ren x
    p.s. Thank you eveyone for the fantastic anti hoovering comments! I feel quite justified now in writing the post!

  5. Ren - I have another problem in my carpet troubles that I forgot to mum lives here too and its her carpet and has only been down 2 years. She would probably let me take it up if I replaced it with something nice but I cant afford to! It wont be long till we can get our own place and then it will be my way - no carpets at all!!

  6. what a great blog! a lady with values close to my own heart! we have a small cylinder hoover thing that i hate, but only use it, when people are coming round, to do the stair carpet and get the cat hairs off the sofa. the rest of the time we sweep the wooden and tiled floors that cover the majority of the house with a rubber broom and a dustpan. takes 5 minutes, no electrical energy used, and is just as efficient! dusting with a damp microfibre cloth is good too, and the dust doesnt fly everywhere.i dont use polishes anymore, except beeswax on the good wood in the house. Its gotta be better for us eh?

  7. We have the "wall to wall" carpeting and I just cant stand it! With the dogs, cats and children coming in and out and our 3 acres of dirt....its such a pain. Someday we will buy a home and NO carpet! The rugs in places you need them are good though...we actually have those on top of the carpet. So for now...Im keeping the Hoover, unfortunately. I really enjoy your plastic post.