Can You Compost Your Vacuum Cleaners Contents?

It’s such an interesting topic that was recently brought up to me about someone using the dust that your vacuum cleaner collects for compost.

Looking into this I found that using the contents from your vacuum cleaner’s dust bin in your compost pile seems to be hotly debated.

Some say it’s okay, and others are saying it’s terrible.

Since it was such an interesting question, I wanted to dig in and see if it was okay to use your vacuum cleaner’s dustbin contents in your compost.

Why Putting Your Vacuum Cleaner Dust In Your Compost Is Bad?

Before I go too deep, I wanted to know why on earth someone would say it’s terrible to put the contents of your dustbin in your compost?

The most common reasons I’ve found…

  1. It’s disgusting.
  2. Old hair.
  3. Dust.
  4. Old food.
  5. Dirt.
  6. Pet hair.
  7. Heavy metals.
  8. Synthetic carpet fibers.
  9. Chemicals from cleaners.
  10. Oils from driveways and roads.

I can see how oils and chemicals from cleaners can be bad but a lot of the other stuff they list as being bad is a good reason to compost it. I mean, old food and dirt make great compost!

Sucking up synthetic carpet fibers is a problem for sure, but you’re not sucking up as much as you think. The way so many people put it makes it sound like you suck up enough carpet fibers that you won’t have any carpets after the 10th vacuum. Sucking up carpet fibers is more of a problem for new carpets as it gets broken in.

To be perfectly honest, a lot of the reason to not compost the vacuum cleaner lint and dust just seems weak to me. There are a few valid points, but overall I’m not sold just yet, but let’s keep on.

Reasons To Compost Your Vacuum Cleaners Contents

Since we have the reasons not to add the vacuum cleaner’s contents to your compost, let’s list some reasons why it makes sense.

  1. It’s dirt, often from the outside.
  2. Food gunk and particles are often sucked up in the vacuum cleaner.
  3. Skin and hair make up a lot of the dust in the vacuum cleaner’s bin.
  4. Pet hair and pet gunk, it’s organic too.
  5. Spider webs and sometimes a roach or bug you vacuum up.
  6. Dust mites.

Much of what you vacuum up is simple dirt from the outside that gets tracked back in your home. The rest is dead skin, hair, and food, along with the oddballs like plastics and synthetic fibers.

What Compost Bin Manufacturers Say?

Most compost bin manufacturers say not to put your vacuum cleaner’s lint and dust in the compost.

The reasons they state are the same as those I mentioned at the start.

It Ends Up In The Landfill Anyway

What is interesting to me is if you’re not throwing your vacuum cleaner contents into your compost, it’s just going to the landfill anyway.

The landfill is a large compost pile.

It’s not like you’re vacuuming up radioactive waste, it’s mostly dirt from the outside and your dead skin cells plus hair and dust mites.

What Should You Do?

To compost your vacuum cleaner contents or not, that is the question.

I can see it from both sides, but I’ll have to say it is ultimately up to you.

Composting your vacuum cleaner’s dust bin contents makes sense if you have all hardwood floors and no carpets. The oddball of things that won’t compost won’t be a lot, and you have a lot of organisms like dust mites and food particles that help with composting!

But if you’re sucking up a lot of junk like plastic, paper clips, staples, or junk that is not organic or natural, I would avoid it. So basically, if your home is an office or mechanics shop, don’t dump your vacuum cleaner’s dust bin in your compost.

If oil, synthetic fibers, and other non-organic materials worry you when it comes to your compost, then don’t put your vacuum cleaner’s contents in it.