Diaperless Babies?! What can we learn about VACUUMS from this child-rearing trend?

What do diaperless babies have to do with vacuum cleaners? Hopefully nothing, directly. But there is an increasingly popular potty-training method that has a peculiar parallel to trends in the vacuum world! “Elimination communication.”  Perhaps you’ve heard of it?  You may find this information enlightening or possibly disturbing. Either way, we hope it just gets you thinking.
Diaperless Baby & Bagless vacuum

From Wikipedia: “Elimination communication, or EC, is a practice in which….using timing, signals, cues, and intuition…caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies’ bodily needs and enable them to [eliminate waste] in an appropriate place (e.g. a toilet)… The term…was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures…Because EC lessens families’ reliance on diapers, this helps reduce the environmental impact of discarding disposable diapers and/or washing cloth diapers, and saves families hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in disposable diapers.”     **CLICK HERE for a humerous review of “Elimination Communication” from Stephen Colbert ** 

So now I’ll let you in on the analogy/inside joke that we’ve used for years: “Bagless vacuums are like diaperless babies.”  How can we make such a bold and repulsive comparison? Because we fix vacuums for a living!  (BTW – If you currently operate bagless, pleeeease do not be offended. We simply hope you consider our expert opinions carefully and utilize the constructive tips we offer.)

If you’ve subscribed for any length of time you are well aware of our company’s feelings on bagless vacuums…YUCK!” If you’re a newcomer, the main reason we have such a poor opinion of bagless machines is because of their high demand for cleaning/maintenance and the unsanitary condition that presents. The second greatest issue is that (versus bagged equivalents) we see an incredibly high rate of clogging, breakage and catastrophic failure that lead to their premature “death” and disposal. Most folks are misled into believing that bagless vacs are ” practically maintenance free“, “great for allergies” and/or “economical.” I’ve written countless articles in the past exposing the erroneous rational behind each of those claims, in great detail. (Click each respective link to see a corresponding article or video from our archives, or visit our Articles Archive to see more.)

Of course bagless vacuums have certain advantages. Most bagless owners quote a great sense of gratification from actively seeing how much dirt they retrieve while vacuuming. They also mention feeling relief from the burden of having to “run out and buy bags” and love how cheap most are to buy up front. Unfortunately, most people discover that these blessings turn into a curse in the long run. 

Diapers = Bags

Now back to our analogy.  It’s easy to see the likeness between disposable vacuum cleaner bags and disposable baby diapers. So the converse must be true, right? Let’s see what similarities we can find…


The more you look at it, babies (diapered and not) and vacuums (bagged and not) have a lot in common! And each style has its particular advantages and disadvantages. Which format is right for you depends on your priorities and preferences. 

Start by deciding what your end goal is, then work backward. Framed within the bigger picture, you’ll want to consider the finer details like costs; up-front and long-term expenses. Also think about the effects your choice may have on your lifestyle, both positive and negative. Again, the majority of this deliberation requires some gazing into the future!

If it’s your baby, your goals may be for her to reach potty independence sooner and to save on the cost of diapers. But you must be available and willing to take her to the restroom as soon as she gives the cue – and be prepared for the accident in case there are no facilities nearby. Could all that be a game-changer?

Similarly, a bagless vacuum from Wal-Mart may suit your budget right now and seem convenient. But do you have the facilities to empty the bin and wash the filters in a sanitary location? Do you have the desire, time and space to wash the filters and let them dry (or money to replace them if required?) Can you afford the long-term expense of replacing the entire vacuum almost every year? Would it bother your ecological conscience to know the severe negative impact you’ll make in the landfill?  Babes or bags, reach your goal by making sure that you have the equipment and wherewithal to take the necessary steps – ones that actually go in the right direction!

The bottom line?  Using the EC potty training method can unquestionably reduce the quantity of diapers in the city dump. If you were hand-washing cloth diapers to reduce the bulk of trash, you would still be using a considerable amount of water and detergent, something not entirely without environmental impact. There are plausible environmental and (possibly developmental) advantages to these child care methods over the typical “Pamper-ed” lifestyle. But the question is whether you, as a parent,would be willing and able to be so “hands-on?”The same question can be asked of the bagless vacuum owner… Bagless has its benefits, but be prepared for some extra, hands-on maintenance and a lot of hidden costs!