Dear Rabbi Simon,
I have a cleaning lady coming on Yom Tov. (What a blessing!) Can she vacuum the carpets?
Thank you so much.
The halakhic problem with a vacuum cleaner is that it makes a lot of noise. This is an issue as it detracts from the Shabbos/Yom Tov atmosphere in the home, and it suggests that members of the household may themselves be desecrating the sanctity of the day. For this reason, allowing your cleaner to use an electrical appliance of this sort should be avoided unless the need is pronounced and there is no one home at the time.
We generally do not allow our cleaner to vacuum on Shabbos or yom tov, but at Kesher, when the building is empty, we sometimes will permit it. Either way you may not instruct her directly to use the vacuum cleaner, but rather hint in an indirect way. (The guidelines for this are complex. We can discuss further in person.)
I hope this is helpful.
Best wishes and Chag Same’ach
Rabbi Rashi Simon