How to Clean Your Vacuum

How to Clean Your Vacuum

I always thought my mom was crazy for cleaning her vacuum. After all, it seems counterproductive to clean your cleaning supplies.

But two years into owning my apartment by vacuum stopped working…and sure enough it’s because I didn’t realize I had to do more than just empty the bag once in a while.

When was the last time you cleaned your vacuum? If you never knew you had to clean your machine, the process is probably overdue.

A dirty vacuum can suffer from significantly lower suction power, making your job all the more difficult and inefficient. Plus, cleaning your vacuum lowers the amount of dust and bacteria the machine will inevitably spit back into the air, which also lowers your risk of infection or allergies.

When cleaning the machine, you must first understand the type of vacuum you own. There are a lot of different models out there, ranging in complexity, size and price. Here are step-by-step instructions explaining the cleaning process for a standard vacuum.

Step 1: Check the Bag

You should be gauging how full it is with every use and replacing it accordingly. Generally, a bag 2/3 full should be replaced, although vacuum function can be negatively impacted by bags or containers just 1/3 full. Get a feel for your vacuum to determine when the bag should be replaced or emptied, and reference the instructions before doing so.

Step 2: Look at the Brush Roll

You know that spiky scrub-brush substance that lines the bottom of the machine? Well, as that rolls on your floor, it can collect hair, dirt and other fibers, eventually becoming clogged. Remove your roller per the manual’s instructions and snip away unwanted substances with scissors.

Step 3: Dig Into the Bearings

If the brush roll continues to have trouble spinning, you may need to do some additional cleaning. Specifically, you may need to do extra cleaning/digging to the bearings. Make sure all fibers have been cut loose and lubricate the bearings if necessary.

Step 4: Wipe it Down

While the brush roll is out, wipe the now-exposed machine interior. Dirt and debris can become trapped inside, hidden from plain view.

Step 5: Do a Belt Check

Check out the belt, located near the brush roll. If you detect rips or tears replace the belt. It should be replaced every year depending on the model and how much you use the vacuum.

Step 6: Clean the Filters

Look at the filters if your model has them. Clean them out or replace them if necessary. Simply remove the filter and wipe it down or shake it out. Your model, if equipped with one, should have instructions for removing the filter. (Pst. This is what got clogged with hair that I had no idea needed changed on my Dirt Devil. I thought the lack of suction was just old age. After cleaning the plastic filter, my vacuum worked good as new!)

Step 7: Check Hoses and Spouts

Every now and then these attachments can become clogged, limiting the machine’s suction power. Try sticking a broom or a straight clothes hanger wire gently into the hose to dislodge anything that may have become stuck inside.

Step 8: Make It Smell Better

Finally, leave your machine smelling good for future cleaning. Put about four drops of lemon or wild orange essential oil on a small piece of tissue. Vacuum it up and enjoy the fresh scent.

So before you go out to buy another very expensive dirt sucker, try going through these 8 steps to cleaning your vacuum to figure out whether you really need a new one or if you just have to clean your cleaning machine.

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