How to Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner [with video]

The vacuum cleaner is one of the most important devices that you use in your home. It makes cleaning much easier for you and your family and it keeps the dust, the bacteria and the dirt away. Of course, in order for the vacuum to work properly you have to make sure you clean it regularly, otherwise it might do you more harm than good. Do you want to know how to clean your vacuum cleaner? Then check out this article!

Cleaning a dry vacuum cleaner

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A dry vacuum cleaner with a bag to collect the dirt is probably the most common type of vacuum that you will find in regular homes. It is easy to find, easy to use and most of the time it does the job, and even the cleaning is not as tricky as in other cases.

First of all, make sure that you have the right kind of bags before you start the cleaning process. There are some vacuums that use paper bags that you just throw and replace when they are full, and there are others that use synthetic ones that you need to empty and reattach when they reach full capacity. If you imagine that you have to wait for the bag to be full before you replace it, you’re wrong; it is recommended to do this process when the bag is 2/3 full, otherwise you might discover that your vacuum is not cleaning as effective as before and a part of the dirt is going outside after you are done cleaning.

Once you took all this in consideration, the process is quite simple: remove the old bag by holding it from the top, making sure that you don’t leave any dirt outside. Throw it in the trash or empty it, then reattach it in its place. Before you put it back you can also use a wet cloth to clean its valve, just to avoid leaving any dust behind.

Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner

Clean the brush roll

Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner Brush Roll

The brush roll is the one “doing the job” almost half of the time. If the brush is not good or it does not catch every piece of dirt and hair from the carpet, it does not matter what suction power your vacuum has: it won’t work perfectly. Therefore, there is no surprise to find a lot of dirt on it that is, to your frustration, pretty difficult to remove.

To clean the brush roll you have to first remove the bottom plate. In this way you will have good access to all the brush. The plate usually has some kind of clips for easy removal, so you don’t have to loosen up the screws.

Remove the brush from its place; this will also be easy, and all you have to do is gently pull it from one side, then another. Once it’s out, you can use your hand, another brush, a pair of scissors or water to clean it. Either way, you have to make sure that it does not have any hair or debris left. If you clean the brush with water and detergent, allow it to air dry before you put it back in its place.

Another thing that you can do to make sure that the brush is working perfectly is to check and replace if needed the small belt that is moving the brush. You will find it wrapped around the brush and you can find out if it is stretched out by comparing it to a new one. It is recommended to replace this belt every few months.

Clean the air filter

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Many vacuums, regardless of the fact if they are wet or dry, have a filter that catches small particles of dirt that won’t stay in the collecting bag. If the filter on your vacuum is made from foam or plastic, it probably washable so you can rinse it with warm water, let it air dry then put it back. If it is a different model and it is made from paper or fabric, you will most likely have to replace it every time you clean your vacuum cleaner; luckily, this part is easy and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Clean the hose

Clean the Vacuum Cleaner Hose

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Most of the people don’t think about this, but the hose of the vacuum is the place that gets in contact with all the dirt sooner or later. Even if your vacuum pulls the dirt inside with its suction power, this does not mean that hair, dirt or clogs can’t be stuck on the hose. You will not notice any of them, but they will significantly reduce the efficiency of the vacuum and you will feel that the suction power of it is not as good as it should be.

In order to clean the hose, you can use a long stick, a broomstick or a bent coat hanger. There are special brushes on the market for this, but generally they are hard to find. Take your instrument of choice (the coat hanger works the best in most cases) and wrap it in wet napkins. In this way you will also clean the walls of the hose and the dirt will get stuck to the napkins. Be carefully to not puncture the house with the tip of the hanger and to not push any big clogs into the vacuum cleaner; the cleaning needs to be done from the side that is attached to the vacuum to the other side of the hose, not the other way around.

Vacuums with water containers

There are new devices on the market that use water to store the dirt and to clean more efficiently. When the dirt is gathered it is transformed into a thick mud inside the container, and although this will keep every particle of dirt inside, it is not very pleasant when you have to clean it. However, paying a special attention to this is important, as this wet environment can easily develop bacteria, mold or fungus.

First, you have to take out the container; if it is for one use, simply remove it and replace it with a new one. If it is made from plastic and you have to reuse it, you have to wash it properly and allow it to air dry before putting it back. Some people choose to rinse the container with a solution made from water and vinegar that will not only keep the bad smell away, but it will also kill some of the bacteria that might be hiding in there.

Regarding the water that you put in the vacuum, it is important to replace it every few days. If you did not use your vacuum in weeks and it still has water inside from the last time you used it, it’s recommended to change the water before using it; that old water might have gathered dirt and bacteria already or it might have a bad smell that you can’t feel at first.

Clean the accessories

Almost every vacuum cleaner comes with accessories, like different types of brushes that you should use for different surfaces. Most of the people forget about these accessories when they clean their vacuum, and then they wonder why it is not working as well as it should. If you use any other brush, hose or accessories while cleaning, it is important to sanitize them too when you do this with your device.

How often should I clean the vacuum cleaner?

Believe it or not, in most of the cases months have to pass before people realize that their vacuum cleaner needs to be cleaned. During this time plenty of dirt is gathering in the device and it can be very harmful especially to people who suffer from allergies or asthma. Try to keep your device clean by going through all this process every 2 months or so, depending on how often you use it. If you are cleaning the house every day, for sure the storage bag will have to be replaced more often or the container will have to be emptied after every use.

If the vacuum cleaner is not as strong as it used to be or it is making strange noises while cleaning, you should definitely open it up and clean it; most of the time it does not have a real problem, it just needs to be cleaned properly. Replace the small parts (the belt, the bags) every time it is needed.


Take advantage of one of the most important devices in your home as much as you can, and don’t allow it to become one of the many vacuums that can no longer be used because they were not cleaned in time.

Make sure that you remove all the dirt from your home as often as possible, and don’t forget about it in the container of your vacuum. In the end, if you wouldn’t want that on your carpets for sure you don’t want it in your vacuum!

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