How to Clean a Vacuum Cleaner Properly

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Have you ever wondered what — or who — lives within your vacuum? I know that seems strange but think about it. I use vacuum cleaners to remove dirt from your houses, but have you ever considered where all of this dirt ends up?

You’re probably thinking of the dust bag or bin, which is understandable because that’s where all the dirt should end up. But what about the dirt that accumulates on the beater bar, intake port, filters, and fan? What happens to that?

Dumping the debris from your vacuum and wiping down the equipment is not the end of the cleaning process. It is, in fact, the beginning.

Vacuum cleaners may get filthy, and filthy vacuums are bad for cleaning.

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Why You Should Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner

The majority of the dirt will make its way into the dust bag or canister when you vacuum your floors, carpets, and rugs. Some dirt, dirt, and particles become entangled in the beater bar and filters. All you have to do is glance at the beater bar to understand the concept.

When high-pressure suction is used to clean dirt off surfaces, it also disrupts settled dirt and antigens. Furthermore, when you turn off the vacuum, part of the dirt is discharged back into the environment.

This dirt should worry you since it may easily make its way back into the air you breathe, triggering an allergic response. A vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is an excellent approach to reduce this danger.

Cleaning your vacuum will also aid in the removal of dirt, germs, and other microorganisms that may be present.

While I am on the subject, if a member of your family has a stomach virus, avoid needing the vacuum. This is especially crucial if the individual is vomiting or has diarrhea. Some of the germs may make their way back into your house and infect others.

Cleaning your vacuum also improves its performance. Some folks will toss out their vacuum since it is no longer functional. However, unless there is a technical issue, the vacuum may just require a thorough cleaning.

Brushes on the beater bar, for example, become entangled in hair, fur, and other debris. These items impair their capacity to perform normally. In the same spirit, a blocked filter is unlikely to efficiently remove dirt from the air.

So, by making the effort to clean your vacuum, you are also ensuring that it will last a long time.

How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Vacuum?

The owner’s manual includes detailed instructions for cleaning and maintaining your vacuum. If you don’t have one, you can always look it up online. Ideally, you should take the vacuum apart for a thorough cleaning every 12 months, but no more frequently than every 18 months.

Furthermore, if your vacuum comes with a dust bag, always empty it when it is roughly two-thirds full. Any higher, and the vacuum will not work properly.

Bagless vacuums should also have their canisters emptied after usage. If you vacuum your home on a daily basis, you should clean the filters once a week. Those who vacuum once or twice a week can clean their filters once a month.

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Vacuum?

One red flag is decreased efficiency. If you have to go over the same area numerous times, it’s time to clean.

How to Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaners vary based on the model. In most situations, however, they will shave comparable components such as filters, beater bar, fan, motor, and so on. I’ve included a step-by-step tutorial on cleaning your vacuum below.

When disassembling the vacuum, keep in mind how the pieces will fit back together. If you can’t remember how to fit them back together, you could have some problems.

Disassemble Vacuum

Remove any dirt that may have accumulated in the dust bag or canister. Remove any washable or replaceable parts, such as filters and attachment attachments.

Clean Filters

There might be many filters in your vacuum. Check your vacuum’s owner’s handbook to see how many there are and where they are situated.

Dip the washable filter in water and scrape it clean with a toothbrush. If you intend to use a disinfectant, now is the time to add it. Allow the filter to air dry for at least 24 hours after rinsing it in cold water.

Non-washable filters can be tapped against a surface a few times to loosen and remove dirt and other clumped particles. You may simply wipe the dirt away needing a towel.

This is also an excellent opportunity to change the filters. Check the handbook for any directions on this, especially about the HEPA filter.

If the vacuum’s parts are still damp, do not assemble them. You may increase the likelihood of mold forming within the vacuum, which can cause a slew of health problems.

HEPA filters for vacuums used in homes may not need to be replaced for up to three years. Again, consult the vacuum’s owner’s handbook. If your HEPA filter develops a needs toy stench, it’s time to replace it.

Clean Cannister

If your vacuum comes with a dirtbag, you may skip this step. However, if you want to clean your dust bag more completely, see whether the handbook has any suggestions. Because most manufacturers do not advocate cleaning dust bags, you may need to replace them.

Now for those of you who have canisters. To begin, empty the container. Instructions for separating the canister from the main vacuuming unit may be found in the handbook.

Then, immerse the canister in warm soapy water (with a disinfectant added) and clean it with a brush. Rinse it in cool water, like you did the filter, and let it air dry fully.

Clean Inside Vacuum

With the canister out of the way, use the toothbrush to clean debris from the vacuum inside. Use downward strokes to ensure that the dirt falls and does not rise.

Then, use compressed air to blow away any obstinate or difficult-to-reach trash. Just keep an eye out for flying particles. These are quickly absorbed into your eyes and airways, causing allergic responses.

Clean Beater Bar

This section of the vacuum collects a lot of material, ranging from hair to threads and other dirt and grime. Begin by gently removing the hair and threads from the bristles needing scissors or a seam ripper.

After you’ve finished cutting, carefully take away the hair and any debris with your hands. Be delicate so that you don’t harm the bristles. Wipe away any leftover filth with the toothbrush.

If your vacuum’s spinning brush can be removed, detach it for a thorough cleaning. Behind the revolving brush is a tiny tunnel (seen in most vacuums) that is often overlooked.

Clear away any material that may be blocking this route. Remember how I mentioned booze earlier? Apply some to the bottom of your vacuum cleaner with a cotton pad.

I recommend cleaning the bottom because it is in contact with the surfaces in your home. Because it dries fast while cleaning the vacuum, alcohol is ideal for this.

This is also a good opportunity to look for signs of wear and tear on the vacuum drive belt. When there are visible indications of age and cuts, it is time to replace it.

Wash Accessories

This is a rather simple procedure. Washable attachments should be soaked in soapy water, scrubbed, and rinsed in cool water. If any of the attachments have hair or strings trapped in them, cut the debris and remove it needing scissors.

Remember to lay them flat for at least 24 hours to air dry.

Wipe Down The Outside Of Vacuum

Wipe down the vacuuming device with the microfiber cloth. If you want to make sure everything is clean and disinfected, rub a touch of alcohol over it.


When all of the parts are dry, reassemble the vacuum cleaner and install any new parts. When you’re through, give the vacuum a last wash down and you’re ready to go.

Benefits of a Handheld Vacuum

Caution When Cleaning Your Vacuum

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you clean your vacuum:

Make sure the vacuum cleaner is turned off and unplugged before inspecting the beater bar. A running vacuum can pull your hair from your head (yes, I am cringing as well). It may wreak havoc on your clothes and even harm some portions of your body.

If the electrical fault is worn out or has wares protruding out, do not use your vacuum cleaner.

Carry the vacuum cleaner by its cable to avoid damaging it and causing an electrical issue.

What If The Vacuum Smells?

Vacuum cleaners might stink if the dust bag or canister isn’t emptied on a regular basis. The odor might also be caused by sucking up something unpleasant or cleaning an area where your dog has slept.

Who am I fooling, your pets can stink at times? Here are some methods to assist you to refresh your vacuum, which will leave your home smelling great.

Purchas e fresh air fragrance beads and put one in the vacuum bag before cleaning.
You may also make your own dust bag by sprinkling a tiny bit of cinnamon or crushed potpourri into it. Alternatively, you may sprinkle straight over the area you’re cleaning before vacuuming.

These alternatives will give your vacuum cleaner and house a new smell.

A burning odor, on the other hand, is an indicator of exactly that — burning. You might have a defective electrical cable, putting you in danger of a fire or electric shock. In this case, have an electrician inspect the vacuum and wait for his approval before needing it.

Bottom Line On Cleaning Your Vacuum

Learning how to clean a vacuum cleaner properly will help your gadget operate more effectively and last longer. Don’t forget to check the filters for buildup on a regular basis, as well as the dust bag or bin.

Before you begin cleaning, gather all of your cleaning products in one location so that you are prepared for the job.

What is your preferred vacuum cleaner? Will you utilize your cleaning advice?

More Vacuuming Tips

How to Clean a Vacuum Cleaner Properly


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You can also grab a copy of my cleaning planner, The Get It Clean Cleaning Planner here on the site. It’s packed full of extremely practical tips and tricks and checklists that can help you get your house clean, and keep it clean once and for all.

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