How To Clean a Vacuum Brush (6 Simple Steps)

By
Jeneva Aaron
Jeneva is the founder and CEO of thehousewire.com where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products. She is a cleaning enthusiast. She got inspired to build her own cleaning blog when she realized how cleaning can make an impact on our lives and how a cleaner home can affect a person's mood.
Learn more about The Housewire’s Editorial Process
Updated April 18, 2022

Wash your vacuum brush’s bristles for a sparkling clean

Wash your vacuum brush’s bristles for a sparkling clean

How To Clean Vacuum Brush
Whether you’re using a stick, an upright, or a canister vacuum, a vacuum brush is the first spot where hair and grime accumulate. Hair, bits of dirt and debris, and threads can all get tangled around your vacuum cleaner when you use it.

And if you don’t pay enough attention, a build-up of dirt and debris can also lead to germs and bacteria developing – which you then spread around your home on the vacuum brush.

In worst-case scenarios, the vacuum roller brush can stop spinning, creating friction that can burn the vacuum belt and produce bad smells.

Some brands have tried to make the cleaning process easier for you with new vacuum brush technologies. Tangle-free or self-cleaning roller vacuum brushes are now available with some models.

However, it’s likely that even on this kind of brush there will be some hairs and fibers from time to time.

Here we tell you exactly how to clean vacuum brush to free it from dirt and grime.

How To Clean The Brushroll Of Any Vacuum

  • Turn the vacuum cleaner off
  • Pull any debris away from the brush
  • Remove the brushroll, for deeper cleaning.
  • Cut threads/hair from the vacuum brush or use an old comb
  • Wipe any last bits of dirt away with a dry cloth
  • Replace the brushroll

How Often Should You Clean a Vacuum Brush

You should clean your vacuum brush on a regular basis or whenever it needs cleaning.

If there is hair or debris wrapped around the roller, for example, it’s time to take action.

Likewise, if you do a lot of vacuuming – you’ve got kids, pets, a busy household, use your vacuum at work and in the car as well as at home – check your vacuum brush every month.

Before You Begin

Whatever the brush type and the cleaning method, make sure that your vacuum cleaner is off before you start.

If it’s a cordless model, you need to remove the batteries. Then lift the hose extension off the main body of the vacuum.

Also, the following methods will tell you how to clean a vacuum brush for all different types and models.

But first, check how you access the bristle brush or brush roll on your vacuum by looking into the manufacturer’s guidance.

What You’ll Need

Materials

Tools

Instructions

Turn The Vacuum Off

Make sure that your vacuum is turned off, when cleaning the brushes

 

Cleaning The Bristle Brush

Bristle Brush

01 Pull The Debris Away

Using just your fingers, gently pull any debris or hair from the roller brush.
Pull The Debris Away

02 Remove The Bristle Brush

If there are more dirt particles or a build-up of hair, remove the bristle brush attachment from the hose completely.

Just like replacing a vacuum bag, how you do this will depend on the make and model. Most are easy to remove with a release button, screwdriver, or coin.

03 Cut The Debris Away

Use an old comb to run through the brush bristles. This will remove all the debris and hairs that got caught in the bristles. If they’re really stuck, use some scissors, cut away the threads and hair to remove it from the brushroll.

Also check if there’s nothing in the hose causing a blockage. A torch will come in handy here.
Cutting The Debris Away

04 Wipe Your Vacuum Brush Clean

Give the brushroll a wipe with a dry towel or microfiber cloth. This will make sure any tiny bits of dirt are removed.

If you want to go a step further, wash the brush with warm water and a mild detergent such as dish soap. Once you’ve cleaned your vacuum brush attachment, let it dry completely – at least 12 to 24 hours – before putting it back.
Wipe The Vacuum Brush

05 Replace The Brushroll

Following the manufacturer’s advice, put the vacuum brush attachment back onto your vacuum.
Replace The Brushroll
 

Cleaning The Soft Roller Brush

Soft Roller Brush

01 Remove The Soft Roller

Remove the soft roller with either a coin, or by sliding it away from the vacuum head.
Remove The Soft Roller

02 Tap And Wipe The Debris Away

If there isn’t too much dirt, a gentle tapping of the soft roller should remove most of it.

You can then use a dry towel or microfiber cloth to wipe it clean. This will also completely remove any dirt caught between the teeth behind the roller.
Tapping And Wiping The Debris Away

03 Hand Wash

For more stubborn dirt, you may want to wash the soft roller in some warm water. Use just your bare hands and a small amount of mild cleaner if it’s really dirty.

But, remember to remove the end cap first, if any. This should not be washed.
Washing The Rotating Brush

04 Dry

Leave plenty of time for the drying process. The vacuum brush attachment needs to air dry completely for at least 24 hours before you can put it back on.
Drying The Rotating Brush

05 Cleaning a Vacuum Dust Brush Tool

Put the soft roller back onto your vacuum, following the manufacturer’s guidance.
Replace The Soft Roller
 

How To Clean a Vacuum Dust Brush Tool

01 Remove the Dust Brush

Take the brush attachment off the vacuum. Look at the manufacturer’s advice if you’re not sure how to do this.
Remove The Dust Brush

02 Tap the Debris Away

You can remove bigger bits of debris by first tapping the dust brush.
Tap The Debris Away

03 Vacuum

Use the hose or extension wand of your vacuum to suck up more dirt.
Vacuum The Brush

04 Comb

An old comb will come in handy here. This will remove any remaining threads/hair and dry dirt.
Combing the Brush

05 Hand Wash

Hand wash your dust brush to give it a thorough clean. Use only water, or a little mild soap. Let it soak for around an hour.
Washing The Brush

06 Dry

Before putting the brush back on your vacuum, allow it to air dry for at least 24 hours.
Drying The Brush

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