How To Clean a Vacuum Brush (6 Simple Steps)

By Jeneva Aaron Updated October 1, 2021

Wash your vacuum brush’s bristles for a sparkling clean

How To Clean a Vacuum Brush (6 Simple Steps)

You’re fed up with seeing hair and grime on your vacuum brush. But how do you get your vacuum brush clean?

Here we tell you exactly how to clean a vacuum brush to free it of any germs and bacteria. We know it’s hard enough finding time in your day to vacuum. So the steps in our guide are straightforward and can be completed easily.

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
Table of Contents

How To Clean a Vacuum Brush

Why Should You Clean Your Vacuum Brush?

You should clean your vacuum brush and soft rollers because otherwise, it may damage your vacuum cleaner.

Hair, bits of dirt and debris, and threads can all get tangled around your vacuum cleaner when you use it. You may notice that your vacuum stops working as well.

And you may encounter the following problems:

  • The vacuum shuts itself off
  • The vacuum brush stops turning properly
  • The brushroll stops spinning – Bissell suggests this could be due to things clogging it up in their maintenance video here
  • An unpleasant smell – if the brushroll stops turning and spinning correctly, friction can burn the vacuum belt and produce bad smells
  • The roller belt may break if the vacuum brush isn’t cleaned
  • 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.
Some brands have tried to make the cleaning process easier for you with new vacuum brush technologies.

However, it’s likely that even on Shark’s self-cleaning brush there will be some hairs and fibers from time to time. So you’ll need to cut or clean these away.

Maintenance of your vacuum brush on a regular basis is key.

How Often Should You Clean Your Vacuum Brush?

Shark suggests that you should clean a vacuum brush when you can see that it needs cleaning. So when there is hair or debris wrapped around the roller. Plus, the professional advice from them is that you should “replace every 6-12 months or when visibly worn(2).

Bissell says that to extend the life of their vacuum cleaners, you just need to cut away any hair and debris tangled around the roller brush regularly. This will make sure the roller brush always works efficiently and will also help to prevent the roller belt from breaking (3).

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 – we recommend that you check your vacuum brush every month.

How To Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner Bristle Brush

The following guide will tell you how to clean a vacuum brush for all different types and models.


But first, you should check how you access the brushroll on your vacuum by looking into the manufacturer’s guidance.

See videos from the popular brands’ Shark, Dyson, and Eureka for their specific advice.

1. Turn The Vacuum Off

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

2. Pull The Debris Away

If your vacuum brush has stopped working and/or is jammed, it should be easy to fix. Using just your fingers, gently pull any debris or hair from the roller brush.

3. Remove The Bristle Brush

If there are more dirt particles or a build-up of hair, you need to remove the bristle brush attachment from the hose completely. Then you can give it a more thorough clean.

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.

4. Cut The Debris Away

You can use an old comb that you run through the 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.

You could also check to make sure there’s nothing in the hose causing a blockage. A torch will come in handy here.

5. 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.

6. Replace The brushroll

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


Can You Wash Your Brushroll?

Yes, you can wash your brushroll without damaging it.

But as we’ve said above, you can just wipe it with a dry towel after you’ve removed bigger bits of debris. That’s should be enough.

If you want to go a step further, you can wash the brush with warm water and a mild detergent such as dish soap.


You can even sanitize your vacuum brush bristles with a mixture of water and vinegar:

  • Diluted vinegar solution is a common product used in household cleaning. And the acetic acid found in vinegar is very powerful. It can dissolve stubborn dirt and mineral deposits, grease, and grime. Diluted vinegar is also strong enough to kill bacteria and mold (4).
  • You can also add baking soda to water or vinegar to give your vacuum brush a really good clean. Baking soda is a mineral abrasive that cleans by creating fiction. This lifts even the most hardened dirt/food/grease particles and stains (5).
Don’t forget to rinse.

Once you’ve cleaned your vacuum brush attachment, you must let it dry completely before putting it back. So leave it for at least 12 to 24 hours.

We asked Dyson if we could clean their vacuum brushes with dish soap or baking soda and vinegar. Here’s their reply: “that should be fine as long as it is thoroughly dry when reattached. If not, it will likely cause an issue with the connection.”

So this cleaning process should be ok for most vacuums. But do check with the manufacturer first.

How To Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner Soft Roller Brush

These steps will take you through how to clean your vacuum’s soft roller. As with the brushroll cleaning, this process can be followed for whatever type of vacuum you have.

But check first to see how you access the soft roller on your specific model.

1. Turn The Vacuum Off

Turn your vacuum off and unplug it from the power socket. Remove the batteries if you have a cordless model. Then take the hose extension out of the main part of the vacuum.

2. Remove The Soft Roller

On most models, you can easily remove the soft roller with either a coin or by sliding it away from the vacuum head.

3. 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.

4. 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 detergent like dish soap if it’s really dirty.

But, remember to remove the end cap first. This should not be washed.

5. 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.

6. Replace The Soft Roller

Put the soft roller back onto your vacuum, following the manufacturer’s guidance.

How To Clean a Vacuum Dust Brush Tool

Follow these steps to clean your vacuum’s dust brush. These tools are the same on most types of vacuum cleaner. So they’ll apply whatever module you have.

1. 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.

2. Tap the Debris Away

You can remove bigger bits of debris by first tapping the dust brush.

3. Vacuum

You can then use the hose or extension wand of your vacuum to suck up more dirt.

4. Comb

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

5. Hand Wash

You may want to 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.

6. Dry

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

Cleaning Your Vacuum Brush Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore

Using your vacuum cleaner regularly is going to result in dirt and fibers building up on your vacuum brush. And a big thing for a lot of us is how to remove hair that is tangled around the roller.

But with our step-by-step guide, you can easily maintain the brushes on your vacuum cleaner. It won’t take you long to clean the brushroll and soft roller. And regular cleaning will increase the lifespan of your vacuum cleaner.

For a clean vacuum brush, you don’t need any fancy products. A combination of careful pulling, wiping, and washing with a little mild soap is all that’s needed. Germs, dust, and dirt will all be removed effortlessly.

Please share with your friends so that they can benefit from our guide too. And provide any feedback you have for us below.

About the Author

Jeneva Aaron

Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.

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