How to Maintain and Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner

By Jeneva Aaron Updated December 19, 2020

Keep your vac in top condition

How to Maintain and Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner

It might come as a surprise to you, but the cleaning equipment in your house needs to be cleaned too. Yes, that’s right.

When was the last time you cleaned your vac? Have you ever cleaned it since you first bought it? Probably not.

Your vacuum cleaner is the most hardworking cleaning appliance in the house, and it needs regular maintenance to keep managing the toil. After a year or half of use, the vacuum might be bunged up with an ugly-shaped filter.

No need to panic, though. With proper cleaning, your vac will be up and running in no time. If you take good care of it, a vacuum cleaner may even exceed its lifespan.

Let’s talk about how you can maintain and clean your bagless or bagged vac to make it as good as new.

Table of Contents

What You’ll Need

Step by Step Instructions

As you can see, you don’t need a lot of supplies to keep your vacuum in pristine condition. Let’s discuss different parts of the vac and how they can be cleaned.

1.Clean the Floorheads

A vac’s floorhead is the first thing that comes in contact with the ground. After deep cleaning your home, the floorhead is filled with hair – yours and your pets’.

Check the floorheads for hair and debris that might be clogging it. Ensure that nothing is obstructing the brushbar as this can lead to poor vac performance while cleaning carpets.

The cleanup differs from one vac to another:

Make a habit of cleaning the brush bar and the floorhead regularly. If you let hair, dirt, and debris clog this part of the vacuum, they will disturb the airflow, leading to low suction.

2.Clean the Filters

The filters in your vac ensure that the collected dust does not escape back into your home. However, I find it surprising how most homeowners neglect cleaning the vacuum filters regularly.

After all, clogged filters can cause lowered suction, and you don’t want that, do you?

If you’re not already familiar, let me tell you that there are two filters in your vac, no matter what kind it is.

Make a habit of cleaning these filters at least once a month following the instructions on the vacuum’s user’s manual.

For most filters, you merely have to clean them with tap water and let dry for about 24 hours before putting them back in the vac. If the dirt is tough, you can also use soapy water for better cleaning.

Some motor filters need a few taps against the wall to make them dust-free. It’s as simple as that.

3.Empty the Dust Bag

If the vacuum’s dust bag or container is overflowing with debris, it can negatively impact suction, causing a drop.

In a bagless vacuum, there’s a maximum level indicated on the canister. Don’t let dust and debris accumulate above that point.

I’d suggest emptying the dust bag after every use as the max line is often at half or one-third of the canister’s depth.

You’ll definitely want to get the most out of every bag for bagged vacuums since replacement bags can be pricey. However, be wary of how you use the bags.

If the suction is dropping, it’s time to bring in a new vacuum bag.

4.Examine the Vac Drive Belt

Hold up! Don’t start looking for a new upright vac if your existing one has a malfunction spinning brush. It’s most probably acting up because the drive belt is broken or damaged.

A replacement drive belt costs a few dollars, and it can get the vac back in working order. Make sure to rule that possibility out before purchasing a new vacuum cleaner.

5.Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner

Every six months or so, give your vacuum a thorough cleanup. Doing so will clean the vac’s components while removing traces of dust and debris that you might have ignored in routine maintenance. 

Before you start cleaning, unplug the vacuum. Now, you’re all set.

Start by removing the hose from the vacuum. Use a wire hanger to remove any dust or hair in the hole that connects the hose to the housing unit.

Then, lay the hose on the floor and insert the wire hanger inside it to dislodge clogs stuck deep within. You can also clean it with soapy water later. Make sure to dry it thoroughly before reassembling back into the vac.

Things get a bit tricky now but don’t worry, I’ve got you. Remove the central unit from the vac and separate the washable parts from the nonwashable ones.

The washable parts include the motor filters, vacuum attachments, cyclone pieces, dust bin, and accessories. In short, empty the vacuum because you’ll be removing dust from the inside later.

Soak the plastic parts in soapy water and wipe the metal parts with a damp washcloth. Leave both components aside to let them dry.

Depending on the types of filters, there are two ways to maintain their utmost performance. Some filters need to be replaced every few months. Refer to the vac’s user manual for this information.

In contrast, some filters can be cleaned with warm water and only need replacement if there’s a tear.

Now, use the compressed air-can to clean the inside of the vacuum. Get into the edges and around the nooks to remove the excess dust.

It’s best to do it out in the yard, or the dust will be released back into the house.

Tips and Warnings

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  • If you’ve lost your vacuum’s instructions manual, search for the vacuum model with the manufacturer’s name on Google. You’ll find a PDF version of the manual.
  • Always empty the dust bag after deep cleaning your house. As for routine household cleaning, empty it when the debris crosses the max line.
  • Some filters have short lifespans of four to six months. Replace them as required.
  • Don’t wash metal parts of the vacuum cleaner in soapy water as it can damage them.
  • Disassemble your vacuum outside the house as cleaning bagless vacs is a messy job. Wear a mask if you have allergies.

Final Words

A crucial, yet often neglected, part of good housekeeping is to keep your cleaning supplies clean. With vacuum cleaners, you need to separately take care of each component, as I’ve explained in this guide.

It might seem like an extra chore to clean your vac regularly. But think of it this way: it can help you save hundreds of dollars that you’d otherwise have to spend on a new vacuum.

Now it’s time for you to clean your vac and share with me:

I’d love to hear your feedback and questions in the comments.


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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