How to Unclog And Clean A Vacuum Hose?

By Jeneva Aaron Updated December 19, 2020

Unclog the hose to improve suction


Like any other appliance in your home, a vacuum cleaner also requires regular maintenance to perform well. If neglected for too long, a vacuum might lose its suction or stop working altogether.

To prevent that, you must learn how to clean a vacuum hose as that’s the central part of the vac coming in direct contact with the dirt and debris. If you don’t clean or unclog it regularly, the hose is likely to become blocked and malfunction.

If you want to clean your home efficiently, and increase the vac’s lifespan, follow the hose cleaning guide below.

Table of Contents

How Often to Clean a Vacuum Hose?

Depending on the frequency of use, you must clean the hose at least once a month. If you’ve recently used the vacuum cleaner for deep cleaning the entire home, it’s time to unclog the hose because it’s pretty messy in there.

During my housekeeping supervision days at a hotel, I instructed my team to clean the hose every two to three weeks because the vacuum cleaners were used regularly in the hotel rooms. However, if you only use your vac occasionally, you can clean the hose every two months.

Even better, check the hose manually to determine if it is clogged. The following signs indicate that your vacuum cleaner hose is in dire need of cleaning.

Loss of Suction

The most obvious sign of the hose being clogged is the loss of suction. If there are furballs or bigger dirt particles stuck in the hose’s tube, there will be a significant drop in air movement.

Also, your vacuum cleaner might start blowing out dust. If this happens, clean the hose immediately.

Bad Odor

Secondly, bad odor is an indicator of a clogged hose. As dirt and food crumbs go up the vacuum cleaner, they may block the tube. Over time, they accumulate in the constrained space and start rotting.

That’s when the hose begins to give off a nasty odor, signaling that it’s time to get your cleaning gloves on.

However, none of these problems mean that you need to replace the hose. A simple cleaning can make it as good as new. The hose only needs replacement if there’s a rip or hole in the tube, causing air leakage.

How to Clean a Vacuum Hose?

Now that you know the signs of a clogged hose, let’s talk about the cleaning process.

What You’ll Need

Here are the supplies you’ll need to unclog and clean the vacuum hose.

It’s better to take the hose to your bathroom or kitchen after detaching it from the vacuum as you’ll need a sink for cleaning.

1.Detach the Vacuum Hose

Before you disassemble the hose, unplug the vacuum. Now, follow the instructions on your user’s guide or manual to detach the hose from the vacuum cleaner.

For most vacs, you have to twist the hose, and it will come apart. Some others have a button that needs to be pressed to detach the hose from the main unit.

Do not apply excessive force or pressure on the hose. That’s one thing I always told my recruits at the hotel. If disassembling something from the vacuum requires force, you’re probably doing it wrong.

That’s because vacs are designed to be easily assembled and disassembled. Thus, if you’re handling any part of the vacuum roughly, it can break apart.

2.Remove the Clumps

Now, visually inspect the hose’s opening for any larger clumps or clogs. Put the hose on a table or the countertop and use a wire hanger to remove the visible blockages.

Alternatively, you can use a broom handle to get rid of hair clogs and larger debris particles. Remember to be gentle, or you’ll end up ripping a hole in the hose tube with the hanger.

1.Wash the Hose

Fill your kitchen or bathroom sink with hot water and add a few drops of dish soap in it. Place the hose in the water and make sure it’s fully submerged.

If the sink is too small, move the hose around to ensure that the water reaches inside the tube. Use a damp cloth to remove any visible dirt or hair you see in the accessible parts of the hose.

Do not use harsh cleaning chemicals as the hose tubing cannot withstand them. If you don’t have dish soap, use a mild detergent instead.

4.Sanitize the Hose

If you want to sanitize the hose, you can use household products for the job. For instance, vinegar is effective against many food-borne pathogenic bacteria. (1)

Make a solution with two cups of vinegar and a liter of water. Then, add half a cup of baking soda to the mix and stir the solution to dissolve the powder completely.

Pour this solution through the length of the hose. Don’t worry if there’s fizzing – that’s just the baking soda and vinegar’s acetic acid (2) in action.

5.Remove the Grime

If there’s tough grime in your hose, remove it using a bottle cleaning brush. Insert the brush in the crevices of the tube and scrub gently.

The bristles on a bottle cleaning brush are thin and long, making them perfect for removing grime or dirt lingering in the tube’s folds.

Again, don’t scrub too forcefully, or you may cause a rip in the hose.


All the dirt that you removed using a bottle cleaning brush or wire hanger must have fallen inside the tube. Rinse the hose by holding it in a ‘U’ shape under a faucet with strong water pressure.

Before letting the water run out from the other side of the tube, shake it around to gather all the dirt inside the hose.


Finally, dry the hose before assembling it back into the vacuum cleaner. Hang the hose on the shower curtain rod to drain the excess water. Alternatively, you can hang it on a clothing line or any elevated surface.

When dry, attach the hose back to the vac’s body. Turn the vacuum cleaner on, and you’ll notice an evident difference in the air movement. 

Tips and Warnings

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  • If the suction is still low after cleaning the hose, the problem lies in another part of the vac. Try cleaning the filters and brush roll to improve the airflow.
  • If there’s a rip or tear in the vac’s hose, replace it. Apart from lowering the suction, a damaged hose also lets dirt and hair escape back into the space you’re cleaning.
  • In case you cannot buy a replacement hose immediately, cover the cracked area with strong duct tape for the time being.
  • Do not use harsh cleaning chemicals for unclogging a hose. Such chemicals contain corrosive compounds that can eat away the hose material.
  • When cleaning the hose, turn off the vacuum cleaner and unplug it from the power outlet.
  • Rub a damp cloth on the exterior surface of the hose to clean any visible dirt.
  • If you suffer from allergies, cover your face when cleaning the vacuum hose.

Final Words

While a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner doesn’t always mean that the hose is clogged, it’s one of the possible causes. Thus, you should know how to clean a vacuum hose so that you don’t have to pay professional cleaners for something that you can do at home for free.

In this guide, I discussed an easy step by step method for cleaning your vacuum hose. Although not necessary, you can sanitize the tube using baking soda and vinegar.

More importantly, replace the vacuum hose if it’s damaged because no amount of cleaning will make it work any better. Now, it’s time for you to follow this guide and tell me:

Leave your comments and feedback 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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