How to Clean a Vacuum Cleaner – Step by Step Guide

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It’s true that vacuum cleaners do all the cleaning around the house and make sure they don’t leave any dust or dirt around, but these dust-eating machines also need cleaning, just like any other object. Cleaning a vacuum cleaner is very important if you want it to function properly and do its job effectively.

Not cleaning the vacuum cleaner on a regular basis can cause it to lose its suction power due to blockages. This makes the machine quite slow and might cause it to overheat.

This article is all about how to clean your vacuum cleaner the right way so that the issues mentioned above and many others won’t happen to your machine, so read on.

Before Starting

Before you jump into cleaning your vacuum, make sure to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, since there’s going to be a lot of dust, it is advised that you do the cleaning in an open, ventilated area. Do not forget to make sure the vacuum is unplugged from the power supply and you have the user manual with you. Don’t worry if you have lost it; you might be able to find your vacuum model’s manual online.

Dismantle the Vacuum Cleaner

After you have taken all the pre-cleaning measures, start by dismantling the vacuum cleaner. Take out the canister, filter and any other removable object to make the cleaning process easier and more in depth.

Cleaning the Filter

Vacuum Cleaning the Filter

The filter catches the most dirt, so that’s where you should start your cleaning process. Check your manual to see where the filter is located if you haven’t already found and taken it out. Cleaning the filter is a major step because the filter is holding all the dust and dirt particles.

Most vacuums come with a filter that is washable. To wash it, simply take it out, shake it or tap it against the floor to clear out all the trapped particles and wash it with cool water. Leave it out to dry for at least 24 hours before you install it back and start using it.

If your vacuum doesn’t feature a washable filter, you can always buy a new filter from any nearby hardware store.

Cleaning the Canister

The canister is what holds all the debris and dirt that get sucked into the vacuum cleaner. If your vacuum has a bag for a canister, make sure you change it as soon as it gets full.

Now, for a normal canister, empty it inside a dustbin after removing it from the vacuum. You can soak the canister in soap water and scrub it with a brush to give it that extra cleaning.

After the scrubbing, wash it and lay it out to dry for at least 24 hours. It is highly important that there is no moisture left inside the canister and that it is completely dry.

Cleaning the Insides

Since your vacuum is already dismantled, it will be good if you clean the insides too. In order to do that, use a cleaning brush to clean out all the dust and dirt stuck onto the vacuum’s inner body. Then, wipe it down with a clean, soft piece of cloth. You can also use a slightly wet cloth, but give the machine time to completely dry out before you start putting it back together.

If you want to go the extra mile in cleaning your vacuum cleaner, you can use a can of compressed air and blow it onto the vacuum cleaner with high pressure. This will get almost all the dirt out of your vacuum cleaner.

Cleaning the Powerhead

A lot of hair strands and dust particles tend to get caught up in the beater bar, also known as the powerhead. This accumulation prevents the bristles from effectively sucking things out of the carpet.

Use a pair of scissors and pluck out or trim the hair and debris stuck onto the powerhead. Be careful with this process as you do not want to damage the bristles. When you are done, use a brush to clean out any remaining dust particles or debris.

As an extra precautionary step, you can also use cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol and rub them all over the bristles and powerhead thoroughly to disinfect them. These areas are quite vulnerable to picking up dust and harmful diseases.

Cleaning the Hose and Other Attachments

To clean the hose, you can straighten out a hanger and insert it inside the hose, which will unclog it and clear out any blockage present. Don’t poke the hanger too hard or else you might end up damaging the hose.

Attach dryer sheets to a broom or mop and insert it inside the hose to pick up the dust clung to the insides. Gently move the broom forward and backward to ensure you get all the areas of the hose and dust them out perfectly.

After you are done with these steps, simply put your hose and any other attachment under warm water, rinse them and clean them properly, and leave them out to dry for a minimum of 24 hours.


All the steps mentioned above will ensure that your vacuum cleaner becomes perfectly clean and ready for your next cleaning session. Make sure you follow the instructions given in the user manual when taking apart the vacuum cleaner and assembling it again. Following the manual is important because an error can cause your machine to not function properly.

When it comes to how regularly you should clean your vacuum cleaner, it all comes down to your usage. If you use it a lot, you need to clean it at least once a month. If you use it moderately, cleaning the filter at least once in 3 months would be good enough.

Regular cleaning will allow your machine to vacuum effectively and decrease the time you spend vacuuming.

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