Cleaning Your Vacuum Cleaner


We use our vacuum cleaners often to keep the floors in our home clean, but, when do we think of cleaning the vacuum itself? We often neglect our important cleaning tools; I mean really, we just want to get the job done right?

If you do notice a “smell” while vacuuming and it’s not because you have a full bag or container, it could be time to clean the vacuum, here are some tips to make sure your vacuum is clean and ready when you need it.

What to Keep in Mind before you Start

  1. Before you start, make sure the vacuum is unplugged.
  2. If there are removable parts, be sure whatever parts you remove, you can put back together when you’re finished. After all, your vacuum won’t do you much good if it remains in pieces.
  3. One thing I’ve learned while helping my husband work on cars – if you’re even the tiniest bit unsure of how to put something back together – take a picture of it before taking it apart.
  4. It’s important to make sure all parts are fully dry before reassembling as you don’t want mold and mildew to grow inside your vacuum.

Cleaning the Body of Vacuum and Accessories

Start with the body of your vacuum. You can use alcohol wipes to clean and disinfect the outside of your vacuum, handle, canister, outside of the hose, tools, wheels, etc. For removable parts, use a mild soap and water to clean.

This is also a good time to clean extension tubes, furniture brush and other accessories that come with the vacuum.

Cleaning the Vacuum Filters

The filters in a vacuum cleaner should be replaced and/or cleaned regularly. To clean, use an old toothbrush to gently remove any stuck on dirt and grime, you can also use a shop vac if you have one.

If necessary, you can wash the filter with warm water and a small amount of mild soap.  It is important to make sure the filters are fully dry before putting them back in the vacuum.  

Even if you can clean the filters yourself, you should replace them if they have holes or look worn.

Cleaning Removable Hoses from a Vacuum Cleaner

Hoses can be the toughest part of the vacuum to clean. For hoses you can remove, you can clean them with mild soap and water.  If you find a hose that is clogged, carefully use a wire hanger to try to dislodge the clog.

Cleaning Non-Removable Hoses from a Vacuum Cleaner

For hoses that are not removable, you can use a Clorox wipe or some kind of cleaning cloth to get the inside of the hose clean. To do this, wrap the Clorox wipe or cleaning cloth to the end of a broom or mop handle, you can use a rubber band or strong tape to attach this so it won’t fall off and find a new home inside the hose. Be careful not clean roughly as you don’t want to rip or damage the hose in any way.

Cleaning the Roller Brush

The roller brush is the part that seems to get the most wear and tear and thankfully on many models it can be removed, it which makes it much easier to clean.  

  • Pull as much of the matted mess carefully by hand as you can.
  • Use scissors or a seam ripper to gently cut or pull away any of the remaining hair, string or carpet fibers that you couldn’t get by hand.
  • Then to dislodge and remove any particles that remain in the brush, use an old comb or stiff brush.
  • Now wipe down the roller with a damp cloth and if you have a removable roller brush, you can wipe down the compartment area as well.

Keeping the Vacuum Smelling Fresh

Once your vacuum is clean, you want to keep it and your home smelling fresh. To get the fresh smell you might be looking for while vacuuming, put some baking soda, a dryer sheet or a cotton ball with your favorite essential oil in the vacuum bag.

You can also take the scented cotton ball and tuck it under the bag; I’ve even used a sample perfume strip I received in the mail that worked nicely or – you can buy clips, tabs, and other accessories for your vacuum to help keep things smelling fresh.

Don’t wait for your vacuum to be smelling up your home, cleaning it is pretty easy to do and should be done on a fairly regularly basis. If you use it a few times a week like I do, cleaning it once a month is not out of the question.


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