How to Clean a Vacuum Cleaner

Photo: Liam McCabe
  • Scissors (or one other blade): To reduce tangles away from the comb roll.
  • Compressed air: To rapidly clear dusty surfaces and blow away buildups in hard-to-reach locations.
  • Small brush (or toothbrush): Not as fast or deep-reaching as compressed air however nonetheless respectable for dusting.
  • Pipe cleaners: To take care of larger clogs in hard-to-reach locations.
  • Damp fabric or sponge: To wipe away grime.
  • Flashlight: To assist discover clogs.
  • Work gloves: To hold mud and dirt off your arms. Latex is nice, and fabric gardening gloves could be positive, too.
  • Mask: To hold mud out of your nostril. Cloth or medical masks will work, although respirators are very best when you’ve got one. But attempt to do the work outdoors anyway.

For some vacuums

  • New bag: Most vacuums are bagless now, however some nonetheless use luggage.
  • New filter: Most trendy vacuums use washable filters, however some nonetheless use disposables. Knockoffs are typically okay.
  • New belt: Most vacuums use lifetime—or no less than very long-lasting—belts to drive the comb roll, however some nonetheless have to be changed often.

For severe upkeep

  • Screwdriver or drill: To assist take the vacuum aside, when essential.
Video: Liam McCabe

Every vacuum wants some upkeep. It’s regular, and there’s nothing you are able to do to forestall it solely. Plan for 10 to half-hour for fundamental upkeep, plus 24 hours of drying time if you happen to rinse any elements. More severe repairs may take a few hours.

If your vacuum appears weaker than it was, it wants consideration. Ditto if the vacuum ever shuts itself off abruptly—that’s normally a fail-safe characteristic to guard the elements from overheating. And it’s by no means a foul concept to do some preventive upkeep, or no less than a visible inspection, often.

The excellent news is that a lot of the upkeep is uncomplicated, and recommendation for the trickier jobs could be discovered on YouTube. Here’s what I’ve discovered from a decade of testing vacuums, studying manuals, speaking to restore technicians, watching how-to movies—and getting an earful from household, buddies, and associates.

Video: Liam McCabe

As you get a peek in any respect the hidden elements of your vacuum, take the chance to brush, air-blast, or damp-wipe any buildup you discover contained in the vacuum. Let damp elements dry for twenty-four hours, ideally in daylight, earlier than you employ the vacuum once more.

Maybe this appears too apparent to even point out, however some folks don’t perceive how necessary this step is. Air must movement by means of a vacuum, and an overstuffed bin or bag blocks that airflow. Personally, I’ve seen two vacuums that have been just too full to work. It simply hadn’t occurred to their homeowners that in the event that they dumped out the particles, their vacuums would work once more.

A video of a person emptying a Dyson cordless stick vacuum.
Photo: Liam McCabe

Any respectable vacuum filter will finally get clogged with mud, and the vacuum will lose suction. A unclean filter begins to slowly, silently inhibit your vacuum’s cleansing efficiency lengthy earlier than then.

Most vacuum makers suggest cleansing or changing filters at set intervals—and people intervals differ wildly. Tineco, for instance, recommends cleansing the filters on its stick vacuums after each few makes use of, whereas Miele says you could change its vacuum filters solely after each fourth bag change. Typically you may wait a bit longer than advisable between filter service, and all the pieces will run positive, however the delayed upkeep will meet up with the vacuum finally.

Filter care directions can differ from vacuum to hoover. Some fashions, corresponding to Dyson’s cordless stick vacuums and most robotic vacuums, have a single filter. Others, just like the Shark Navigator Lift-Away collection, have a number of filters. Find all of them!

Video: Liam McCabe

Plenty of vacuums nonetheless use disposable filters that you could purchase and change periodically. But washable, reusable varieties are quite common now. In common, you clear one in every of these by tapping it on the sting of a trash bin till the plain particles falls off after which rinsing it below chilly water till the water runs clear. You ought to give the filter no less than 24 hours to air-dry.

Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Usually, clogs kind when particles that’s barely outsized or cheesy will get caught within the slender, twisty, transitional areas contained in the vacuum. The consumption channel on the cleansing head is one widespread spot, for instance. On stick vacuums, the junction the place the shaft meets the mud bin is commonly a bottleneck.

If you suppose you could clear a clog, look first at these switch factors. Disconnect the hoses or cleansing head if you happen to can, and search for any “trapdoors” that is likely to be constructed into the vacuum—all of that are probably spots for clogs to kind. Clear out any jams or buildups by hand, with a pipe cleaner, or with a can of compressed air.

If that doesn’t flip something up, attempt to shine a flashlight deeper contained in the machine and work at any clogs with a pipe cleaner.

Photo: Liam McCabe

If anybody in your family (pets included) has hair that’s longer than just a few inches, there’s a very good likelihood that a few of it finally ends up wrapped about your vacuum’s spinning brush. Floss and thread can get tangled, too.

Photo: Liam McCabe

Over time, string-like particles covers an increasing number of of the bristles on the comb and prevents it from working effectively on carpets. In excessive circumstances, the wrapped hair can cease the comb from spinning freely, which may then result in the drive belt snapping or the bearings getting broken—each of which have to be repaired at an additional price and inconvenience that you just’d probably keep away from with common upkeep. Wrapped hair additionally causes the machine to attract extra energy, depleting your cordless stick or handheld vacuum’s battery sooner and placing extra pressure on the motor.

A easy solution to eliminate wrapped hair is to simply reduce the tangle with scissors or slice it with a blade. Some fashions have somewhat groove alongside the size of the comb that may information your chopping software.

Your software might not at all times have the ability to attain to the ends of the comb, however you may normally simply pull the remaining hair off by hand.

If you’ve got the choice to partially or utterly take away the comb roll (or wheels) with out utterly disassembling the cleaner head—test the handbook for directions—it’s best to achieve this. This makes it additional straightforward to chop away tangles and wraps.

Most of the time, the fundamental but thorough cleansing we’ve outlined above will get your vacuum again into high kind.

But if you happen to nonetheless aren’t getting a lot oomph, or the ability retains chopping out, or the vacuum simply gained’t begin, you’ve got just a few different prospects to think about:

  • The batteries are useless (on battery-powered vacuums), or there’s another fault within the charging system, corresponding to soiled charging contacts or a damaged energy adapter.
  • If it’s a robotic vacuum, a unclean sensor could cause the bot to behave surprisingly.
  • A cracked hose is leaking air and decreasing suction.
  • Either the belt (low-cost to repair) or the transmission (costlier) for the comb is damaged.
  • You have a “phantom” clog within the bag, the slender suggestions of the cyclones, or the filter. These could be brought on by particles corresponding to flour, plaster mud, or different positive, white, gummy stuff. The clogs are onerous to identify however act like cement and choke the airflow.

You can discover tons of DIY restore movies on YouTube, and they could be a nice information to fixing these issues. But typically your greatest wager is to convey your vacuum into a store and let an skilled technician give it a shot.

Sabine Heinlein contributed reporting.

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