Vacuum Maintenance 101: 5 Tips to Keep Yours Working

For all the good they do for our homes, most people don’t think about vacuum cleaner maintenance until it’s already too late and a replacement is absolutely necessary. That leads to several mechanical problems that entail expensive repairs or replacement parts that could have been avoided by taking a little time before cleaning and check that everything is in its right place. 

If you want to give your vacuum a longer life, take a look at this guide to keep it clean and in working condition for far longer than you could have imagined. Remember: Maintenance is always cheaper and faster than repairs. Also, if you’re not very handy or don’t really know your way around tools, don’t attempt to fix your vacuum yourself! Ask a professional first.

1. Replace your bag regularly

Although there are some models out there that completely do out with the bag—which makes them much more convenient—chances are that yours uses one. One of the most important vacuum-cleaning tips is to always replace your bags whenever the suction power isn’t as strong as usual. Logic dictates that you should replace the bag every time it’s full, but try to do so when it’s ⅔ (or even ¾) full so that the debris doesn’t fall out back into the carpet or clogs the vacuum. 

The same thing applies to the canister of bagless vacuums, the only difference is that you are actually able to see how full it is and you can avoid problems with it much easier. Just remember to empty the thing out before it reaches the marker.

2. Clean your brush roll

The brush roll is the part that lifts up all the dust and debris so the suction power of the vacuum catches it and traps it inside the machine. While not as often as cleaning the bag, you should check the roller and clean it of debris and other objects that might get stuck and prevent it from rolling as it should. You can do so while it’s in place, or you can do a deeper clean if you remove it, but be careful: never disassemble your vacuum if you’re not 100% sure of what you’re doing, or you could damage it! 

If you do manage to get it out, however, you have the chance to do some major cleaning on it, and even replace the roller’s bearings and even the spot where it sits inside of the head. While it may not be too damaged or dirty, take your time to check for damage that’s not normally visible from outside.

3. Replace the motor belt 

If you notice that you have to go over the same spot twice or even three times in a row, and your vacuum is not clogged with debris, then it might be a sign that you should check the motor belt. If you know how to do it, take out your brush roller and make sure that your belt is not sagging, cracking, or out of place; if it is, then it’s time to replace it for a new one—many brands offer to sell you the replacement so you can do it yourself nowadays—or take it to a shop. There really is no set time for when you should replace a motor belt since it depends on how much usage it sees over the year, the brand, and the model of your vacuum if other parts are interfering with it, and more. 

4. Clean and replace the filter often

While there are a couple of different types of filters out there, it’s important that you check and clean or replace them as often as you can to ensure that your vacuum is always working at the top of its capabilities. A dirty filter will cause your vacuum to start clogging, leaving a trail of loose debris behind it, and even kick up a dust cloud every once in a while; long story short, a dirty filter is a bad news for your vacuum and your family’s allergies. 

Some models use a plastic or foam filter that can be easily dismounted, washed, and put back into place, which is pretty convenient since it also means that it will be working at full capacity each time yo do so. On the other hand, filters made out of paper or plastic can’t usually be washed, but you can shake or kick off some of the debris and excess dust between replacements. 

5. Clear the hose from any clogs or obstructions

A vacuum cleaner with a hose is more likely to pick up larger clumps of debris that can clog either the inside of the hose or even the motor if the bag is not sufficiently empty and bursts (but that’s really a worst-case scenario). While it doesn’t happen very often, you should periodically try to remove any such clumps with a broomstick or a wire hanger, being really careful not to pack the debris tighter than it already is, or to pierce the hose with the sharp end of the wire.
Following these tips will give your vacuum a longer, more productive life, and it will save you a lot of money in repairs or part replacements. Of course, you should also be very careful when cleaning up and avoid going over materials that can damage your vacuum from the inside, and store it in a cool, dry place. If you think this is too much work for a single appliance, however, how about letting someone else take care of the cleaning for you?


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