When Do You Clean A Vacuum Cleaner? – How To Care For Your Cleaning Appliance

Last Updated on April 20, 2021 by

Cleaning a vacuum cleaner is dependent on the manufacturer’s precise information. Most vacuum cleaners come with a manual containing specific details on when they should be cleaned. However, minor things involving cleaning must be regularly done, such as emptying the bag’s contents frequently for effective performance. Also, consider cleaning the vacuum cleaner if there is reduced efficiency.

How Often Should You Clean The Vacuum Cleaner?

Cleaning a vacuum cleaner should not be a one-time thing as doing so could lead to a total malfunction of the machine. Instead, it should be a continuous process, although the cleaning should be in phases and different parts. The cleaning process and periods include;

Cleaning The Brushes And Bristles After Every Use

You should check the brushes and bristles to ensure no debris or hair is trapped on them. If there are loose strings or hairs around the brush bristles, you should cut them with a pair of scissors instead of unplugging them as it could damage the bristles. You should also spray the brushes and bristles with a disinfectant for proper sanitization since they both come into contact with your house surface.

Emptying The Canister After Several Uses

Vacuum cleaner experts recommend that you should not allow your vacuum cleaner’s canister to fill up. Instead, it is best if you empty it after every single use. If not, consider emptying it once it is two-thirds full. In this way, you will avoid potential germs and bacteria from taking hold of your appliance. Additionally, emptying the canister also increases the performance and efficiency of your amchine.

Checking And Soaking All The Filters At Least Once A Month

Although checking the filters should be an annual routine, you might consider checking them more often. You could use the manufacturer’s manual to see the location of each filter and how you can carefully detach it. If the filter is removable, take it out, shake, then rinse under cold running water. Leave it to dry before reassembling it back. 

Disassembling The Vacuum Cleaner 

You need to disassemble your machine for a deep clean every one to three years. Some individual parts may require regular cleaning. However, experts consider it a rule of thumb to disassemble the entire vacuum and scrub it down. Such cleaning requires a lot of hot water, cleaning brushes, and a can of compressed air. 

Soak any washable parts such as the canister and give them a thorough scrub. Leave them out to dry before safely assembling all the parts. Using the compressed air, blow it over the vacuum cleaner to expel all the dust and debris stuck in its nooks and crannies. Remember to wipe the external parts with a wet towel as well. 

Replacing Your Equipment

After ten years or so, you should be replacing the vacuum cleaner. Reports have it that most of these appliances last for at least eight years if well maintained. Stretching to use one for more than ten years will be just dragging dirt and dust all over your house.

How Do You Clean A Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuums are different depending on the model, but some components are similar in all of them, such as filters, the canister, beater bar, fan, and motor. Ensure that you will remember to return all parts to their specific locations. Simple methods on how you can clean your vacuum include;

Disassembling The Machine

When disassembling, remove any dirt in the dust bag or canister. Take away all washable parts that are replaceable, such as filters and other attachment accessories.

Cleaning The Filters

Some vacuum cleaners contain more than one filter. You can use manuals that verify the number of filters in a vacuum cleaner and their specific locations. Dip the washable filter in water and scrub it using a brush. You could use a disinfectant for sanitizing the filters. Rinse it and allow it to dry. For non-washable filters, you can tap it a couple of times against a surface to eliminate dust and other debris. 

Another option is using a cloth to wipe off the dust. Additionally, in case you notice any faulty filters, it is the best time to replace them. You should not assemble the parts while wet as it increases the chances of moulds growing inside the vacuum cleaner, which could pose a health threat. 

Cleaning The Canister

 For vacuum cleaners that come with a dust bag, you can skip this step. In most vacuum cleaners, dust bags can only be replaced and cannot be washed. Those with canisters involve emptying it first. Separate the canister from the vacuum unit and soak it in warm soapy water. Scrub it with a brush, rinse with cold water and leave it to dry. 

Cleaning The Vacuum Unit Interior

Once the canister is removed, you can use a toothbrush to remove dirt from the vacuum unit’s interior parts. Ensure to do it in downstrokes to prevent dirt from moving further upward. After that, you can blast compressed air to remove hard debris and dirt difficult to remove. You should be careful and check out for flying dust particles that may enter your eyes or trigger allergic reactions. 

Cleaning The Beater Bar

Hairs and strings get caught up in the beater bar. Cleaning this part involves trimming away the strings and hairs trapped on the bristles using a pair of scissors. Carefully pull them out without damaging the bristles. Use a toothbrush to rub off the remaining dirt. If the rotating brush can be separated from the vacuum unit, you can unscrew it for further scrubbing.

There is also a small passageway that can be easily ignored and should be cleaned. Since the bottom of the vacuum cleaner comes into contact with the surface of your home, you need to disinfect it. You can apply some alcohol to the bottom of the cleaner using a cotton pad. You can also inspect the vacuum drive for any wear and tear or any other tagging signs indicating a need for replacement. 

Cleaning The Attachment Accessorie

Cleaning the attachment accessories is an easy process that involves dipping all washable accessories in warm soapy water, scrubbing, and then rinsing them in cold water. If there are strings or hairs attached to them, you should cut them with a pair of scissors and carefully pull them out. Lay the accessories to air dry for at least 24 hours. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe down the entire vacuuming unit. You can disinfect its surfaces by rubbing some alcohol with a cotton pad. 

Reassembling The Parts

Once all accessories are dry, reassemble the vacuum cleaner and replace the worn-out parts with new ones. After that, give the vacuum cleaner a final wipe on its surface, and it is good to go. 

What Should You Avoid When Cleaning A Vacuum Cleaner?

The following are some important things to remember when cleaning your vacuum cleaner:

1. Avoid checking your appliance when still plugged in. Remember to turn off and unplug the vacuum cleaner whenever you want to look at the beater bar. When running, a vacuum cleaner can pull hair from your head or loose clothing. It can even cause injuries to your body, and you should, therefore, be careful.

2. You should avoid using the vacuum cleaner if wires are sticking out or there are electrical faults. It is dangerous and can cause electrocution or even start a fire in your home.

3. Lastly, avoid carrying the vacuum cleaner by its cord. Doing so could affect the cord resulting in an electrical fault.

What Should You Do If A Vacuum Cleaner Is Smelly?

Some vacuum cleaners may become smelly if you fail to empty the dust bag or the canister regularly. It could also become smelly due to sucking up a nasty item from the vacuuming area where pets could have laid. 

To freshen your vacuum cleaner, you can place fresh air scent beads in the vacuum bag before vacuuming. You could also sprinkle small amounts of cinnamon or ground potpourri into the dust bag. Sprinkling the vacuuming surface beforehand is another option to freshen up and protect a room from a smelly vacuum cleaner. 

However, in case of a burning smell, consider checking the vacuum unit as it may be due to a faulty electrical cord. It would help if you had an electrician look at it as it may cause electric shock or start up a fire. In such a case, wait until the electrician gives you the go-ahead to use the vacuum cleaner to prevent such accidents. 


When to clean a vacuum cleaner depends on the manufacturer’s instructions. Some may require annual cleaning, whereas, in others, it may be monthly. Some vacuum cleaners with dust bags require regular emptying to prevent them from getting a foul smell. Emptying the dust bag also enhances a vacuum cleaner’s performance. A well-maintained vacuum cleaner could even last up to eight years which is their minimal lifespan. You may replace the vacuum cleaner after ten years since past this period, most of them have lost their efficiency and will perform poorly.

Leave a Comment