How do I clean my vacuum cleaner?

Vacuums can sometimes emit a funky smell or get so tangled with hair that the beater brush doesn’t work properly anymore. Before you look into buying a new machine or consider a costly service inspection, try these tips first:

Problem: Tangled Hair

Tangled hair most likely occurs when you have a family with at least one person with longer than shoulder length hair. It’s nothing unusual, you just have to know how to get your rotating brush working again.


First, lay your vacuum cleaner on the side (if you have an upright one that is, a barrel model doesn’t need to be laid down). Locate the beater brush which is generally just in front of the suction opening. Most times, the brush is held in place by either a clipping mechanism or some screws. Unscrew them and put them aside safely before you take out the brush.

Now it’s time to carefully remove all excess hair. You can use your hands or some small scissors to carefully cut them loose. Make sure you don’t cut off any of the bristles.

Finally, re-assemble the beater bar and empty the dust container. In some models, hair can get tangled around the filter, too. Simply pull it loose and only use scissors here if the hair is so tightly wound around the filter that you can’t get it off at all to avoid unnecessarily damaging the filter media.

Problem: Funky Smell

A funky smell can be caused by not emptying your vacuum filter often enough or by hoovering up pieces of food or other organic matter. Luckily, it’s easy to clean to your machine so it will run smell-free again!


Carefully disassemble your vacuum cleaner. Wrap some slightly damp paper towels around the tip of a broom stick and secure them with duct tape. Now push the broom stick carefully through the hose and tube of your machine, cleaning the insides.

Empty the dust container and clean it from the inside with a soft cloth. Also remove the filter and wash it in a warm water-vinegar solution. Let it dry completely before putting it back inside your machine.

Now, attach a new paper towel with a water-vinegar solution to the broom stick and carefully wipe the insides of the tube and hose with it. Make sure to let everything dry before you re-assemble it.

Last but not least, make sure there is nothing stuck in the brush and spray it with a water vinegar solution. Make sure none of the water or vinegar gets inside any of the electronic bits of your cleaner. Vinegar can cause rubber to degrade, so be careful with that near any rubbery parts such as the belt of your vacuum.

Once you’re 100% sure every part of your machine is dry, you can put it back together. The vinegar is naturally anti-bacterial and helps eliminate funky smells.

Problem: Loss of Suction

Some older vacuum models lost a significant amount of suction power once they got older. Newer models however are built and developed in a way that should prevent this from happening. If you experience a sudden or gradual loss in suction, try these fixes first:


Disassemble the hose and tube from your vacuum. Inspect them if there is something blocking the way. If there is, carefully stick either a broom stick or a wired clothes hanger through the tube. Be careful that you don’t puncture anything or drive the blockage further into the machine.

Before using the cleaner again, empty all containers and make sure the filter is clean too. Sometimes, there can be a larger part of debris blocking the entrance from the tube to the dust bin. Make sure you re-assemble everything properly before turning the machine back on.

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