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Clean your vacuum!

The very best thing you can do for your carpet is to vacuum it regularly. When using your vacuum often, you may eventually find that it isn’t performing at its top capability. A little maintenance can go a long way to keeping it functioning at its best. You may also save hundreds on repair costs or replacement.  Here are a few guidelines on how to clean your vacuum.


Have you checked the vacuum bag recently? Even though the bag may be less than half full, it might be time to change it. The more debris in the bag, the harder your vacuum has to work to get the air to pass through it. Some bags have “full” lines, or you can check it with a quick squeeze. If it’s about half full it’s time for a new one. Make sure you have the correct size and type of mag for your model vacuum. To find which size you need, contact the manufacturer. Many brands have easy online search tools.

If your vacuum doesn’t require a bag, there are other steps for you to take. Make sure to empty the bagless canister often if not after each use. Gently tap the canister to try and release any held debris. If you have an air compressor handy, you should blow out the air diffuser holes inside the canister. Try and make sure no small grits of sand or dirt are still stuck in the corners.

Now it’s time to clean out the beater bar which also known as the brush roll. This is the head of the vacuum that makes contact with the carpet. Each model vacuum is different, but some have a cover around the bar that is held in by screws. After the cover is off, be careful removing the roll as there should be belt around it that’s responsible for turning the roll. Once free of its housing, clear the roll with a seam ripper or scissors. Make sure to get all of the tightly wound debris. If you can unscrew the sides of the roll, gently remove any debris from the bearings. You may need to either lubricate or replace these bearings if you find they are worn.

Before putting the beater bar back in, check the belt you found around it before you removed it from the housing. You’re looking for any cracks, loss of tension, alignment, and wear. Vacuum belts should actually be replaced about once a year if not more. When replacing, it should slide right off the pulley or drive shaft. While these areas are exposed, clean up any caked on dirt with a rag and make sure the air passage ways are clean. Slide the new belt back on the pulley or drive shaft, reinstall the beater bar, check the alignment of the new belt, and screw the cover back on.

Proper airflow is key to a vacuum’s performance. Filers in and around your vacuum will keep the unit from blowing the super fine particles back into your home. Check your owner’s manual for the locations of your vacuum’s filters. Plastic filters and usually be rinsed off. Paper or fabric filters should be replaced when found full or very dirty.

Last but not least, make sure the wand and hose are clear. Gently thread a broom stick or wire hanger through the hose. If you find a clog, be sure not to pack it in. Try to remove the clog in bits until it loosens enough to clear it out entirely. Be careful when clearing the hose not to poke a hole in it.

Voila! Your vacuum is now fresh, clean, and ready for all the use it’s going to get keeping your carpets at their best. Removing dirt, sand, and debris from the carpet fibers is a major factor in avoiding those dark traffic areas. Try to do this about every 6 months or at the very least don’t exceed a year. Pat yourself on the back for the money you saved on a trip to the appliance maintenance facility. Happy cleaning!