The 4 Easy Steps That Will Make Your Vacuum Feel Brand New

how to clean your vacuum

When it comes to keeping your house clean, your vacuum is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. In addition to removing dust, dirt, and hair from your carpets, many vacuums can also help with other tasks like cleaning hard floors, dusting surfaces, and clearing out crevices!

And while modern vacuums have come a long way since the bulky bagged behemoths of my youth, they aren’t yet capable of maintaining themselves! To keep your vacuum in tip-top shape, you should aim to give it a good cleaning and maintenance session every few months.

If you feel like you could use a few pointers on keeping your vacuum clean, you’re in luck! Because today I’ll be explaining exactly how to deep clean your vacuum in just 4 easy steps. :-)

How To Deep Clean Your Vacuum

Step 1 – Clean The Canister

how to clean your vacuum

Even if you empty your vacuum’s dust canister regularly, grime can still build up inside it over time. For a quick and easy way to clear out all that gunk, look no further than your dishwasher!

how to clean your vacuum

Start by emptying the canister, then set it in the bottom rack of your dishwasher with all of its doors open. Use some dishwasher-safe utensils to prop the doors open if necessary to prevent them from closing.

how to clean your vacuum

If your vacuum canister bumps into the top rack of the dishwasher, you may need to remove it. (We ran into this issue at the OGT Studio, but the top rack came out easily once we removed the caps at the end of the tracks!)

how to clean your vacuum

Add the normal amount of a powerful dishwasher detergent to the bottom of your dishwasher (not the detergent cup), then start a gentle or quick wash cycle. Once you hear the dishwasher start the wash cycle, set a timer for 3 minutes.

how to clean your vacuum

When the timer goes off, open the dishwasher and check on the canister. If it’s not quite clean at this point, turn the canister over and resume the wash cycle for one more minute. (Limiting the canister’s exposure to hot water will help protect its more delicate parts.)

how to clean your vacuum

Allow the canister to air dry completely before closing the doors and replacing it in your vacuum. It’ll be clean as a whistle and ready to collect more dirt!

Step 2 – Wash Or Replace The Filters

how to clean your vacuum

If your vacuum has washable foam filters, you can wash them in the dishwasher alongside the canister. Before putting it in the dishwasher, rinse it thoroughly to remove any loose dust and dirt.

how to clean your vacuum

Once the filter and canister come out of the dishwasher, rinse the filter again to remove any detergent and loosened grime. Let the foam filter dry completely before replacing it in your vacuum.

how to clean your vacuum

Many vacuums also have filters that can’t be washed, such as HEPA filters. These will need to be replaced eventually, so check your vacuum’s user manual for details about when and how to do it.

Step 3 – Clear Out The Hose

how to clean your vacuum

The vacuum hose has plenty of nooks and crannies for dirt and grime to get stuck in. Eventually, grime buildup may contribute to blockages, so performing a deep clean every few months is an easy way to keep the hose clear.

how to clean your vacuum

Remove the hose from the vacuum (consult the user manual if you don’t know how) and take it to the bathtub or sink. Run hot water through the hose to rinse out loose dirt.

how to clean your vacuum

Next, sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into one end of the hose, and give it a shake to coat the inside of the hose. Then slowly pour about 2 cups of white vinegar into the hose, and let it sit until it stops fizzing.

how to clean your vacuum

Rinse the hose well with hot water, then hang it up somewhere to dry completely. Once dry, replace the hose on your vacuum.

Step 4 – Check The Brush

how to clean your vacuum

Anyone with long hair is likely very familiar with the way hair can get wrapped around the vacuum brush! This can eventually prevent the brush from working effectively, so it’s important to remove any hair from it regularly.

Just lean your vacuum back to inspect the brush. If there’s any hair or threads wrapped around it, use a seam ripper to cut through them so you can remove it.

Bonus Step – Check The User Manual

how to clean your vacuum

While the steps above apply to most vacuums, each make and model is different. To make sure you’re not missing anything, review your vacuum’s user manual to find out if there are any other removable parts that require regular cleaning.

And remember to let all your vacuum parts dry completely before putting them back into place. Putting damp parts back on your vacuum can lead to mold and mildew growth or electrical problems, and you definitely don’t want to deal with either!

If you use the methods you learned in today’s post to deep clean your vacuum every few months, it is sure to keep serving you well for years to come.

What do you like or dislike about your current vacuum?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • My favorite vacuum is my current one, riccar upright, that I absolutely LOVE. Come to find out, my best friend, told me that the riccar is the best vacuum on the market. When she was manager for the maintainence dept. for a retirement home, she checked out all the available vacuums and found that riccar had the least problems needing repairs and most reliable. I’ve had my riccar for about 8 years and only had it in once to replace the fan, as I had vacuumed up something large and hard. I’m planning on keeping my riccar for many more years. My riccar uses special hepa filter bags, so the only thing I can clean ,in the dishwasher, is the onboard air filter……

  • If anyone in your family has allergies and/or asthma, the vacuum should be cleaned as often as after each use but cleaning it when you have time is better than never. ;-) I have been cleaning my vacuum since the 50s, my Mom insisted since it was 2nd hand. I avoid buying vacuums with electronics in the hose so the hose can be washed without damage. I’ve owned 3 vacuums since the 60s; one is a shop vac for the car, my first one was an Electrolux with a power head that never broke down but gave you an electric shock from the hose after 7 yrs (I never washed the hose, ever, electronics in the hose but it suffered through three professional moves) and the vac I currently use was bought back in the late 80s. My shop vac is still going strong and was bought back in the late 80s as well. And, yes, I clean them nearly every use. So if anyone is wondering how harmful it may be to wash your vacuum, I’d say it’s pretty safe and appears to lengthen the life of your vacuum.

    My Mom’s vacuum was 2nd hand in the 50s and was still going strong in the 80s.

    I smoked my power head in my current vac around 25 yrs ago and bought a replacement belt for it, to install myself. I burned that belt real bad till the vac shut itself off and wouldn’t turn on again. A real putz move, I know. I figured it would be cheaper to buy a belt and try to do it myself than hiring a repairman or buying a whole new vac. Either way, I couldn’t loose because if I couldn’t fix it myself for $5 it would be ‘no loss’. Right. When I took the head apart I found a bright red reset button (it said reset around it so that’s how I know) in there so I pressed it and carried on with replacing the belt. Which took the removal of a few screws and parts. Put it back together and the rest you already know. I’m still using it.

    I may just be lucky when it comes to vacuums. Maybe? ;-)

    • If I’ve inspired anyone to spend $5 to save a couple hundred bucks, take a picture first so you know where everything goes when you’re putting it back together. If you don’t have anything to take a picture with – it’s well worth it to take a paper and pencil and draw what you see, every piece and screw. That’s ‘back in the day’ knowledge.

  • Don’t do the hose clean with water on a canister vacuum with a power floor nozzle. Especially if the nozzle is a braided type. ( ie not vinyl) . You will ruin the electrical connections and you will need to buy a new hose …and if you use the hose you run the risk of a very nasty electrical shock.

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