How to clean any kind of vacuum cleaner
Your vacuum cleaner goes through a lot, with most people running the hoover around at least once a week (even more if you have pets!). But when was the last time you gave the vacuum itself a good clean?
Even the very best equipment requires maintenance to keep working at its best. An inefficient vacuum will just push dirt around the house, creating more work for you, so if you've noticed yours has less sucking power than usual, now's the time to tick this chore off your list.
How to fix a vacuum cleaner with no suction
If your vacuum isn't doing it's job, don't fear — it might not be a goner just yet. The most common cause of loss of suction is blockages. This makes the machine slow to pick up and quick to overheat.
To keep this to a minimum, never reuse the bag as this is often part of the filter system. If this gets clogged with dust it will reduce the efficiency of the machine. Replace the bag when the indicator light has come on. If the machine doesn’t have a light you can always open up the body and visually inspect the bag.
With a bagless machine, make sure to empty the canister after each use. On most bagless machines, there will be a maximum fill line indicating how much dust and debris can be held in the canister so check this if your machine’s suction is poor.
To unblock a vacuum cleaner, always switch it off and unplug. As well as teasing out any blockages in the tube, undo the hose and check the entrance to the machine/top of the bag for further debris.
GHI Tip: If the tube blockage is immovable, soak the tube in warm, soapy water.
How to clean vacuum cleaner filter
Many vacuums have at least one washable filter. Check where your vacuum’s filters are located, then remove and tap against a hard surface to remove any clumps of dust. Make sure you do this outside or you’ll end up surrounded by a dust cloud!
If it is washable, run the filter under lukewarm water and allow to air dry for at least 24 hours before returning it to your machine. Additional filters in your machine may not be washable, so ensure you check the instruction manual. If they’re not washable, just tap against a surface to remove any clumps, then return it to your machine.
How to clean vacuum brushes
Make sure the brush on the head is free from hairs and threads. If it becomes jammed, cut - don't pull - any threads that prevent it from rotating. Be careful to avoid cutting the bristles!
Some brush heads have indents that run the length of the head, these are designed to allow scissors to guide through hair and threads without cutting the bristles. Once all removed, if your brush head has no electrical elements, clean it in warm water, massaging the bristles to remove any embedded dust or fibres. Make sure to dry it thoroughly before refitting it to your machine.
Does your vacuum cleaner smell bad?
A bad odour while vacuuming is usually the result of not emptying your machine regularly enough or possibly sucking up something. Look in the bag first, then give the outside a wipe over with warm, soapy water and a cloth to keep it looking and smelling fresh.
For bagless vacuums, wash the canister in soapy water after emptying and leave it to completely air dry before putting the machine together again.
If your machine still isn’t efficient after all this, it’s time to buy a new one! Here’s our vacuum cleaner buying guide to help you decide what’s right for you.
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