How to Clean Your Vacuum

You use your vacuum to clean up messes around the house, but there comes a time when your vacuum itself could use a good cleaning.

Cleaning your vacuum is an important part of maintenance and extending the life of your equipment.

How to Clean Vacuum Filters

Always refer to your owner’s manual for specific instruction on cleaning and replacing vacuum filters. Vacuum manufacturers Dyson and Bissell note that cleaning filters is quick and easy, so there’s really no reason to avoid it.

First, turn off the vacuum and make sure it is unplugged. Then remove the filter(s). Each vacuum is different, so don’t guess — check the manual.

Filters should be washed in cold water only; Dyson says theirs shouldn’t be cleaned with detergent or in the dishwasher. Rinse it under cold water and then squeeze the water out of the filter. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.

Let the filter dry completely — give it about 24 hours — before putting it back in the vacuum. Never dry the filter in the microwave or a clothes dryer.

How to Clean Vacuum Parts & Attachments

Make sure your vacuum’s attachments are free from threads, hair, pet fur and any debris or sticky stuff. If a brush head is jammed, cut away the threads or hair clogging it up. Be careful not to cut any of the bristles.

If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the canister and wash it in warm, soapy water. Then dry it thoroughly before putting it back together.

For attachments like nozzles, extension wands and crevice tools, remove them from the vacuum and wipe them down using warm, soapy water. Then let dry.

How to Clean a Vacuum Hose

If your vacuum lacks good suction, you may need to clean the hose. Detach the hose if possible and suck out any clogs with a second vacuum, or use a bent wire hanger to clean it out.

Then with the hose still detached, take it outside or over a laundry or bathroom tub and run water through the hose. You’ll likely see bits of food and paper come out. At this point, take a cleaning brush and run it through the hose as far in as you can get. An old toothbrush can also work to clean out the debris that may be stuck along the walls of the hose. Let it dry completely before re-attaching.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.