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Vacuum Cleaner Repair: Clean Out Clogs

Three simple ways to unclog your vacuum.

FH09OCT_CLOGVA_01-2 how to clean vacuum cleanerFamily Handyman
If your vacuum loses suction, clear the clogged hose quickly and easily with a bent wire, a broom handle or another vacuum.

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How to Clean Vacuum Cleaner: Unclogging Techniques

Photo 1: Shop vacuum technique

Use a shop vacuum to suck clogs out of the suction port or hose.

Photo 2: Broom handle technique

Shove stubborn clogs through the hose with a broom handle.

Photo 3: Bent wire technique

Pull clogs out of the suction port with a bent coat hanger or stiff electrical wire.

If your vacuum cleaner isn’t picking up dirt, and cleaning or replacing the filter or the bag doesn’t help, you probably have a clog, it’s time to learn how to clean vacuum cleaner.

If the attachment hose has no suction, either it or the hose suction port is clogged. Try sucking out the clog with a strong vacuum. If that doesn’t work, use the bent hanger technique shown in Photo 3 to remove the clog. Stubborn clogs in hoses can be forced through with a broom handle (Photo 2).

If the machine isn’t picking up dirt and the brushes are turning, most likely the suction port at the base of the machine is plugged. Remove the cover on the underside of the machine to access the port. Bend a little barb on the end of a coat hanger or electrical wire and use it to hook the clog to pull it free.

Required Tools for this how to clean vacuum cleaner Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Shop vacuum
You might also need a broom handle and a wire coat hanger.