Heidi asked, “How about cleaning a vacuum? It smells like my dog. You can’t take the bristles off to clean – probably the dirtiest part, and you can’t clean the hose or inside the vacuum. It might be a supernatural undertaking, but it would be nice, especially with how many times I vacuum (twice a year). I don’t get it, we take our shoes off before entering the home (again, twice a year), so why wouldn’t we clean our vacuums?”
Sometimes the tools we use to clean need a thorough cleaning themselves. Use the steps below to clean your vacuum cleaner.
You Will Need:
- A wire hanger1
- A broom or mop2
- A garden hose3
- Dryer sheets
- White vinegar
- A lint-free cloth
Steps to Clean the Vacuum:
- Unplug the vacuum.
- Remove and empty the vacuum canister or remove and replace the vacuum bag.
- Clean the vacuum filter and rinse the canister with water if needed. Cleaning the filter will usually remove any odors from the vacuum exhaust.
- Straighten a wire hanger and use the hanger to poke through any clogs in the vacuum hose if needed. Be gentle to avoid puncturing the hose.
- Wrap a broom or mop handle with dryer sheets; use duct tape to hold the dryer sheets in place. Use the broom handle to dust the inside of the vacuum hose with the dryer sheets; be gentle so as not to crack or damage the vacuum hose. A garden hose can be used instead of a broom or mop handle if desired.
- To sanitize the inside of the vacuum hose, tape paper towels around the broom or mop handle, dampen the paper towels with a diluted white vinegar solution of one part vinegar with two parts water and swirl the broom handle inside the vacuum hose to apply the vinegar to the hose surfaces. Vinegar is an effective odor remover and will also kill 99% of bacteria.4 Allow the vinegar to dry completely before turning on the vacuum to avoid any liquid damage to the system; you will know the vinegar is dry when you can no longer smell the vinegar odor.
- Lay the vacuum on its side and cut out any hairs or threads from the beater brush with scissors.
- Check the belt of the beater brush for any cracks or wear and replace the belt if needed.5
- Spray the beater brush and vacuum attachment brushes with diluted vinegar. Spin the beater brush by hand to spray all sides of the brush. Allow the vinegar to dry completely before using the vacuum. Do not let the vinegar get on the rubber belt or any other rubber parts of the vacuum, as the acid can degrade the rubber over time.
- Wipe the surfaces of the vacuum and the cord with a damp cloth.6 Be sure the cord is unplugged before wiping.
- For a more thorough cleaning, inspect your vacuum for any screws or check the vacuum manual to determine how to take apart your vacuum. Dismantle the vacuum and wipe all surfaces with a lint-free cloth dampened with diluted vinegar. Be sure not to allow any liquid to drip onto any electrical parts and allow the vinegar to dry completely before reassembling the parts.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Wrap any cracked areas on the vacuum hose with duct tape.7
- Rub the outside of the vacuum hose end with wax paper to prevent attachments from sticking.8
- Do not allow the vacuum canister or bag to become more than ¾ full.1
- Vacuum repair stores are also capable of giving your vacuum a professional cleaning when needed.
- Complete Household Handbook by Good Housekeeping
- Haley’s Cleaning Hints by Graham and Rosemary Haley
- Fix It, Clean It, and Make It Last by Gayle K. Wood
- Super Natural Home by Beth Greer
- Pet Clean-Up Made Easy by Don Aslett
- Cleaning Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin
- Extraordinary Uses For Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest
- 1,001 Do-It-Yourself Hints and Tips by Reader’s Digest