Do you know what job is even LESS exciting than vacuuming? Cleaning your vacuum! Nevertheless, it is an important job that should be done at least every few months if you would like your vacuum to clean effectively and help prevent dust and allergy related sniffling in your home. And besides that – dirty vacuums can really start to stink!

Before You Start

Before you begin cleaning your vacuum there are a few things you should remember:

  • Clean it in an open, well-ventilated area – this is dusty work!
  • Make sure your vacuum in unplugged
  • Make sure that you are consulting your manual (and if you’ve lost your manual long ago, don’t worry – you should be able to find it online). If you tune into the video on cleaning your vacuum, you will notice that we are using a Dyson vacuum and if your vacuum is a different, you will want to follow along but will have to consult your own manual as well for locations of filters, canisters, etc.

What You’ll Need

To clean your vacuum, there are a few tools that you will require:

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Can of compressed air (optional)
  • A cleaning toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Pair of scissors
  • Garbage bag
  • Pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands

Step 1: Clean Your Filter

Begin by cleaning your vacuum filter. Our vacuum has a couple filters and if you check your manual, you will be able to see where yours are located. Cleaning your filter is important because it is your major line of defence against all of those nasty dust and allergy particles.

Most vacuums have washable filters, but if yours is not washable, you can buy replacement filters. To wash your filter, remove it from the vacuum, shake it empty (remembering to keep it away from your face) and rinse it for several minutes under cool water. Lay your filter flat to dry and do not put it back in your vacuum for at least 24 hours.

Step 2: Clean Your Canister

If your vacuum uses a bag, this step won’t apply but it will be important for you to change the bag as soon as it gets full.

To clean your canister, first remove it and empty it over a garbage bag. Then – using your instruction manual, separate the canister part from the larger vacuuming component. The canister can be soaked in warm soapy water and you can use a scrub brush to clean it. Remember to rinse it well and lay flat to dry for at least 24 hours as you do NOT want any moisture inside your vacuum.

Now that your vacuum has been taken apart, it is a good opportunity for you to clean the interior portion of your vacuum. Use a cleaning toothbrush, brushing in a downward stroke to get rid of debris from the vacuuming portion of your canister and wipe down with a dry microfiber cloth. If there is anything really stuck in your vacuum, you can use your can of compressed air.

Step 3: Cleaning Your Beater Bar (Powerhead)

Lots of hair and debris can get caught up in the beater bar of you vacuum, which makes it difficult for its bristles to pull things out of the carpet. The process for cleaning this will be the same whether or not the roller pops out.

Simply take your pair of scissors and start trimming away hair and debris, being careful not to cut the bristles. Then pull out the hairs with your hand and brush away any remaining debris with your cleaning toothbrush.

Step 4: Cleaning You Vacuum Attachments

Attachments are quite easy to clean – just fill a sink or bucket with warm water and about a teaspoon of dish soap and drop them in. For any attachment that has hair stuck in it, you can use your cleaning toothbrush to brush it away.

Once your attachments are nice and clean, rinse them and lay them flat to dry for at least 24 hours.

In terms of how often you should clean your vacuum, you should probably clean your filter at least every three months. This will ensure that your vacuum cleans effectively and reduces the amount of time you will have to spend vacuuming – and that is a plus in our books!



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  1. Your tips are handy. I want to clean my Dirty Vacuum by following these steps. My grandmother was always worried about Dirty Vacuum cleanliness. I was happy to see your ideas. I will follow these steps -You have so much useful information. Thank you – may God reward you.

  2. I had an original Electrolux tank vacuum cleaner for 50 years. It used a bag and I loved it. The suction was strongest I’ve ever found, and only maintenance was to have the cord professionally replaced. I moved and purchased a Hoover Bagless cleaner that works well but not having the bag is really ridiculous, because the inside is always full of dust and a real mess to empty. The NEXT vacuum I purchase (if I live that long!) will definitely NOT BE BAGLESS. Whoever thought of that idea did not think of the consumer–only the supposed “savings” of not having to produce/purchase bags.

  3. Hello Melissa Maker,

    A vacuum cleaner is really a very important cleaning gear for daily life. Its make cleaning process easy and keep us up to date. But Its really disgusting when your favorite cleaner gear stops working.

    To get an effortless services we must need to know exactly how to use a vacuum cleaner properly and how to maintain it. From my personal experience I can say without proper maintaining you will not expect 100% from it.

    I personally won two types of vacuum cleaner for my own. I was confused exactly what types of maintenance I need. I was searching some pro tips on internet and I got this article. I hope all main topics is covered in this article.

    I have a question, What is the best way to clean Shark navigator filter?

    Thank you.

  4. Every home — big, small, apartment or vacation home — gets dirty. And while there’s not just one way to clean your living space, there is a smarter way to get the job done. Take this guided tour of your home — from the kitchen and bathroom to the bedroom and living areas — to learn the basic rules of cleaning as well as some tips and short cuts that will help you clean thoroughly and efficiently, starting now.

  5. Hey Melissa,
    Awesome Vacuum cleaning tips!! It was a great help to me as I am always stuck in vacuum cleaner cleaning after using it at my home. I will surely follow the steps mentioned in this article.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  6. This perfectly engineered vacuum comes with coolest features and of the premium feature is automatically detects the floor type and then captures the vast majority of allergens with professional level of power with extendable cord. With number of awesome features this is the best pet hair vacuum money can buy.

  7. Thanks for the suggestion to start cleaning a vacuum by rinsing or replacing the filter. My husband and I got a vacuum for our wedding eight years ago, and it’s been giving us some issues as of late. I think a lot of the problem could be associated with the filters since we haven’t ever thought of cleaning them. We’ll have to look into rinsing them or purchasing new ones.

  8. We just bought a Hoover windtunnel. I wanted a Dyson animal canister but I couldn’t justify the price when we have all hardwood floors 🙁

  9. This is among the most comprehensive guides I’ve read recently. Most newbies find it hard to know where to start with cleaning vacuums, but you have tackled the subject very well. Do you have specific guides on particular models?

  10. Is there any easier way to clean those brush rollers? I think you called them beaters… Between my dog and I, there is SO MUCH hair and it’s awful to clean having to cut and then tug at the hair repeatedly. I feel like there should be a better way. Praying to the vacuum manufacturers that they do something about the horror that is cleaning those brush rollers!

  11. I have a Dyson Animal. Everything is great except for the hose for attachments. It has a long one piece handle which makes it harder to use, before the flexible hose. It would be perfect if it had a shorter handle and a longer flex hose. Suction is really great. Also have a shark lift-away. Great vacuum, also!

  12. Dyson !!! The only way to go – Bagless-Turbo Head (great for Pet hair) I have had mine (DC23) for 5 yrs and only just now had to reorder a Turbo head and filter. They units initially look extremely expensive but save your money up and buy one because you will save money in the long run because you will spend more money yearly buying cheaper models over and over..
    No I don’t work for Dyson ???????????? Thanks for your info ????

  13. I’m a maid.. I have a dyson upright pet vacuum and the hand held model. For my maid jobs I have a hoover lift away and a bissell clean view.

    Love your page, while I know how to clean, you have tons of things on here that makes my job easier!

  14. We have a shark professional rotator and it works very well. It was $200 at Walmart and it cleans up bird seed very well.

  15. I used to own a shark which was great but now I have a Bissel that is equally awesome. I just went by reviews on Amazon and got the highest scored one in the 100$ range. I love it.


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