No one wants to use a dirty sponge to clean the kitchen table or a dirty rag to clean the toilet, so why use a dirty vacuum to clean your carpet? A full vacuum is not going to suction, clogged vacuum bristles won’t do their job well either, a bad-smelling vacuum goes without saying. So if it’s time to give your vacuum cleaner a good, well…cleaning, then these tips are for you!
First things first: get prepared to clean!
- Choose a well-ventilated area. Outdoors is probably best to not spread dust and debris around, but an open garage or a spacious room with open windows will also work. You can also wear a face mask just to be safe, especially if you suffer from allergies.
- Unplug your vacuum. A given perhaps, but an important safety tip to remember nonetheless!
- Have your user manual on hand. If you no longer have the paper copy that came with your vacuum, most of them are available online. While this guide is a great overview, not every vacuum is created equal, so you may want to double-check your specific brand and model’s cleaning needs just to be safe.
- Gather your supplies:
- Dish Soap
- Compressed Air (optional)
- Scrub Brush
- Microfiber Cloth
- Garbage Bag
- Face Mask & Gloves (optional)
- Bucket (optional)
Now it’s time to clean! Here’s the best way to go about it.
- Tackle the filter first. If you don’t know where the filter is located on your vacuum, consult your manual. The filter is very important to maintain, as it helps to keep dust particles trapped. (If your vacuum filter is not washable, this means that you have a replaceable filter. If that’s the case for you, skip this step and purchase the correct filter for your vacuum.) To wash your filter,
- Remove it.
- Vigorously shake it into the garbage bag or sink, giving it a few taps along the way and keeping it away from your face.
- Run it under cool water until the water runs clear.
- Lay it flat to dry for at least 24 hours before putting it back in your vacuum. Any moisture that gets in can cause major damage to your vacuum, so this step is important!
- Next, clean the canister. (If your vacuum has a bag, you can also skip this step by simply replacing the bag once the current one is full.) Empty the canister into the garbage bag, making sure to shake it out as well as you can. Separate the pieces of the canister, soaking in warm soaking water and scrubbing with the scrub brush to remove excess dust and dirt. Again, rinse it well and let it dry for at least 24 hours before putting it back.
- Clean the inside of the vacuum (including the canister parts). Use the toothbrush in a downward motion to get rid of debris and the dry microfiber to wipe it down. Use the compressed air to remove anything that might be stuck inside your vacuum.
- Clean the power head. This is where a lot of hair and fabric tend to get stuck, clogging it up and preventing the bristles from pulling things out of the carpet. Some of these power heads pop up, but some stay in. Either way, you can apply the same cleaning method here. Use the scissors to trim along the plastic edge (not the actual bristles) to cut the hairs and fibers, and then pull them out. Next, take the toothbrush and brush the bristles clean.
- Attack those attachments! Detach these and put into the bucket or a sink full of warm, soapy water to let them soak. Use the toothbrush to get rid of any hair or other fibers. Once they’ve been rinsed thoroughly, let dry for 24 hours before putting them back on your vacuum.
How frequently should you do this? It depends on the frequency in which you vacuum. If you vacuum daily, or even every other day, it’s probably wise to clean your vacuum like this every 1-3 months. If you vacuum once a week, or once every couple of weeks, you can probably push it a bit longer, but aim for at least once every six months. Enjoy your cleaner vacuum, and your cleaner carpets!