How To Properly Clean Your Vacuum

Whether you look forward to vacuuming or find it a chore, vacuuming your carpets can provide all kinds of benefits. Vacuum cleaners boost indoor air quality by picking up yucky stuff like dust, dander, and pollen. In addition, they also excel at removing allergens like dust mites, per Vacuums 360. According to Everett Vacuum, another vacuuming perk includes "the instant gratification of watching something be sucked up or a matted carpet re-fluffed."

According to a study by Indiana University, in urban areas, people with cleaner homes had increased amounts of physical activity. "If you spend your day dusting, cleaning, doing laundry, you're active," NiCole Keith, a Physical Education professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said. "They won't take 30 minutes to go for a walk, but they'll take 30 minutes to clean."

To make the most of your cleaning time, and to make cleaning more fun, it's essential to maintain your tools. And to do that, start by scheduling some vacuum cleaner cleaning before tackling your floors. 

Take a half hour for vacuum maintenance

To make sure your vacuum is at its dirt-busting best, Wirecutter recommends setting aside up to 30 minutes for some basic TLC. Since any parts you wash will need ample time to dry, don't plan on using the vacuum for a day. To begin, start with the basics: unplug the machine and empty out the dirt cup or swap out the old bag for a new one.

For parts that can be washed, The Home Depot recommends cleaning in soapy water and air drying. As a rule of thumb, Abe Navas, general manager of Emily's Maids, told HuffPost that only plastic items should be washed. For optimal grime removal, The Spruce suggests using dishwashing liquid that has degreasing ingredients. Soak the dirt cup, wipe it down, and rise clean.

To clean the vacuum's roller brush, Apartment Therapy recommends using a seam ripper to easily slice through and remove tangled hair. Once this task is done, explore the vacuum's hoses for hidden debris. For hoses that can be detached completely, the outlet recommends baking soda and vinegar. Similar to unclogging a drain, the fizzing reaction can eliminate hose clogs. Afterwards, flush the hoses with water to remove the mixture and any leftover dirt. If you have a stubborn clog, The Spruce advises employing a garden hose or yardstick to unblock the hose. For areas that are hard to reach or can't be washed, this outlet suggests compressed air and a damp cloth.

Find out about your vacuum cleaner's filters

Vacuum cleaner filters play an essential role in trapping dust and dirt. Besides keeping the grime inside the machine and off your floor, filters also keep debris particles from traveling deeper into the machine, where they could clog and wreck the motor (via Home Questions Answered).

While Real Simple recommends deep cleaning your vacuum every 12 to 18 months, filters need monthly maintenance. These filters vary in terms of whether or not they can be washed and when they need to be replaced. According to The Spruce, sponge-like vacuum filters can typically be washed with plain running water. Once saturated, use a towel to squeeze out the dirt and water.

Other vacuums contain mesh filters that are also washable. For these, Dyson suggests rinsing with water while lightly rubbing and shaking the filter to loosen dirt. Once clean, it's crucial to make sure the filter is completely dry before it goes back in the vacuum. In addition, this manufacturer asserts that a clean filter will optimize the vacuum's suction power.

For people who don't want their vacuum to be sidelined by long filter drying times, they may want to invest in a brand that uses disposable cartridge filters. For a pro cleaning tip, even before replacement is necessary, Vacuums Guide recommends taking these filters out periodically and removing any extra dust for improved cleaning performance.