Maintaining and Cleaning Your Vacuum

When you think of a thoughtful gift for newlyweds or even your parents, you tend to think of an essential product for the home. Your lovebird cousin and her new husband may not need that apple corer, but they may desperately need a vacuum in order to keep their home looking too much like his bachelor pad. Vacuum cleaners range from $50 and up depending on your preferences and needs. There are several different kinds of vacuums with plenty more brands.

Why Maintain?

Investing in a $200 vacuum just to throw it away is not only a waste of money but harmful to our environment. Although many modern vacuums feature hard plastic bodies, their engines and intricate parts can be recycled and reused with proper attention. Dust bags are also an environmental problem as some are not biodegradable or compostable. However, properly maintaining your vacuum will ensure more years of life and use. A vacuum will need check-ups and occasional inspection to keep it running at its optimal level.

Why Clean?

The answer may be obvious for some, as cleaning your vacuum can prolong its life and keep its motor strong. Dust buildup can damage your motor and neglecting to clean out its dustbag will result in a strained machine. If a vacuum's dustbag or dustcup is full, the engine typically works harder as a result. This can cause the vacuum to work a lot less efficiently, and may not clean well after itself.

What Kind of Vacuum?

Before you clean your vacuum, there are several factors to consider. Is your vacuum an upright, canister, wet/dry, or handheld? Bagged, or bagless? Is it operated by batteries or a traditional power cord? There are many different kinds of vacuums but their main function remains similar; to suck up dust and dirt. All in all, there are as many as 17 different types of vacuums, the most recognizable being the upright vacuum. To learn more about how the differences between vacuums, you can read thiscomprehensive list and see the common underlying factors in all vacuums.

Teach Yourself Vacuum

Dust bags, HEPA filters, and belts making you dizzy? Here is a comprehensive list of common parts with photos that you may recognize in your very own vacuum.

Dust Bag Filter

Dust Bag

Also known as a typical vacuum bag. They come in a variety of model sizes and fiber materials. Some vacuums require dust bags, and some are bagless. Overall, you should keep a supply of vacuum bags for your specific model and make sure that it is not completely full. Replace when it is 1/3 to 1/2 full and make sure that any clips or holders are in place.

Vacuum Cartridge Filter


Filters can come in a variety of forms. Some are HEPA, some are cassettes. Other filters are simple fiber bags that collect excess dust. Whatever your type, make sure you have marked the date of use. Some filters are washable, but others like HEPA are best when replaced properly. Filters have varying lives so be sure to consult your product manual. Most filters, on average last 6-9 months. Replacing your filter regularly will let your vacuum run on its optimum level.

Vacuum Brush Roll

Brush Roll

A common component in upright vacuums, this device rotates and brushes in dust and dirt. It often gets clogged by threads, hair or yarn. The most effective way to prevent roll clogging is to turn off and pull the plug on your vacuum. Loosen the bottom plate of your vacuum to access your brush roll. You can then use your fingers or scissors to remove any obstructions.

Vacuum Belts


Most upright vacuums use a belt to help rotate its brush roll. If you pull on the belt while it is attached to the brush roll, and if it is not taut, it may need replacing. Also, if the rubber just simply looks worn, it will need to be replaced. Another way to check the quality of your belt is to compare it to an unused belt.

Some Things to Consider

Purchasing a vacuum for the first time has its own quirks, but know what kind of vacuum you are cleaning before tackling the job yourself. The list of commonly used household vacuums is listed below with common components. This is only a ballpark assumption of your personal vacuum! Check the make and model to make absolutely sure that you have the same components before you begin to clean or maintain your vacuum. Your user's manual is of great importance for situations such as these!


Vacuum Type

Common Components


The most common household vacuum. Can be bagged or bagless, and often includes a beater brush driven by a vacuum motor by a rubber belt. In some models, the vacuum motor operates two beater brushes. There are also filters depending on your vacuum to consider. Some filters can be washed, and others must be replaced.


Canisters often have dust bags and a kind of filter to prevent messy dust spills. Their brush roll is at the end of their extension wands, but look out if there is a rubber belt there too!


With a wet/dry vacuum, you need to empty the bin regularly. Replace or clean its filter as frequently as possible. Understand the wet and dry configurations so that you do not combine wet or solid waste.

Safe, Secure Shopping

Vacuum Home is rated as a trusted store from the following online authority sites: