Let’s hear it for vacuum lines in your carpet! Oh, they look so nice. Or the absence of dust bunnies floating across your tile. Nice! But if your vacuum is clogged with who-knows-what, it shoots dust out the sides when you turn it on, and it fills each room with an Eau de Wet Rover scent, it’s time for a little maintenance.
- Check the bag or bin frequently. A vacuum will run cleaner and more efficiently if it’s not backed up with stuff because the bag or bin is full. Vacuum cleaner bags act as a filter as well as collecting debris, so if the bag feels like it’s heavily coated with dust on the inside, even if there’s not much debris in the bottom, change it. For bagless vacuums, cut down on the Poof! of dust when you empty the bin by rinsing it out every so often. Allow it to thoroughly dry before replacing it.
- Clean the filters following the manual’s instructions. And sometimes there’s an additional filter tucked away somewhere, so be sure to clean that one too. Lost the manual? Just about every product manual is available online. No excuses. Some filters can simply be washed by hand and allowed to air dry. Some filters can’t be used again, like HEPA filters, and have to be replaced.
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- Clean the outside of the vacuum paying close attention to any vents. Wipe the wheels off and extend the hose to clean between the ridges.
- As you’re cleaning the hose, inspect it for tears. Wipe the wand end and make sure it’s not separating from the hose, which greatly affects the suction.
- Turn the vacuum over and remove the bottom plate. Inspect the brush roller, also called a beater bar. Remove any debris (if someone in your house has long hair, have scissors handy) and make sure it turns easily.
- While the plate is off, inspect the belt, which is what turns the brush roller. You’re looking for frayed spots, nicks which can tear all the way across, and loss of elasticity. A good way to tell the condition of your belt is to hold a replacement belt next to it and compare. If they look pretty much the same and the old belt isn’t loose, put the new belt away until your vacuum needs it.
- If you replace the belt, you’ll have to remove the brush roll at that time, so clean and inspect the ends to make sure they spin easily. The ball bearings may need to be lubricated, which will help the motor turn the brush roll with less effort.
The bottom line is, if you stay on top of keeping your vacuum cleaner clean both inside and out and occasionally inspect key components like the brush roll and belt, it will continue to make those awesome lines in your carpet and suck up all the dust bunnies in its path for years to come.