How To Clean Out a Vacuum

Updated on August 26, 2022

Wondering how to clean a vacuum? Keep reading. The time has come to do one of the most unappealing chores around the house. You’ve realized that you’ve put off cleaning out your vacuum for too long.

So now you’re staring at your well-loved vacuum cleaner, and you really have no idea how and where to start cleaning it.

Here’s the thing. Yes, cleaning out the vacuum cleaner can sound like an intimidating job. However, it doesn’t have to be. With the right supplies and a few handy tricks, cleaning out your vacuum can be simple and only take a bit of your time.

Why You Should Clean Your Vacuum Regularly

Even though taking the time to clean your vacuum isn’t on your priority list, maybe it should be. Why’s that? Having a clean vacuum is actually very important when it comes to allergens and dust around the home. Just think about it, is a dirty vacuum really going to clean well? Probably not.

The truth is, vacuums are actually really disgusting when you don’t clean them frequently. The video below shows just how disgusting your vacuum cleaner is. Cleaning your vacuum every few months will allow the vacuum to clean effectively and efficiently, and you’ll probably help it have a longer lifespan.

What You’ll Need

Alright, now that you’re convinced that cleaning your vacuum is a good idea, here’s a list of some useful tools to help you:

  • Water
  • Soap (preferably dish soap)
  • Scissors
  • Cleaning brush (a toothbrush works great)
  • Rag or cloth
  • Dust mask (optional)
  • Garbage bag

Before You Begin

There are a few things you should take into consideration before you begin to clean your vacuum:

  • Make sure you’re outside or in the garage – there will be lots of dust!
  • Take out the battery or unplug the vacuum
  • Look through the vacuum manual to find specific cleaning instructions (each vacuum will be a little bit different as to where the parts are located, so it’s good to reference your manual)
  • Wear a dust mask – especially if you are prone to allergies caused by dust.

In the steps below explaining how to clean your vacuum, the instructions are pretty generic for all stick vacuum cleaners. As mentioned previously, make sure you are referencing your manual for any specific instructions.

Step 1: Clean Your Brushroll (Beater Bar/Powerhead)

You’ve probably cringed looking at the bottom brush on the vacuum. Perhaps you’re wondering how there was that much hair lying around the house, and you’re certain there’s no way you’ll get it off the brush. But don’t worry. Removing hair and debris from the bristles is actually a simple process.

Some vacuum cleaners will allow you to pop out the brush roll, but it’s possible that you won’t be able to. You might not be able to remove the brush out of some small vacuums.

Either way, all you have to do is take a pair of scissors and carefully trim away the hair. Make sure you are being careful and don’t cut any of the actual vacuum bristles (or you’ll end up having problems when you try to vacuum).

Once you’ve cut away a good amount of hair, you should be able to pull out the rest with your hand. If there’s any left, try brushing it away with your small brush.

Step 2: Clean Your Filter

Look through your instruction manual to see where the filters are located and how many there are. Most filters will be washable, but if yours isn’t, then you’ll have to buy a replacement filter.

In order to wash your filter, simply remove it from your vacuum and shake it out over your garbage can. Then rinse it out for a couple of minutes with cold water. Once it’s clean, lay it flat to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 3: Clean Out Your Bin (Canister/Dirt Cup)

Now it’s time to empty all the dirt and dust out of the bin. If your vacuum has a bag, then you can disregard this step. Just be sure to change out the bag as soon as it’s full.

To clean out the bin, first, remove it and empty it out over the garbage. Once it’s empty go ahead and remove the bin from the vacuum. Make sure you follow your instruction manual to see how to remove it. Then get some warm, soapy water and let the bin soak for a while.

Scrub it, rinse it well, and then leave it lay flat to dry. Before you put it back into your vacuum, you need to make sure it’s 100% dry, or you may risk ruining the vacuum.

Step 4: Clean Your Vacuum Attachments

This last step to cleaning your vacuum is a pretty easy one. Let your attachments soak for a while and then scrub them with your cleaning brush. As with everything else, make sure to rinse them well and leave them completely dry before using them.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Clean Vacuum

That’s it! Cleaning your vacuum really doesn’t have to be a pain. In order to get the best use out of your vacuum, it’s recommended to clean the filter out every three months.