Ask any home keeper and they will likely tell you their vacuum cleaner is one of the most important and durable home maintenance equipment they own. There’s also a high probability they use it daily, sometimes even more than once a day. It would therefore be a shame not to take good care of such a useful machine.
Taking care of your vacuum cleaner is actually not that hard. With a bit of proactive care and diligence this machine should serve you well for years. Let’s take a look at 7 tips for maintaining your Vacuum Cleaner:
1. Check the dirt container regularly
Vacuum cleaners come with or without bags. A quick way to keep your vacuum cleaner in good shape is to check the dirt compartment regularly.
If you are using the bagless variety, you can easily see how much debris and dirt the machine has already sucked up by checking the marker on the receptacle. This marker lets you know when to empty out the container but it’s still a good idea to empty even when it’s not full yet to avoid dirt settling and caking in the unit. If the model allows for it, rinse out the receptacle with water and dry it thoroughly. The attached filter can also be cleaned gently and some are even washable.
For bagged models, note that the suction air has to pass through all the accumulated dust and dirt so the more the dirt, the harder the machine has to work. In such conditions it would likely not clean as well as it should. Another sign of a full bag is leaving strips of dirt where there were none before. Aim to change the bag once it’s about 2/3 full. You can easily determine this by feeling with your hand along the bag.
2. Ensure the bag is properly attached.
Each model has a bag that works for it. Check the reference number of your machine and the one printed on the bag you are about buying to ensure it’s the right fit. It’s also a good idea to buy bags in bulk once you get the right fit.
Fixing the bag can take some getting used to with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the model. Check that any clips, holders or hooks are firmly attached and there is no gap for dust and debris to slide past the bag entrance and get into the body of the equipment. This can permanently damage the unit.
3. Clean out the brush roll.
This is often known as a beater bar and is a spinning brush under the vacuum cleaner designed to brush out dirt from carpets.
A brush roll that is due for cleaning will be covered in thread, carpet fiber, hair and other items. The brush roll can even stop spinning properly if the dirt tangled in it is too much.
Depending on your level of expertise, you may just use your fingers, large toothed comb or scissors to remove the dirt while the brush is still attached to the machine. If you want to go further for a deeper clean, remove the brush roll following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Most have a plate holding the brush in place. Confirm you are able to fix it back properly before removing it in the first place. Removing the brush roll entirely allows you to also clean and lubricate the bearings and caps as well.
4. Check the Belt.
There is a belt that holds the brush roll in place. Confirm the state of the belt by comparing it to an unused belt: if it appears narrower, melted in portions, slack or frayed compared to the new one then change it. You can easily detect a belt that’s worn as it would have shifted out of position off the drive shaft. A good rule of thumb is to replace it every 6 months to 1 year but this is determined by how frequently you use the machine.
It’s actually easier than it sounds, just check the instruction manual for the step-by-step process for changing the belt.
5. Replace and clean the filters.
Your vacuum cleaner may come with a filter on the exhaust air to catch particles. Check the manual to confirm if it does, most of the newer models do. Filters made out of plastic or foam can be removed and rinsed out. Paper and fabric filters should be tapped or shaken gently to loosen accumulated particles. Cleaning out the filter is an important procedure as it can affect the quality of the very air you breathe, especially for those that own vacuum cleaners with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
6. Check the Hose.
A trapped sock, small toy or balled up paper could block the hose and cause lack of suction. Check by looking down the hose or using a long slender object (like a broomstick or straightened cloth hanger) to gently dislodge the object but be careful not to puncture the hose while you are at it.
7. Be careful with the power cord.
Avoid running over the machine power cord with the brush roll as this happens fairly often especially when you are in a hurry. Things like tugging on the power cord and running the cord far till it jerks out of the power outlet are a big safety risk. Remember to always switch OFF power before carrying out any maintenance on the vacuum cleaner.
With these tips you should get top performance from your vacuum cleaner but if all fails please take it to the repairer’s shop to have it fixed at very little expense.