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Basic Vacuum Cleaner Maintenance: Tips to Keep Your Carpets in Top Condition

Jul 8

If you are like most people, the last thing on your mind when you vacuum is to clean and maintain your vacuum cleaner. However, it is very important that this process be done periodically in order to keep your carpets looking their best. If a vacuum cleaner is not properly maintained, it may pick up less or even damage your carpet over time.

Here are some essential tips that will help you keep your vacuum maintain peak performance and help you avoid the vacuum repair shop:

Check the Filters

Filter maintenance is integral to vacuum performance. It's recommended that the filters are checked regularly for clogs, and if necessary replaced with a new filter

A well-maintained filter will increase the suction power of your vacuum and prevent dirt, dust, hair, and other debris from clogging up the vents in your appliance such that it becomes less effective over time. Vacuum cleaner owners should replace their vacuum filter every three months or when the vacuum starts to noticeably lose suction power.

Two tips for cleaning your vacuum filter:

  • Do not use soap. Soap will clog the filter. Instead, submerge your vacuum cleaner filter in a bucket of water with some dishwashing detergent (no soap) and scrub it clean using an old toothbrush or sponge to remove any caked-on dirt.
  • Allow the filter to properly dry before using. Be sure to let your vacuum filter dry 24 hours before using it again.

Check the Belts

Belts are an important part of the vacuum cleaner. They connect the motor to the brush roll and turn it, propelling dust into a bag or up through vents in the machine.

It's recommended that belts be checked every six months for wear and replaced when necessary. A properly maintained belt will not slip on the motor and will not cause the brush roll to wobble or get caught, which can cause further damage to your vacuum.

And ... Check the Brush Roll

The brush roll is a key component of the vacuum cleaner that helps to sweep dirt and debris into brushes. The importance of this tool cannot be overstated, so it's important to regularly check for signs of wear or damage. Check if there are any frays in the bristles on either side (front & back) as well as whether it moves freely. If it doesn't, you can either replace the brush or remove any debris that may be preventing it from spinning.

Don't Be Afraid to Open the Vacuum Head to Clean the Brush Roll

You probably don't think about the inside of your vacuum head too often. However, it's important to occasionally open up and clean out dust that has accumulated over time. Doing so will not only make your home cleaner and healthier but will also help prevent fires caused by overheating motors or brushes.

It is simple to access the inside of the head on most vacuum cleaners. It should simply be a matter of removing the bottom plate, brush roll cover, and exposing the area where it can be cleaned. Some vacuums may require a screwdriver to do this, while many plates simply snap off.

It is advisable to use an old toothbrush to clean out any dust or hair that may have accumulated on both sides (front & back) as well as around each individual wire in the bristles.

What's That Smell?

Pay attention to any strange smells while vacuuming. If you smell any burning or rubber smells coming from the vacuum, unplug it immediately and have a technician take a look. A bad odor could indicate that there is something wrong with your brush roll belt, motor brushes, or even an electrical short.

Avoid Vacuuming Powder

If you ever spill anything powdery on your carpet -- like a carpet freshener or odor-fighting baking soda-- be sure NOT to use your vacuum cleaner when cleaning it up.

Never vacuum up anything that is made of powder. This includes sugar, flour, sand or any other substance with a fine texture. If you vacuum this material it may get stuck in the brush's bristles and prevent them from spinning freely- leading to an incomplete clean.

Check for a Second Filter

Cleaned the filter and still losing suction? Your cleaner may have a second filter. Check the underside of your vacuum cleaner for an additional filter.

DIY: Try a Using a Coat Hanger to Clear the Roller or Hose

If you have tried cleaning the filter and still notice a decrease in suction, try using a wire hanger to clear away debris from inside your vacuum cleaner's hose or roller. Make sure you don't poke holes in the hose!

Buy the Right Vacuum the First TIme

If you have tried all these tips and your vacuum cleaner still sucks (or doesn't suck, rather), it could be that you just need a better quality vacuum. It's common to think that a vacuum cleaner is broken when it stops working or doesn't work as well, but the reality may be that your vacuum just isn't compatible with the type of carpet you have. For example, upright vacuum cleaners are often better at removing deep-set dirt on thick carpets compared to other kinds of vacuums.

Before you invest in a new vacuum cleaner, it's best to talk with the experts at your local Boulder vacuum service shop.