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Canister Vacuum Maintenance Made Simple

How to take care of your canister vacuum cleaner so it'll last for years to come.

Canister Vacuum Maintenance: How To Keep Your Vacuum Working Well

Most bagless vacuum cleaners come equipped with a clear canister so we can view the (gross) results of our vacuum sessions. This makes it easy to see when it’s time to empty the canister of its contents and start fresh. If we haven’t taken the time to empty it after several sessions, generally the vacuum itself will let us know that it’s time. Some clues that your vacuum might be trying to get your attention include a strong odor, lessening of suction power, and sometimes a change in the sound of your vacuum. We all know that we occasionally need to dump out the mess from our vacuum canister, but is that all that’s necessary to keep our vacuum running at its full potential? Or is there more that we could be doing to keep our vacuum cleaner performing at its best rather than just wheezing along?

Is your vacuum cleaner the dirtiest thing in your home?

While we use our vacuums to keep our house clean, often the vacuum itself is dirty, both inside and out. After all, it’s hidden away in a closet or laundry room. No one sees it. It does its job and then goes back to its dusty corner. But how can we expect a dirty vacuum to keep our home at its cleanest? And how exactly do we clean and maintain a canister vacuum?

Cleaning your canister

In order to work properly, a vacuum requires ample airflow. Vacuums work best when the canister is less than half-full. So if you don’t empty it every time, it’s a good idea to at least empty it before it fills beyond the half-way point. In order to prevent the escape of dust and allergens back into your home, try emptying the canister contents directly into a trash bag and then quickly sealing it. If you or your loved ones are allergy sensitive you may wish to empty the canister outside of your home.

Once emptied, first wipe out the inside with a dry cloth. Then wash inside and out with warm, soapy water, rinse, and allow to dry before replacing.

Vacuum filters and vent covers

Manufacturing instructions will tell you whether your filters are washable or need to be thrown out and replaced. Washable filters should first be tapped against a hard surface such as the side of a trash can in order to shake out the bulk of dust and debris. The filter can then be washed under warm, running water. Do not use soap; soap or detergents can compromise your filter. Filters should be allowed to dry for several hours or overnight. Make certain filters are complete dry before reinstalling them.

Also make sure any vent covers on your vacuum cleaner are clear of debris. Your vacuum’s vents are important to keep its motor cooled and functioning properly.

Remove hair from the roller brush

It’s also important to remove hair, string and, carpet fibers from your vacuum’s roller brush or beater bar in order to keep it rolling and pulling dirt up out of your carpet properly. This can be done with a sturdy wide-toothed comb, seam ripper, or a grout brush. It’s helpful to first cut through the wound hair fibers with a pair of scissors, being careful not to damage the bristles of your roller brush.

Check hose and clear clogs

Check vacuum hoses for clogs and blockages before reattaching. Look through the hose to check for any obstructions. Clogs can be removed with a broom handle or a straightened wire hanger, being careful not to puncture or damage your hose. Make certain your vacuum hose is always stored properly. Kinks can damage the hose by causing permanent creases.

Finally, wipe the outside of your vacuum with a dust cloth, and run the vacuum for thirty seconds to insure good airflow before using.Always read your owner’s manual before operating or maintaining your vacuum. While it’s clearly not going to compete with the best-seller on your nightstand, it’s an important read if you want to get the longevity of vacuum life promised to you by the dealer. For most of us, a vacuum cleaner is intended to be a long-term purchase. In order to get the long vacuum life that we are paying for, it’s important to give your vacuum the maintenance it requires to work its best for you.

Resources— OnlyCanisterVacuum, Merry Maids

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