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How to use a vacuum cleaner

Read on to discover our top tips for how to use a vacuum cleaner plus an easy guide on how to clean it so that your floors continue to be grime-free.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

how to use a vacuum cleaner

Key steps

  • Clean it regularly to keep it in good working condition.

  • Don’t forget to empty the vacuum bag before it’s full to the brim.

  • Clean the filters to ensure you get the most out of your vacuum.

Knowing how to vacuum wood floors and other surfaces are important, but what if you notice they are not as dust-free as you expected them to be? It may be possible that your vacuum cleaner isn't being used correctly. Here we’ll share useful tips and tricks for how to use a vacuum cleaner the right way.

Whilst general cleaning of your vacuum is safe at home, for more substantial repairs it’s always best to contact a professional who will have the right tools for the job.

How to use a vacuum cleaner: Dos and don’ts

Before we get on with vacuum cleaner dos and don’ts, find which vacuum cleaner is the best for you; read our guide for how to find the best vacuum for you.

There are a few basics you should be aware of when it comes to using your vacuum including:

  • DO always unplug your vacuum after cleaning.

  • DO check the manufacturer’s handbook for specific advice.

  • DO treat your vacuum cord with care, it should never be pulled on to remove the plug.

  • DO check the vacuum bag regularly, as it should be changed before it gets full.

  • DO ensure you have picked up large items such as socks and coins from your floor to prevent vacuum blockages.

  • DO consider using a broom handle or other narrow, long item to push any blockages out of your vacuum hose.

  • DON’T continue to use your vacuum cleaner if there are unusual noises or smells coming from it. Turn it off, clean it and try again sometime later.

  • DON’T try extensive repairs on your vacuum yourself. Always contact a professional.

  • DON’T use the auto rewind function on the cord if it has become tangled.

  • DON’T reuse paper vacuum bags, as the pores will have become blocked after one use. Reusing them can cause the vacuum motor to overheat.

How to clean a vacuum cleaner

There are a few key areas you need to keep an eye on when it comes to caring for your vacuum parts, especially if you notice that your vacuum cleaner isn’t being as effective as it often is.

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1) Check the floorhead

  1. Flip it upside down, and check if it needs cleaning. 

  2. Remove the bottom plate. This is often a clip but may require a screwdriver. Don’t forget to keep any screws you remove safe to put it back together after cleaning.

  3. Take out the brush roll. Don’t forget which way it faces so you can replace it after cleaning.

  4. Remove any debris. This could be thread, hair, fluff and even a build-up of dust.

  5. For stubborn debris wrapped around the brush, use a pair of scissors to cut the tangle.

2) Check the roll is spinning properly

  1. Unscrew the end caps to check for dirt build-up.

  2. If you do this regularly it should save on vacuum repairs. 

  3. The roll may still need replacing from time to time.

3) Check the vacuum belt

  1. While the bottom plate of your floorhead is removed, place a finger under the belt to ensure it is still taut.

  2.  You should aim to replace the belt once a year.

4) Check the vacuum bag

  1. Empty the bag.

  2. Loosen any excess dirt by closing the bag again and shaking it.

  3. Now empty it again.

  4. If you have a car vacuum cleaner, use it to clean the inside of the bag.

  5. Shake it out one last time and place it back on your vacuum.

5) Check the filters

  1. Rinse foam filters (usually found on the exhaust air) under a tap. 

  2. Always ensure they are fully dry before replacing them.

  3. Dust plastic filters with a soft brush or cloth. 

  4. Ensure you do this outside or over a bin.

If your vacuum cleaner isn't doing the best job it can, then it's a sign that it needs some maintenance. Learn how to clean the vacuum bag and all other elements of the appliance to keep it working at its best. Always check your product’s specific instructions or contact the brand for specialised advice to avoid damage or voiding the warranty.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published