Clean Your Vacuum {Frugal Tip}

I know this probably seems a bit silly, but this is something that I don’t think a lot of people tend to do on a regular basis anymore. Our culture is very much into replacing items when they’re dusty or old. I say just deep clean your cleaning tools on a regular basis and keep them running long after the warranty is up.

The first step is to purchase a quality vacuum in the first place. We’ve struggled with money a lot, so the best we could do several years ago was a Wal-Mart special on a $79 Bissell Wind Tunnel Vacuum. It’s worked out very well for us. We’ve used it to vacuum our car, furniture and our house. We vacuum daily, and we have two pets who shed a lot!

The second step is to plan on deep cleaning your vacuum at least once a year. Ideally, you should be cleaning out the filters monthly and washing out the bag-less dirt holding section every time you empty it. I have kids that I home school and a life, so I only do this about every two months. Whoops!

You’ll want a shorter screwdriver for those annoyingly tight spaces. Most vacuums require a Phillips screwdriver.

Anyway, to deep clean, you’re going to turn your vacuum upside down and unscrew the bottom, removing the bar that holds the belt. You’ll want to remove every part that you possibly can, especially the hoses, the bar that holds the belt, and the bag-less dirt holding tanks.

Nasty hose
This is seriously disgusting! I know this isn’t able to clean allergens out of my house when it looks like this!
dirty vacuum
I would advise taking your vacuum apart on either a tile floor or outside, so you can sweep away the mess. It’s a very messy ordeal!

As you can see, this vacuum is incredibly gross! It’s actually been longer than a year since I’ve cleaned it out properly.

OK. So your next step is going to be cutting the strings off the bar that holds the belt. You’ll want to pull all the fuzz and whatnot out of the bristles as well. cut strings

As soon as every part of the vacuum is taken apart, and your screws are collected, you’ll want to take all the parts to the sink to rinse off.

rinse parts
Make sure the area around your sink is empty. The water can splash and reach areas up to 3 feet away every time you wash anything in your sink.
cleaning hoses
You’ll want to use an old bottle brush to thoroughly clean the smaller hoses
flush hose
You’ll want to flush out your larger hose with the hottest water possible.

Once your vacuum is rinsed and taken apart, load the parts into an empty dishwasher.

Put the smaller pieces into your cutlery basket so they don't travel around the dishwasher as they're being cleaned.
Put the smaller pieces into your cutlery basket so they don’t travel around the dishwasher as they’re being cleaned.

I chose to wash my screws as well this time because they were completely dusty and covered in grime. I just placed them in a dish of hot soapy water while the rest of the vacuum cycled through the dishwasher on “light wash”.

While the parts of the vacuum were in the dishwasher, I used a damp rag to wipe down the rest of the vacuum that couldn’t be placed in the dishwasher.

naked vacuum
My poor, funny looking naked vacuum!

When the dishwasher was done, I was towel dried the pieces and put them all back together. I’ve done this quite a few times with various vacuums, so it came a little easier to me this time. I’d advise taking a lot of pictures your first time doing this, so that you remember where everything goes, including the screws. When I first started cleaning my vacuum this way, we had some funny moments with “extra parts”. (I’m so grateful for my husband’s sense of humor and his engineering degrees!) Now I’m quite proficient in taking apart and putting back together vacuum cleaners.

And the finished bottom looks something like this!

Clean vacuum
Yay for clean vacuums!!


I’m hoping to extend my vacuum beyond it’s 5-6 year life expectancy. I’m half-way there and knocking on wood! I have a Shark Steam Mop that I’m in love with, that has lasted me almost 6 years, and I’ve heard from a lot of people that there’s only lasted 3-4 years. Routine maintenance seems to make a really big difference in a frugal household.

What have you done to improve the life of your cleaning tools? Please share in the comments section below.

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