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How to Extend The Life of Your Vacuum Cleaner

Written by Kaylee Barber |

Extend vacuum life

Want to extend the lifespan of your vacuum cleaner? Here are some simple tips for keeping your vacuum in top condition.

A new vacuum cleaner should last anywhere from 2-8 years, depending on which type you buy. But only if you care for it correctly!

In this article, we’ll go through some simple tips for extending the life of your vacuum cleaner. Aside from reducing the chance of a breakdown, many of these tips can also help to maintain your vacuum’s cleaning performance.

Always Unplug Your Vacuum Before Performing Maintenance

You should always switch off and unplug a vacuum cleaner before any maintenance tasks. The vacuum may switch on unexpectedly, which can cause serious injury if your hand is in the wrong place. Keeping the vacuum plugged in also risks an electric shock.

1. Be Aware of Things You Should Never Vacuum

One of the most important tips for extending the life of your vacuum is to avoid vacuuming unsafe materials.

Here are some examples:

  • Liquids or wet material. One of the fastest ways to break a vacuum is to use it to clean water, other liquids, or even just wet materials. Unless you have a wet/dry vacuum, any liquid entering the vacuum could reach the motor. This risks a serious electric shock and ruining the motor.
  • Fireplace ash. Ash is made of fine particles that also hold heat. Even a small amount can clog a vacuum’s filter and potentially damage your machine.
  • Hard objects. Coins, stones, small toys, and other hard objects can cause havoc inside a vacuum cleaner. The high speed of these objects can rip a vacuum bag and damage important components.
  • Sticky materials. Sticky substances can cause serious problems inside a vacuum cleaner. They stick to filters, brushes, and tubes, leading to clogs that are very difficult to remove.
  • Hot materials. Never vacuum cigarette butts, hot ashes, or other hot materials. This is a serious fire hazard that could ruin your vacuum cleaner.
  • Glass or other sharp objects. Large pieces of broken glass can ruin a vacuum’s motor and crack internal tubes. Instead, wear thick gloves to pick up larger pieces by hand, then use a damp kitchen cloth to remove smaller shards.

2. Don’t Overfill Your Vacuum Cleaner Bag or Canister

Anything that blocks airflow through a vacuum cleaner reduces suction power. A blockage also causes the vacuum’s motor to work harder, which may reduce its lifespan.

One of the most common causes of reduced airflow is an overfilled canister or bag. It’s always tempting to squeeze a bit more into the bag, but this reduces your vacuum’s performance and lifespan.

So, try to empty the bag or canister at around 70% full. Your vacuum motor will last longer!

3. Clean or Change The Filters On Schedule

Example of a blocked filter

Blocked filters are another common reason for reduced airflow through a vacuum cleaner. As you can see from the photo above, filters can quickly become covered in a thick layer of dust, which has a negative effect on suction power.

To prevent this, it’s important to either clean or replace the filters on a regular basis.

If your vacuum has washable pre-motor filters, we recommend cleaning these at least once per month. You may need to clean the filter more frequently if you use the vacuum heavily or you have pets though.

If your vacuum doesn’t have washable filters, you can still tap off dirt into a bin to reduce the amount of material blocking the vacuum’s airflow. You’ll need to buy a replacement if the old filter is still blocked after tapping dirt off though.

4. Avoid Running Over the Power Cord

Blocked filters, clogged hoses, and many other vacuum maintenance tasks can be performed at home.

But electrical problems can only be fixed by a trained professional, making them much more costly (and difficult) to solve!

You can reduce the chance of an electrical issue by avoiding running over the power cord. Doing this repeatedly can damage the wire, leading to a loose connection.

It’s also important to avoid pulling a vacuum by its power cord. This can strain the connection and lead to permanent damage.

5. Maintain The Rotating Brush Bar

A clogged brush bar

A properly functioning brush bar is key to maintaining your vacuum cleaner’s performance.

It’s important to check the brush regularly to remove any tangles or blockages that might stop it from turning freely.

Many vacuum cleaners allow you to remove the brush bar for easier cleaning. You can then cut away hair with scissors – but be careful not to snip the brush fibres!

On a related note, you may need to replace the vacuum’s drive belt at some point during its lifetime. Fortunately, it’s easy to replace a belt and restore your vacuum’s rotating brush bar.

6. Deep Clean Your Vacuum Once Per Year

Many people throw away their vacuum once its performance starts to drop. This is often a mistake, as some basic maintenance could restore the vacuum’s performance.

To prevent this performance drop, we recommend deep cleaning a vacuum at least once per year. This should involve:

  • Cleaning and untangling the vacuum’s brush bar
  • Cleaning the hose and removing any clogs
  • Cleaning the dust canister (on bagless vacuums) to eliminate dirt build-up
  • Checking for clogs elsewhere in the vacuum
  • Cleaning any attachments or tools

Of course, some maintenance tasks need to be performed more regularly. For example, filters should be cleaned monthly to prevent dust and dirt building up. Any clogs should also be dealt with as soon as you notice them.

For more information, read our guide to cleaning vacuums.


Vacuum cleaners can be expensive machines, so it’s important to ensure they last as long as possible. We hope the tips in this guide will help you to keep your vacuum in top condition for many years to come!

Do you have any questions about how to extend the life of your vacuum cleaner? Or do you have any other questions about vacuum maintenance? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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