Cleaning a vacuum cleaner seems more complicated than it actually is. A couple tools and 15 minutes and you’ll have a clean and like new vacuum cleaner. Try this simple step-by-step and you’ll most likely notice that your vacuum works better and runs more smoothly. Do this little routine monthly and you’ll be extending the life of your vacuum cleaner.

Note:  Always follow the instructions that come with your vacuum cleaner, this blog post is merely a guide. Pictured and used in this post and in my home are my Miele vacuum cleaners – I wholeheartedly recommend them. I love using a bagged vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration – it makes a huge difference! If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaners, head to this post for my favorites at all price points and brands.


  • garbage bag
  • old scissors or seam ripper
  • cotton pads
  • rubbing alcohol
  • cleaning cloths – I use microfiber cleaning cloths for this

Step 1:  Empty the canister in a garbage bag or remove and dispose of vacuum cleaner bag.

Step 2:  Take everything apart that can be taken apart to ensure you get everything cleaned properly.

Step 3:  Use a scissors or seam ripper to carefully cut hair/string/yarn/whatever is tangled up in the beater bar of your vacuum cleaner.

Step 4:  Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton pad and then rub that on the bottom of the vacuum cleaner to disinfect it. This will dry instantly and disinfect your vacuum. If this sounds a little extreme, it’s important to disinfect the bottom of the vacuum cleaner because that travels all over your house and is most likely the dirtiest part of the vacuum cleaner (next to what’s inside the canister or bag).

Step 5:  If you can wash or wipe out a canister, wash or wipe it. Make sure it’s completely dry before you return it to the vacuum cleaner. Take the time to wipe and clean the seals as well.

Step 6:  Completely wipe down the entire vacuum cleaner with a damp microfiber cloth. You add a little spritz of your favorite all-purpose cleaner to the cloth to give it a little extra cleaning oomph if you’d like.

Step 7:  Change or clean any filters following the manufacturer’s directions. If your filter is one that can be washed out, but make sure that it’s completely dry before returning it to your machine. Mold can grow in the machine and you don’t want that.

Step 8:  Over the top tip – If you have any scuff marks from your woodwork, you can quickly remove scuff marks with rubbing alcohol on your microfiber cloth. This is great if for any reason you want your vacuum cleaner to look like new – great idea for a garage sale spruce up. You can apply this tip other places too – have a paint scuff on your car door (not a scratch or dent, a scuff), put a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and you’ll see the scuff disappear.

When was the last time you cleaned your vacuum cleaner? Ready to give your vacuum cleaner a deep cleaning?