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Vacuum Not Working as Well as It Should?

Not the quiet, efficient cleaning machine it ought to be, many times a vacuum will blow dust in your face and refuse to pick up things you think it should. How do you tame your vacuum so that it works for instead of against you?


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The answer is in the bag: The effectiveness of most vacuum cleaners decreases dramatically if their dirt and dust collection unit is over half full. The vacuum can no longer breathe because of the dirt! Empty the bag or collection unit at half full. This simple step may save the life of the motor as well.

Belt up: Belts, in the great scheme of things, are incredibly inexpensive. There is no need to use belts that are cracked, too loose, have moved off the drive capstan, etc. Check them once a week and replace as necessary. Always keep a few spares on hand. One guarantee in life is when you need to vacuum the most, the belt will break. For instructions on how to change the belts, refer to the owner’s manual.

Adjust to the situation: Many vacuums have adjustment knobs or levers that allow you to change the cleaning height of the beater bar (often fitted with brushes) on the vacuum. Adjust the beater bar to match the type of flooring being cleaned. If in doubt, refer to the vacuum cleaner’s instruction guide.

Brush up your brushes: Hair brushes do not work well when they are clogged with hair and lint. Likewise, vacuum brushes do not work as well when they are plugged up with hair, lint, ribbons, string or even carpet fibers. Clean the brushes on a regular basis.


These few suggestions should enable your vacuum cleaner not only to work more efficiently but also to last longer. For additional advice, read the instructions that came with the vacuum cleaner. ©2004 by Alan S. Bigger and Linda B. Bigger. Used by permission.


Vacuum Not Working as Well as It Should?:  Created on December 31st, 2004.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014


About Alan and Linda Bigger

Alan and Linda BiggerAlan and Linda Bigger have been writing articles together for nearly 10 years. Alan, the Frugal Housekeeper, has been involved in housekeeping and facilities management for more than 20 years. An author and speaker, he has written or co-authored more than 250 articles and several books. He has received regional and national awards from housekeeping and facilities management organizations including the International Executive Housekeepers' Association William D. Joyner Achievement Award (2004) and Cleaning and Maintenance Management's Person of the Year Award (2004). Linda is a homemaker and freelance editor. Visit the Frugal Housekeeper Web site. E-mail the Biggers at: