Repair Vacuum Cleaners Instead of Replacing


I replace inexpensive ($100) bagless vacuum cleaners about every 3 years, figuring that I have saved that value in disposable bags. But, when my latest vacuum lost its power, thrift overcame expensive habits.


Looking closely at the mechanics of my machine, I made a simple discovery. My vacuum cleaner's inner workings were filthy, although I had maintained it according to the manual! Suddenly a light bulb went on.

I spread newspaper in the kitchen for disassembling removable parts. Spraying the paper with a fine mist of water prevented dust from drifting throughout the house. (Keep the sprayer nearby to keep dust down.)

Hoses, tubes, the dirt receptacle and filter covers were presprayed in the sink, then power washed in the dishwasher with the heater turned off. Meanwhile, I used a soft brush to loosen caked dust from accessible areas around tubes and vents.

I turned the machine upside down to cut matted long hair and thread from the beater bar, only to discover the area behind was choked off. Filters were cleaned by beating on the floor, then wiped with a damp microfiber. (There was a dustpan full in my HEPA filter, alone!) Finally, I washed the entire case with oil soap and water. After. I rested with a cup of tea to let the pieces dry before reassembling everything.

The reward for about 2 hours of work? 1. A new looking vacuum cleaner that works like it IS new. 2. Cash savings of at least $100. 3. The house smells fresh and clean when I vacuum, no more vacuum cleaner odor!

For real thrift, there is a good chance that similarly detailing a thrift store vacuum cleaner will net you the same fine results - around here, such vacuums sell for $10!

By MikiStewart from Wyoming

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March 31, 20090 found this helpful

Awesome post, I wish I had known this a month ago!

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March 31, 20090 found this helpful

That's why vacuums need to be taken to the store for maintenance annually - because most users are unaware, unable, or unwilling to do exactly what you did.


When I purchased my latest vac (which came with free annual maintenance) I asked if there existed a vac that did not require this annual cleaning. I was told they all need it.

Next comment: years ago, I was in a similar dilemma and did just as you did for cleaning the vac - and got a few more years out of it.
Don't forget to hand or machine wash the bag on gentle to remove the dirt particles because it needs to 'breathe' when vacuuming (this info was from my vac instruction manual).

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March 31, 20090 found this helpful

Awesome. You are my idol. lol. My vacuum stopped working as well and I took it in for repair. The fellow was nice enough to add an extra long cord on it for free and I couldnt figure out why he'd be so generous ( actually the cord was way too long then) ..until I realized that all he'd done was unclog the intake on the vacuum..something I could have done myself if I'd been as motivated as you are!


$26.00 I could have saved. Thanks for the inspiration.

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April 1, 20090 found this helpful

I have started cleaning my vaccuum more thoroughly lately, and will really do so after reading your post.
I also have to admit that it didn't occur to me to spray a fine mist of water to keep the dust down. Awesome tip! And the idea about a thrift store vaccuum that may just need a thorough cleaning is perfect!

Thanks for this post. It really has some valuable and thrifty information!

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April 1, 20090 found this helpful

HOORAY for you. However, I would not recommend buying and cleaning a USED vac. I used to both sell new ones, demonstrate, take completely apart/back together, and was challenged by one of the hot shot competitive salesmen to "not worry about germs, they won't hurt you...look, I'll take this dirty filter and lick it so you can see for yourself!" He was fine for about a week, then got really sick, then no one heard from him ever again. I KNOW it had to be what he foolishly did. "You can be foolish and bring about an early death."- Holy Scripture verse.


I would warn you that, especially now when there are mutant strains of everything which are totally RESISTANT to all known medications/ antibiotics, and those which eat flesh overnight, kill within hours, and spread like wildfire, I'd suggest that you at least go OUTSIDE, wear both a GOOD face mask/ safety glasses (painter's), And thick latex or vinyl gloves, only on a completely still/ windless day, in a partial sunny place, to try to clean another one. Otherwise, you risk the fact that the vacuum from a thrift or used appliance store may have likely belonged to one who died and was a rejected sale in their Estate disposal.

Death is very real, only a breath away, and is irreversible. To you who don't "worry" or give a thought to germs, remember my true story and the Biblical warnings of Leviticus to not touch that which is unclean, diseased, or dying unless in an extreme emergency. God help you in your decision. : )

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May 21, 20090 found this helpful

Back again. I didn't know they had published this suggestion! : D Thanks for the kind words. I didn't make it clear that mine was a modern, bagless vacuum with a hard plastic dust bin. These are showing up at thrift shops more and more.


As for the first comments about germs, the poster is right that more precautions would need to be taken with a thrift-shop vacuum. We are immune to our own germs, but vulnerable to those of outsiders. Still, I would attempt this task with the purchase of NEW hepa and dust filters, not attempting to recycle someone else's filters, which would have entrapped many potentially disease-bearing items that you would not want to inhale.

Before cleaning a used vacuum, I would expose the opened machine to direct sunlight for several hours. The sun's rays have potent disinfecting powers. Thereafter, I would recommend wearing a hospital mask and rubber gloves for cleaning the machine's inner workings, similar to the above procedure. Of course, wash your hands & clothing thoroughly after the project is done & keep your hands away from your face during the entire project.

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