Keeping vacuums in tip-top shape

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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I’ve noticed that changing preferences isn’t limited to edible fare. My personal taste in other goods, such as clothing or home items, also has evolved. No longer do I lean toward trendy looks and too-good-to-be-true deals. Instead, the top adjectives I look for in items include: classic, functional and long-lasting.

My husband and I bought our fancy vacuum cleaner a few years ago, and I’m happy to say that the investment in “the good one” has paid off. In years past, I’ve opted for low to middle range vacuums – based almost entirely on price – and found that they only lasted one or two years. This one, however, is still going as strong as when we first got it.

That’s not to say that it automatically does so. Just like low-maintenance gardening or cleaning, occasional maintenance is needed to keep it running in tip-top shape. If you want to keep your vacuum running strong, follow these maintenance tips:

• Hack the hair. We are lucky enough to have a dog that doesn’t shed, but I can’t say the same for myself. I have long hair, and it is everywhere, including the rotating brushes of our vacuum. After every other cleaning, turn the vacuum over and remove the brushes, if possible – check manufacturer instructions for how to do this properly. Then, using a pair of scissors, cut through the tangled strands of hair. This can help to prevent motor trouble. While you are at it, clean the brush roll thoroughly of any other debris, and give it a good wipe down to remove any accumulated dust or dirt.

• Clean the canister. Whether you use bags or a bagless container, simply emptying the contents after a vacuuming won’t suffice. Remove the bag, if you have one, and then remove the container. Give it a good rinse and then wipe it down with a sponge and mild dish detergent. Rinse, wipe dry and replace.

• Freshen the filters. Check manufacturer instructions before proceeding. For our Dyson, the filters are labeled and removable. They recommend cleaning once monthly. After removing the filters, I saturate them with water and give them a good squeeze. Then, I place them outside in a sunny spot to air dry for 24 hours before replacing.

Before you begin any of these steps, remember to read your owner’s manual thoroughly, unplug your vacuum and consult a professional if you ever are unsure on how to proceed.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.