Upright vacuum cleaners are still one of the most popular types of vacuum in the UK, even with the rise in cordless technology. Uprights have a reputation for being reliable, powerful, and cost-effective.
An upright vacuum cleaner is an essential tool in the cleaning of your home, so it makes sense to ensure it is working as efficiently as possible. If you have noticed that the suction power of your upright vacuum has started to fade, or perhaps it won’t suck up anything at all, don’t go searching for a replacement just yet. It could be that it just needs a little cleaning of its own to restore it to its former glory.
Start with the Canister or Bag
It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many people don’t realise they need to regularly empty their upright vacuum. The fuller the canister or bag gets, the less room there is for the vacuum technology to suck up your dirt.
If you have a bagless upright vacuum, you should empty the canister after every use. This may seem like overkill, but it really will help with the performance of your vacuum. The more dirt, hair and debris that is in the canister, the more likely it is that something will go into the vacuum innards and cause a blockage. By emptying it every time, you get into a routine and never allow it to get too full.
For bagged uprights, it’s recommended that the bag is changed when it is half full. Again this may seem silly, but it’s the same situation: the fuller the bag, the more chance of a blockage or lack of suction. Upright vacuums can generally hold a lot of dirt, so even half a bag will last longer than other types of vacuums.
Check for any Blockages
A blockage is the most common cause of loss of suction or poor performance. There are a number of areas in an upright vacuum which can become blocked, and it’s important to check them all. It’s also essential to unplug the vacuum before dealing with blockages, and never use water to flush out any dirt.
The hoses are a good place to start. Most uprights can be taken apart fairly easily, just remember where everything goes. Remove the main hose that connects the bag/canister to the cleaning head and check for blockages. Also, check the holes where the hose is situated, and clean if needed. Have a look at any other hoses that are on the vacuum, and check all of the attachments.
A good way to see if there is a blockage in the hose is with a wire coat hanger. Straighten the wire out so that there is only a slight curve at one end, and then insert into the hose to remove any clumps of dirt. Be extremely careful when doing this, you don’t want to poke a hole in the hose.
The cleaning head is another common place for blockages in an upright. Check the brush roll for any tangled hair and other bits of debris. Some uprights, such as the Shark DuoClean range, have removable brush rolls for easier cleaning. If the cleaning head is detachable, remove it and look for any hidden dirt or debris that is blocking the passage.
Clean the Filters
Depending on the type of upright vacuum you have, it will have one or two filters in it. Always check the user manual or manufacturer’s website to see if the filters are washable or not.
Remove the filter from the machine and gently tap it against a wall to remove any clumps of dirt. For your own sake, do this outside as it will produce a large cloud of dust. If the filter is washable, run it under cold water until all of the dirt and dust has been removed. Allow the filter to dry for at least 24 hours before putting it back in the machine.
Repeat for any other filters in the upright. If the filter is not washable, try and remove as much dirt and dust as possible using the tapping method. If the filter still looks dirty or is particularly worn, it may be time to buy a replacement.
Deal with the Smell
Most of the time, doing the steps above will also remove any unpleasant odours coming from the machine. If there is still a stench when you use your upright, try the following tips.
Dip a cloth in some warm, soapy water, and wring until it is almost dry. Wipe down all the external surfaces of the vacuum, taking care not to drip water anywhere. Pay close attention to the base of the vacuum, as this is the part that comes into contact with the dirtiest areas in your home. Also, wipe the inside of the canister and allow to completely dry before reinserting.
The inside of the hose can also be cleaned. Attach some anti-bacterial wipes to the end of a broom or mop, and gently insert it into the hose. The hose comes into contact with a lot of dirt and bacteria, so it’s a good idea to keep it clean.
There are parts inside an upright vacuum cleaner that are impossible to clean without taking it apart, so a good solution to remove odours from the whole machine is to use bicarbonate of soda. Once a week, or as often as you can, sprinkle a good amount of bicarbonate of soda over your floor and then vacuum it up. This is a good weekly maintenance job and should keep your upright vacuum smelling fresh.