Vacuum cleaners are essential for cleaning pet hair embedded on furniture, upholstery, carpets and more in your home. A good vacuum, with sufficient power, can tackle even the most obstinate pet hair stuck in deep pile carpets. In fact, you can also buy specialized pet vacuum cleaners with extra attachments such as brushes with rollers and a long operating radius to reach acute corners and under furniture. But hair is such an element that in large numbers it can clog a vacuum, reduce its performance, and eventually turn them unusable.
Maintaining a vacuum cleaner is critical for pet owners. I learnt the lesson the hard way. An expensive all-purpose vacuum I had bought had to be discarded a little over a year later because of damage caused by dog hair. I have two German Shepherds at home and they shed a lot of hair despite regular brushing and grooming. It was then that I started researching the best ways to ensure that I can both clean pet hair in the house and elongate the life of the vacuum.
One way to that is to not rely solely on the vacuum for cleaning pet hair. Use other tools such as a rubber squeegee, rubber glove, lint roller, etc. However, I understand that this isn’t a practical solution for everyone. It’s near impossible to make time for this extra effort in the fast-paced lifestyle that we lead in this day and age. Hence, the pragmatic option is to regularly clean your vacuum and remove any dog hair stuck inside.
Cleaning and Maintaining a Vacuum to Eliminate Clogging
A vacuum cleaner is made up of multiple parts, of which five are particularly important as far as cleaning pet hair is concerned. You need to clean these separately at regular intervals to ensure that the vacuum continues to perform at its optimal level and pet hair doesn’t damage or clog any of these parts.
Filters are one of the key components in a vacuum which ensures that the dust and dirt sucked into the vacuum doesn’t escape. Pet hair is also sucked in. Hence, the filter(s) in your vacuum need to be cleaned periodically to eliminate chances of clogging. Pet owners need to do this a little more frequently than others because pet hair clogs the filter faster than just dust.
If your vacuum is equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, then you need to be extra careful. Ask a representative of the manufacturer or the salesperson at the store you bought it from about the correct method of cleaning a HEPA filter.
Brushes and Rollers
These are first parts of your vacuum that come in contact with dog hair ar any other pet hair. In the process of cleaning, dog hair gets entangled in the rollers and stuck in the brushes. Cleaning the rollers and brushes can be a bit of a nuisance, but they serve a two-fold purpose. Firstly, the brushes and rollers themselves function better once the dog hair is removed. Secondly, it prevents clogging.
In some vacuums, the brushes and rollers can be detached and cleaned, but in others, you will have to physically turn over the vacuum to reach and clean them. It does take some effort, but doing so will extend the lifespan of the vacuum.
Clogs are most common in this section of the vacuum and it’s probably the easiest to clean as well. Most vacuums these days have detachable hoses. So, take it off and use a long stick to clear any tufts of dog hair stuck inside. Running water through the hose is also a good option.
Dust Bag/Dust Cup
Ideally, you should buy a bagless vacuum. However, if your existing vacuum has a dust bag, then this needs to be replaced before it gets completely full. In case of a dust cup, empty it after every clean and periodically detach it from the cleaner and clean it thoroughly.
In vacuums with filters that aren’t of top quality, pet hair including dog hair has a tendency of entering the motor. This is extremely bad for the vacuum. Too much pet hair will lead to overheating of the motor and eventually breakdown of the vacuum. It’s not advisable to clean the motor at home, even if you have a basic understanding of the machinery. Take it to a professional. It will cost you but you will fetch much better results.
Best Practices to Prevent Clogging
Besides cleaning the vacuum to remove clogging, you can also do a few other things to ensure that the chances of clogging are reduced.
- Vacuum your house more frequently. This will ensure that the vacuum doesn’t have to deal with a large amount of pet hair during any one clean.
- Groom your dogs regularly to reduce the amount of hair shed by them. And after grooming use the hose to suck up the hair and not the brush/roller.
- Use the vacuum in tandem with other methods of cleaning dog hair if possible. This will reduce the load on the vacuum and consequently reduce the chances of clogging.
Once you get used to living with dogs you simply can’t go back. They bring joy and love to our lives. Along with that they also increase our workload, but that’s worth it. It’s in their nature to shed hair. So, if you’ve four-legged friends at home, then you need to be aware of how to tackle pet hair. Vacuum cleaners are your primary allies in this process, so you also need to learn how to take care of these machines. A few simple preventive measures, regular cleaning of the vacuum and a little effort on your part can save you both money and time. If the vacuum is cleaned periodically you won’t have to worry about it breaking down. Good vacuum cleaners cost good money and it doesn’t make sense to spend money on a new vacuum every year or so if that can be prevented by taking some time out of your busy schedule to clean it and maintain it.